New openings in Singapore and Australia for The Work Project

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/ EdgeProp Singapore
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May 6, 2022 6:00 AM SGT
The Work Project’s new centre at CapitaSpring, which is spread over three floors in the development, is the most core-flex ready model among all its other locations, says Lee. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
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Last month, co-working operator The Work Project started welcoming new tenants into its latest co-working space at CapitaSpring. Launched in November 2021, the 69,100 sq ft centre is the largest space within The Work Project’s portfolio to date. The space has been completed in stages over the past four months.
The new centre at CapitaSpring has been the culmination of nearly three years of collaboration between The Work Project’s design team and CapitaLand, one of the joint developers of CapitaSpring, says Junny Lee, CEO and founder of The Work Project.
The 69,100 sq ft centre is the largest space within The Work Project’s portfolio to date. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
The 51-storey CapitaSpring is jointly owned by CapitaLand Development, CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust and Mitsubishi Estate Co. The 673,000 sq ft, Grade A office tower was completed in November 2021.
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CapitaLand and The Work Project have been closely intertwined since CapitaLand invested $27 million for a 50% stake in The Work Project in 2018. At the same time, both companies announced a new office strategy to better integrate conventional office space and flexible workspaces within a commercial building.
The companies call this workplace strategy the “Office of the Future”. “The completion of CapitaSpring and our flexible workspace centre is a continuation of our ‘Office of the Future’ strategy,” says Lee. “We showcased the first iteration of this in Capital Tower in 2019 which focused on “amenitisation” or adding amenities to the office building.”
The two highest floors come with a balanced mid-century interior design with a relatively more formal appearance. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
Working with CapitaLand, The Work Project opened a 44,132 sq ft C-suite-focused business club on the 20th floor of Capital Tower called MARK as well as an 11,000 sq ft Innovation Hub on the 24th floor fitted with meeting and conference venues.

Core-Flex capabilities

The next phase of the “Office of the Future” strategy is to strengthen the core-flex office offering capabilities within an office building, says Lee.
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“This core-flex approach is not something completely new, we started incorporating this approach in the design of our spaces at Capital Tower and in Asia Square Tower 2. Together with CapitaLand, we put in the systems and procedures to deliver core-flex capabilities,” he adds.
For example, the sales and leasing team of CapitaLand works in tandem with the sales team of The Work Project to offer tailored office space solutions to a variety of corporate clients. And both teams work together towards fulfilling the occupancy of developments like Capital Tower, Asia Square Tower 2 and CapitaSpring, says Lee.
He adds that The Work Project’s new centre at CapitaSpring, which is spread over three floors in the development, is the most core-flex ready model among all its other locations because the space is conceptualised, designed and delivered in partnership between the operator and landlord.
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The 21st floor features a casual nautical-inspired design with bold colours and an open-concept appearance.
The Work Project occupies the 21st, 39th, and 40th floors in CapitaSpring and features about 1,500 workstations, 20 meeting rooms, training and workshop rooms, and function spaces. The Work Project operates the 39th and 40th floors under a management agreement with the landlord, while the 21st floor is on a lease arragement.
Lee also says that the management agreement is a step further compared to the typical tenant-landlord agreements that most co-working operators in Singapore have with commercial building landlords.
“This means that we work very closely with the asset managers and leasing managers of CapitaSpring to deliver the best possible outcome for the building and its tenants, and to further the overall commercial success of the building,” adds Lee. He adds that the market has not seen a management agreement between an operator and landlord for a Grade A building of this calibre in Southeast Asia.

Design of the space

The new centre at CapitaSpring features two different designs. The two highest floors have a mid-century design aesthetic and a more formal setting. There are also more private office suites there. The lower floor features a casual nautical-inspired design with bold colours and an open-concept appearance.
This deliberate two-pronged interior design approach is meant to cater to both large-sized enterprise clients as well as smaller-sized companies that are looking for a more casual work environment, says Lee.
The office suites on the 21st floor have glass walls, feature more open spaces, and a casual interior design.
“We offer flexible office space solutions that enable companies to scale in the future, but we are always searching for traditional or core office space solutions for them as well. And it is an ongoing conversation with our clients to understand their needs,” he adds.
For example, the office suites on the 39th and 40th floors feature wood-panelled walls that face the corridor rather than glass walls to enhance the privacy those companies need. The more formal office environment is also more suitable for the offices of senior-level managers while the casual space on the 21st floor is a more relaxed environment for smaller-sized teams or companies.
The Work Project usually categorises a company that requires more than 100 desks as a large-sized company. Over the past few months, the demand for new office space has come from enterprise clients in the technology and e-commerce industries, and they are usually looking for an office space to accommodate more than 30 work desks.
The two highest floors have a mid-century design aesthetic and a more formal setting. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
The normalisation of hybrid work in Singapore is also encouraging more first-time users, such as companies moving from a traditional office lease, or those looking to add flexible space to their conventional corporate office.
“On top of other curated experiences that we offer each client, such as branding visuals, IT specifications, and customised house rules, we offer a highly customised solution for tenants who are looking for some part core office space and some parts flex throughout their corporate real estate usage cycle,” says Lee. “I believe this is the most evolved core-flex office product available in Southeast Asia, in terms of landlord collaboration and the type of product we have delivered.”

Mergers and acquisitions

Following the opening of its centre in CapitaSpring, The Work Project oversees a real estate portfolio in Singapore of over 250,000 sq ft in prominent office buildings in the Central Business District. Its current real estate portfolio in Singapore includes OUE Downtown, Parkview Square, Capital Tower, Asia Square Tower 2, Great World City and CapitaGreen. The Work Project also has a co-working centre in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong.
The Work Project’s market presence has expanded since November 2021 after it acquired the portfolio of Singapore properties that used to be under Bridge+. This opportunity came from CapitaLand’s $11 billion acquisition of Ascendas-Singbridge in 2019. Bridge+ was originally a product created by Ascendas-Singbridge.
The two Bridge+ properties - at 79 Robinson Road and 2 Science Park (pictured) - enables CapitaLand and The Work Project to offer two different brands. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)
“As a result of that acquisition, CapitaLand has consolidated their co-working business under The Work Project and Bridge+, and these two companies are managed by one management team,” says Lee. The Work Project manages the two Bridge+ spaces in Singapore — at 79 Robinson Road and 2 Science Park.
This enables CapitaLand and The Work Project to offer two different brands. The Work Project focuses on Grade A CBD buildings while Bridge+ serves as “a community platform for a wider variety of buildings, including business parks,” says Lee. This means business parks will be a future growth segment for both CapitaLand and The Work Project, he adds.
This is not the first M&A by CapitaLand and The Work Project. In 2018, following CapitaLand’s acquisition of a 50% stake in The Work Project, the joint venture partners acquired Collective Works, a co-working operator that opened a 22,000 sq ft co-working space at Capital Tower two years earlier.

Asia Pacific diversification

Beyond Singapore, Lee sees Australia as a key growth market for the company in Asia Pacific. The Work Project has started to establish its foothold in the country with a management agreement with AMP Capital Wholesale Office Fund (AWOF) and Dexus Wholesale Property Fund (DWPF). The two developers jointly own an upcoming integrated development called Quay Quarter Tower in Sydney, Australia.
Last month, The Work Project announced that it has been appointed workspace provider for Quay Quarter Tower, managing 46,268 sq ft of flexible workspace across two floors in the new development. The operator is working closely with the two developers on the design and fit out of the new flexible workspace.
In April 2022, The Work Project was appointed as the workspace provider for Quay Quarter Tower, managing 46,268 sq ft of flexible workspace. (Picture: AWOF, DWPF)
“We have found the perfect match in terms of a landlord that embraces our ‘Office of the Future’ vision which so far comprises two phases, the ‘amenitisation’ of the workplace and a strong core-flex offering,” says Lee.
According to a press release by AWOF and DWPF last month, the commercial component of Quay Quarter Tower is 89% pre-committed, with office and retail tenants expected to move in progressively in the coming months. The Work Project’s flexible workspace there will be launched in August.
“With the upcoming launch at Quay Quarter Tower, we are also looking for further expansion opportunities in Australia, and we will focus on key cities such as Sydney and Melbourne,” says Lee. The company hopes to announce the launch of a second centre in Australia in 2023, he adds.
An artist impression of the upcoming The Work Project space at Quay Quarter Tower in Sydney, Australia. (Picture: AWOF, DWPF)
Back in Singapore, The Work Project is working to finalise the announcement of another new centre this year. It will be a management contract for a 50,000 sq ft space in an existing office building in the CBD, says Lee.
He predicts that the future of co-working in Singapore will be characterised by corporate real estate decision makers’ need to incorporate hybrid work arrangements within their office requirements. He adds: “Even if a company doesn’t offer its employees a hybrid work option, flexibility is going to be a key part of their corporate real estate decision-making.”

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