Collective Works is now on the radar of most office landlords in the CBD when it was announced on March 23 that developer CapitaLand has formed a 50:50 joint venture (JV) with the coworking space operator for a new 22,000 sq ft premium centre on the 12th floor of Capital Tower.
The 254m-tall, 52-storey Capital Tower is a landmark office building at the corner of Cecil Street and Robinson Road. According to CapitaLand Singapore CEO Wen Khai Meng, its aim is to create a test bed for premium coworking space at Capital Tower, and it will be the first such offering in a Grade-A office building in the CBD. When the space is completed in June, it will be able to accommodate 250 companies.
According to Wen, the JV company will lease the space from the landlord, CapitaLand Commercial Trust, at market price on commercial terms. Collective Works, a coworking pioneer and leading operator in Singapore, will manage the space on behalf of the JV, he adds.
The asking rent at Capital Tower is about $10 psf a month, according to Corporate Locations in its March report. “Only 50% of the coworking business is the space, the other 50% is the community,” says Jonathan O’Byrne, founder and CEO of Collective Works. “Coworking is like the Uber of office space. You only pay for what you use for as long as you need the space.”
O’Byrne sees coworking as a way of exploiting the inefficiencies in the traditional office space to create greater efficiencies and optimising its use.
Collective Works is typical of the small high growth companies it targets as members in its coworking space. Thirty-year-old O’Byrne continues to work out of his coworking space at The Globe, a 15-storey Grade-B office building at the junction of Cecil Street and Boon Tat Street, where he first started the business in December 2012.
CapitaLand has partnered with Collective Works to turn the 12th storey of
Capital Tower into a high-end co-working space.
As a coworking space operator, Collective Works signs a master tenancy agreement with the building landlord and fits out the space as well as the add-on facilities and services. It assumes the real estate risks. But it derisks the real estate holding costs for the users, says O’Byrne.
The master lease is fractionalised and sold as a membership based on a monthly subscription. For instance, coworking memberships at Collective Works starts from $240 per person a month for hot-desking. Dedicated memberships are from $800 per person a month, while premium memberships that include the use of private studios start from $1,000 per person a month. Members of Collective Works will be able to use all future locations in the Collective Works Network. Members will also be able to use the other shared spaces, such as meeting rooms, video conferencing facilities, the pantry/ coffee bar and the lounges, as well as have access to events and the British Chamber of Commerce network.
“I started Collective Works because I saw isolation being one of the major challenges of small businesses and found a way of fixing it,” says O’Byrne. He came to Singapore in 2010 at the age of 24. Prior to that, he worked for two years as a communications specialist for an industrial corporation in Oman.