FLEXIBLE workspace operators should consider expansion in shopping malls, as well as partnerships with hotel operators and worker dormitories to address the growing demand, according to Colliers International.
In its report “Let’s Get Flexible,” Colliers said flexible working space operators are mostly in Fort Bonifacio, Ortigas, and Makati central business districts (CBD) mainly due to accessibility.
The report showed Fort Bonifacio has the highest ratio of total leasable space to flexible workspace with 123,000 sq.m., followed by Ortigas CBD with 51,000 sq.m. and Makati CBD with 39,000 sq.m.
Monthly leasing rates at flexible workspaces range from P10,000 per seat to P23,000 per seat, depending on the location.
“As flexible workspace operators compete with traditional office tenants for available space in the CBDs, flexible workspace providers have started to take up space along the fringes of the more established CBDs,” Colliers said.
But future flexible workspaces will still be located in Makati, Ortigas and Fort Bonifacio, as Colliers noted that these areas are scheduled to account for a combined 51% of the new office space in the next two to three years.
To keep up with rising demand, Colliers said flexible workspace operators should look at leasing spaces in malls like Ayala Land, Inc.’s (ALI) Arca South mall at Taguig City; Aseana Mall (a joint venture of ALI and D.M. Wenceslao and Associate, Inc. (DMWAI); and the expansion of SM Mall of Asia (MoA).
“Flexible workspace and mall operators should partner and provide discounted rates to in-mall retail shops,” it said.
The Manila Bay Area, where Aseana Mall and MoA are located, is poised to become a major flexible workspace hub within the next two years, “given the tight office vacancy and continuous absorption from outsourcing and traditional office occupiers; as well as the aggressive completion of new condominium units,” Colliers said.
Flexible workspace operators are also urged to team up with hotels and worker dormitories to provide temporary workspaces for travellers and dorm residents.
For instance, Savoy Hotel and Lubd currently offer co-working spaces for guests.
“We encourage flexible workspace operators to tie up with developers of worker dormitories as this kind of service will likely be appealing to millennials that require temporary workspaces from their offices, especially those that can work from home,” Colliers said.
Also, Colliers noted major property developers should allocate space for flexible workspace operators in their developments, following the example of Rockwell Land Corp.
“Rockwell Land’s decision to accommodate Common Ground in the penthouse of its 8 Rockwell building indicates strong demand for flexible workspaces in an integrated community such as Rockwell Center. This is also an opportunity for Rockwell to house multinational firms and other high-profile tenants looking for flexible workspace in the fringes of Makati CBD,” it said.
Common Ground, Malaysia’s largest co-working operator, is set to open its facility in Rockwell by the end of January.
Flexible workspace providers should also to work with local governments of second-tier cities like Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Clark, Pampanga, Laguna, and Davao, Colliers said.
“The project teams of outsourcing firms could start operating in co-working facilities in these cities where they could train college students that the BPOs could tap in the future,” it noted. — V.M.P. Galang
Footprint of flexible workspaces in major CBDs and overall lease rate per seat per month