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The doors opened in the beginning of November 2022 the 47,000 square feet of office space located at 6 Battery Road managed by The Work Project has bustled with activity as tenants are moved into the space and the final details of the remodel are put in. In the space’s first 2 months of construction, the building is approximately 50% of the space is leased and set to be fully occupied by mid-year of the year.
The Work Project (TWP) is an in-house co-working space and flexible workspace provider that was founded in 2016 and has since expanded its business presence across Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.
In Singapore The locations of the company are OUE Downtown, Parkview Square, Capital Tower, Great World City CapitaGreen, OUE Downtown, Great World City and CapitaSpring. The company is headquartered in Hong Kong, its co-working facility is located situated in Causeway Bay, and it launched its first Australian branch in the Quay Quarter Tower, in Sydney, Australia, last year.
Design pays tribute to the roots of mercantile
The latest location of The Work Project located at 6 Battery Road occupies the third, sixth seven floors in the 42-story office building, which is Grade A located in Raffles Place. It has around 1,000 private and co-working desks for offices and meeting rooms, board rooms with a function area and a few hot desks.
Work Project Work Project collaborated with design firm Matthew Shang Design Office (MSDO) to transform three floors of offices into a lively co-working area. The narrative of the aesthetic pays tribute to the mercantile and historical tradition of the adjacent Singapore River. “We are seeing these themes colliding within this building on Battery Road, a red granite structure that’s an important symbol of culture and commerce of Singapore,” says MSDO. “We have cut, hacked and created an interesting and fascinating space within this structure”.
The colour scheme that covers all three floors accentuates the red-brown granite that is visible on outside of the structure. textures like roughhewn concrete pillars and lighter colours like timber screens and ochres.
The third floor houses the main reception and entry space, and is the floor that the largest meeting rooms are located. The entire floor was the trading floor of Standard Charted Bank, an anchor tenant for over 30 years before it was moved out last year.
The seventh floor provides an unbeatable view from this area that is part of Singapore River. The landmark commercial buildings of Raffles Place rise over the historic shophouses along Boat Quay, while the opposite bank provides a beautiful view of the structures in the Civic and Cultural District, which include The Asian Civilisations Museum, the Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall, Parliament House, and the National Gallery Singapore.
Instead of locking the view behind a desk in an office suite this space can be used as an open lounge and a casual workspace among many that are located between groups of offices that are private, private telephone cabins and tables spread between the seventh and sixth floors.
“We began to build an inspiring and beautiful space that would make the most of the floorplate that we have,” says Noeleen Goh The the global head of real estate of The Work Project. “What emerged as a result is a private business center for this space that is comfortable and vast”.
In contrast to some of its bigger sites, such as CapitaSpring for instance and CapitaSpring, the center located at 6 Battery Road is not thought of as being a place for enterprise, says Goh. TWP is a firm that defines enterprise clients to be those who comprise greater than 25 seat and categorizes its medium-sized customers from 10-25 seats as well as small clients with less than 10 seats.
Although the office space is available to business clients if they want to, the owner is targeting smaller or medium-sized clients, and has designed the layout and offices to cater to. “Most of the tenants in 6 Battery Road are relatively small-sized, and we’re trying to maximize the strengths of the structure,” says Goh.
The economic headwinds of 2023 are expected to be a major issue
TWP was trying to expand into Raffles Place submarket in Singapore. “Six Battery Road, which is located in Singapore, is an landmark structure and is a stunning Grade A office building in the middle of Raffles Place, and we were incredibly interested when the opportunity presented itself our way,” Goh says. Goh.
In Singapore the office market in Singapore saw a good year in 2022, as the pandemic restrictions on the island were eased and more employees began returning to work as Goh says. “I believe that 2022 was an exceptionally positive year for all coworking gamers,” she says.
“We observed that in 2022, the offices in Singapore was high across all industries and at the beginning of the year, it was led by a robust demand from companies in the technology sector,” says Goh. She says it’s important to announce that TWP opens its office on 6 Battery Road now because it lets the company showcase its latest product to the public.
But, the current economic conditions and uncertainty this year mean that she anticipates slowing down of prime office demand from MNCs as well as corporations in Singapore. She claims that TWP will be “careful” in following the inquiries received this year, particularly those with those from enterprises.
As some companies face uncertain times this year and a few have changed their approach to work. For instance, Twitter reassigned its Singapore-based employees to remote working starting Jan 12and has since vacated most of its employees at their CapitaGreen office.
While this hybrid working arrangement has become more widespread however the degree that it is carried out varies from sector segment, says Goh. For instance, businesses in finance, investment , and asset management remain the basis of prime office demand in Singapore according to her.
“In the long term the demand in office workspaces will increase however, it will not be restricted to an office chair and a desk for employees. We’ll see more workplaces that are collaborative for employees, as well as function rooms and meeting rooms,” says Goh.
Partnerships with landlords
The flexible workspace operator runs this office located at 6 Battery Road under a management agreement with the owner of the asset, CapitaLand, through its Reit CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust Management.
It is the second site in Singapore in which TWP has entered into a management agreement with CapitaLand the first being TWP’s 69.100 sq ft center at CapitaSping which was fully occupied within 10 months after its opening.
“We think that working together with landlords for flexible spaces could be the way forward for the (co-working) industry. Partnerships like this can provide greater value for the tenants of the building by improving the facilities,” says Goh.
CapitaLand and TWP are closely linked since the latter made a $27 million investment to acquire the fifty% part of the operator’s workspace in the year 2018. This collaboration was instrumental in helping TWP increase the number that includes Singapore properties that include work spaces under the Bridge+ brand, which was initially a product of Ascendas-Singbridge. CapitaLand bought Ascendas-Singbridge in a deal worth $11 billion in 2019.
Regarding its plans to expand, TWP has been quite cautious when it comes to expanding organically and has concentrated on ensuring that the occupancy of all of its centers is stable and effective prior to taking a look ahead according to Goh.
The list of requirements for an operator when considering a new office building is threefold: The building is located in a demand for office space within an area, a landlord willing to work with and be able to enter at the appropriate rental rate.
The TWP’s goals for 2023 include retaining the high occupancy levels throughout its centers as well as to maintain its cautious approach to expansion across Australia particularly in the commercial areas that are key to its growth located in Melbourne as well as Sydney. The company is also on the seeking partnerships that can be successful with landlords.
For Singapore, Goh expects prime office rents to slowing down later in the year. In addition, the company plans to take advantage of opportunities such as leasing renewal negotiations in the early stages being mindful of possible negative economic impacts to come, she adds. “We are cautious about the expansion plans we have in mind, making sure we’re opening in favourable, strategic locations which are beneficial”.