Lendlease beefs up Paya Lebar Quarter with new co-working brand ‘csuites’

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April 13, 2019 10:00 AM SGT
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Lendlease, the developer behind the 4ha Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ), is entering the competitive co-working fray in Singapore with its own flexible workspace brand called csuites. The 72,000 sq ft workspace is located in one of its three Grade-A office towers in PLQ.
“Csuites has been conceptualised to support the needs of growing enterprises with employee teams of between 50 and 150 people,” says Tony Lombardo, CEO of Lendlease Asia. The workspace solution caters to small- and medium-sized enterprises, enabling shorter leases, immediate move-ins, as well as security and sustainability credentials. This new co-working brand by Lendlease is being trialled at PLQ, “but on the basis we see success here and get it fully leased, we would want to do more of these flexible workspaces”, says Lombardo.
Lendlease will manage a new 72,000 sq ft co-working space at Paya Lebar Quarter (Pictures: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The flexible workspace will occupy 72,000 sq ft across the fourth and fifth floors in the office tower PLQ3, which also houses conventional office space for tenants such as transport operator SMRT, property consultancy CBRE, and insurance company Great Eastern. All three companies are expected to take up their respective spaces by end-July.
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The entire PLQ integrated development boasts more than one million sq ft of office space, and more than 70% has already been leased, says Richard Paine, managing director of PLQ.
Space for corporates
With csuites, Lendlease says it is delivering a “new generation workplace solution” combining the best of traditional office spaces and dynamic co-working environments. The co-working space will feature 10 office suites. These suites are of various sizes: the smallest office suite can fit 50 persons, and there are three such suites. There are also two suites that can fit 60 persons each, while other suites can fit 75 to 105 persons each. The largest office suite, which accommodates up to 170 people, is home to Lendlease, which has moved its Asian headquarters and PLQ development team into the workspace.
“We have 10 suites available and each will be supported by additional hot-desking and flexible workspaces when required,” says Lombardo. Walls between the office suites can be removed to create a larger office space for larger-sized groups, he adds.
​There are 10 office suites available, which can accom
Lendlease is marketing the suites to an upmarket clientele, and expects its future tenants to be established organisations. “The pool of potential clients here are either corporates which want some flex-space, or mid-sized organisations which may have grown out of a co-working space,” says Ng Hsueh Ling, chief investment officer of Lendlease Asia and the managing director of Singapore for Lendlease. “Corporates from a traditional office environment can enjoy generous desks at csuites as well as the benefits of a flexible workplace.” Typical desks are 150cm long and provide a large amount of workspace.
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A potential csuites tenant is also considering taking up some conventional office space in PLQ, and a number of interested companies have divisions which are content with working from their own satellite area, Ng adds.
From left: Richard Paine (managing director of Paya Lebar Quarter), Tony Lombardo (CEO, Lendlease Asia) and Ng Hsueh Ling (chief investment officer, Lendlease Asia) (Picture: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
There have been “very strong enquiries and interest” for csuites, says Lombardo. Lendlease has already signed a tenancy with a multinational company and is in discussions with other interested organisations.
Lendlease is offering one- to three-year leases for office suites in its flexible workspace. “We welcome prospective tenants to get in touch and experience what csuites have to offer, and we’ll then be able to share more details on our rates,” says Ng.
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People-centric design
Incorporating flexible workspace for corporates and medium-sized business has always been part of the development plan for PLQ. To better understand the local co-working market, Lendlease relocated in 2017 its Asian headquarters of about 100 team members into The Work Project’s flagship co-working space at OUE Downtown Gallery on Shenton Way in the CBD.
“This lets us better understand the benefits and limitations for our own organisation, employees and customers,” says Lombardo.
From this, and its experience in workplace design, Lendlease has built csuites with a people-centric design in mind. One area it is championing is wellness in the workspace. The office suites feature sound-dampening walls and noise-cancelling duct-works to reduce the sound emanating from utility pipes. Another wellness aspect is the variety of work desks in each office suite, which include sit-stand desks, team tables, and desks along the windows.
Lendlease says that companies looking for new workspaces today want places with services that can better support their employees, and there is a major focus on well-being, talent attraction and enhanced productivity.
“We have been watching the [co-working] market evolve and drawing valuable insights from the first generation of co-working models. Today, workplace design is a dynamic sector with an increasing focus on people-centric design and collaboration,” says Lombardo.
Encouraging collisions and connections
About 35% of the total floor area at csuites has been set aside for communal spaces that encourage people to interact. On the fifth floor is a fully serviced reception, and the common area for tenants will feature a café managed by Providore, an event space for up to 150 people, as well as a variety of informal collaboration spaces.
“These are places where tenants can work at their leisure, and where they can also hold informal meetings,” says Lombardo.
Each office suite has at least one meeting room depending on its size, but other meeting rooms and a boardroom can be booked through a dedicated mobile application for tenants of csuites. The app is designed by London-based space management platform OfficeRnD, and allows csuites tenants to unlock workspaces they have booked with their mobile phone.
Lendlease will also map out heavily frequented areas and collect data on space utilisation rates throughout the workspace.
“By having data about how many people are in the space and what time they are there, you can get a sense of which areas are popular and which aren’t,” says Paine. Lendlease will use the data to better furnish the spaces that are used more frequently with more seats or work desks to better meet demand usage there.
Part of a wider ecosystem
However, csuites will not be the only co-working brand in PLQ. Global office provider IWG is expected to open a 52,000 sq ft co-working space under its Spaces brand in PLQ1 by end-May. Lombardo says, “We have an arrangement with Spaces that any co-working tenancies below 50 people would be under the Spaces arrangement, and those above 50 would come to csuites.”
This deal was made to accommodate the two flexible workspace offerings so that both co-working brands could co-exist in PLQ. “When we started developing PLQ, we knew we wanted to create an ecosystem here, so we allocated 15% of the total office space for flexible workspaces,” says Paine.
The three office towers, which will house more than 10,000 workers, are also part of a wider ecosystem that encompasses the entire integrated development. Built by home-grown tech firm Habitap, PLQ Workspaces is a custom app built for Lendlease that connects the three office towers, retail podium, and the residential component of 429-unit Park Place Residences.
The three office towers, which will house more than 10,000 workers, are also part of a wider ecosystem that encompasses the entire integrated development. Built by home-grown tech firm Habitap, PLQ Workspaces is a custom app built for Lendlease that connects the three office towers, retail podium, and the residential component of 429-unit Park Place Residences.
While the office buildings and retail component are expected to be completed by the end of the year, residents are expected to move in next year. The 99-year leasehold development is Lendlease’s maiden residential development in Singapore, and comprises a mix of one- to three-bedroom units in three residential towers. More than half the units were snapped up on the first day of launch in May 2017, and the second tranche of units were launched for sale in April last year.
According to Lendlease, just seven units – three-bedroom units of 1,076 sq ft to 1,367 sq ft – remain available for sale. The average selling price of units sold in the second phase is about $1,950 psf. “With only these units left, it is clear that the proposition of a well-located mixed-use development where one can live, work and play is a compelling one for home buyers,” says Paine.
Technology, connectivity, services, retail and F&B are all part of the modern workplace, and today, the best workplaces are a big factor in attracting and retaining the best talent.
“The disruption brought on by co-working has now permeated into corporate workspaces, and Lendlease sees that as a growth area,” says Lombardo. “For Lendlease to continue servicing our office tenants, we have to offer a product that ensures we remain relevant to their needs in the future.”