2 floors at Plus Building at Cecil Street sold to be used as flexible workspace

IWG, the world’s largest flexible workspace operator, has added to its Singapore portfolio with the addition of PLUS Building at Cecil Street

Plus Building
image: Colliers International

Colliers International today announced that the world’s largest flexible workspace operator, IWG, has added to its Singapore portfolio with the addition of PLUS Building, 20 Cecil Street, Singapore.

In a deal brokered by Colliers, the arrangement brings IWG’s Regus brand to Plus Building, delivering two floors of flexible workspace, spanning circa 22,000 sq ft.

Paul MacAndrew, Country Manager Singapore & Hong Kong at IWG commented “I am delighted to be bringing Regus to Plus Building and expanding our footprint in Raffles Place. We are seeing increased demand within the CBD as more organisations turn to flexible workspace. One of the lasting legacies of the pandemic will be the need for companies to empower their teams to work in different ways and in different places, we will continue to strategically grow our network to support this. This deal allows us to offer further workspace in a key part of Singapore.”

According to Colliers Research, key flexible workplace operators will continue their expansion at a moderate pace. Last year’s events brought a multitude of changes and disruption in the workplace, as a result, occupiers are likely to rationalise their portfolios and leverage the flexible workspace sector as part of their corporate real estate strategies, fueling the continued growth of the sector.

Jonathan Wright, Director of Flexible Workspace Consulting at Colliers added “the return to the office is in full swing, and flexible workspace will be a key component of corporate real estate strategy. IWG are well-positioned to offer a range of solutions to occupiers, and this addition strengthens their position in Singapore and demonstrates confidence in the CBD.”

Plus Building, formerly known as GSH Plaza, has 259 strata office units located on Levels 3 to 28, and 21 strata retail shops on its first two floors. In 2017, it was sold to Fullshare Holdings, a Hong Kong-listed investment holding company controlled by mainland Chinese billionaire Ji Changqun, whose company is engaged in property development, building, investment and healthcare services.

Mr Paul Ho, chief officer at iCompareLoan, said: “Plus Building has had several names over the years including The Exchange and The Quadrant. It was developed by Straits Steamship Land (the predecessor of Keppel Land) and DBS Land on a 99-year leasehold site that the duo clinched at a state tender in 1989.”

Several recent research suggest that flexible workspace will play a pivotal role as increased enterprise demand for them grows as markets recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Collier International’s The Flexible Workspace Outlook Report 2020 said that flexible workspace operators in Singapore are expected to play a key role in the return to work for many enterprises.

The report said that the scale of the sector presents an opportunity for operators to offer a range of products to assist occupiers in executing their occupancy strategies. New take-up from flexible workspace operators will mostly pause over 2020, with any new take-up being driven by partnerships or management agreements with asset owners.

Jonathan Wright, Director, Flexible Workspace Consulting, Asia, at Colliers commented: “Events in late 2019 and H12020 have accelerated previously forecasted trends in the flexible workspace sector, including enterprise outsourcing becoming mainstream; highly amenitised assets with best-in-class hospitality being ‘table stakes’ for any new office development; a continued boom in wellness offerings; a revival of suburban locations; and further operator fragmentation, while new trends have also emerged, such as the integration of home as a place of work and the growing importance of the digital experience.”

Sam Harvey-Jones, Managing Director, Occupier Services, Asia, added: “As markets start to recover from the effects of COVID-19, we expect to see an increase in demand for flexible workspace models, particularly because there will be a greater emphasis on health and wellbeing, hygiene, and work-life balance in the workplace going forward. Businesses will likely adopt smaller office ‘hubs’ in decentralised locations, allowing them to save on space / costs while also benefiting their employees who will have shorter commute times.”

Flexible Workspace Occupier Models 2020 and he pivotal role of flexible workspace

Managed Office
A fully outsourced workspace that is a customised, private environment delivered and managed by a third party. Occupiers can increase the flexibility of their portfolio through shorter commitments, mitigated capital expenditure and reduced balance sheet liability.

Flex and CoreTM
An occupier partners with an operator to enter an asset. The occupier either commits to less space for their core requirement and the operator/asset owner launches a flexible workspace location in the same building or the occupier commits to ‘anchor’ the new location and provides options for future expansion.

Reverse Flex
An occupier can reduce property costs by partnering with a flexible workspace operator to repurpose space into flexible workspace, thus mitigating property expenses and even generating income.

Hub & Spoke
If an occupier wants to reduce the reliance on a single headquarter building and implement a dispersed occupancy strategy, it can take smaller hubs across a city, region or country (i.e. in lower cost locations), resulting in improved work/life balance for employees and reduced commute times.

Digital Campus
When an occupier has teams or individuals that work remotely or travel frequently, it can offer membership to a network of drop-in spaces across a region, improving efficiency and productivity for its remote workforce while also reducing physical office space and fixed property expense.

Written by Ravi Chandran

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