THE Work Project – a Hong Kong-based co-working space operator – is the official co-working space partner of Downtown Gallery in OUE Downtown, OUE’s upcoming mall located at 6 Shenton Way, The Business Times has learnt.
It will fill the entire fourth floor of Downtown Gallery – that is, 20,000 square feet of space – and is set to deliver a new concept here of workspaces designed for the future workforce.
Junny Lee, founder of The Work Project, told BT: “We recognise that the co-working industry is growing, but we are completely different from competitors in the region. For one thing, we are sited at the heart of a mixed-use development – this gives our members access to a wide range of food and lifestyle facilities, right at their doorstep.”
Co-working spaces here – which have multiplied in the last few years – are mostly located in shophouses, serviced apartments or office buildings.
Downtown Gallery was unveiled (in July) as part of integrated development, OUE Downtown, which comprises serviced residences, and retail and office spaces. Tenants of Downtown Gallery will include a farmer’s market by The Providore, boutique fitness studio GuavaLabs, and a pre-school run by Mulberry Learning Centre.
Mr Lee said The Work Project’s aspirations are entirely in line with those of Downtown Gallery – representing the future of luxury, wellness and bespoke. “We are Office 2.0. Our workspaces are created with the individual in mind, and are multi-sensory, with thought put into how they look, smell and sound. This drives productivity and work happiness.”
He added that The Work Project will offer unprecedented flexibility. Businesses can choose between hot desks and private offices, and any start date or booking period (on a monthly or even daily basis). “Members don’t need to be married to a space. We offer a truly flexible environment where they can work according to what task they want to get done on any day.”
Notably, The Work Project is modelling itself after the hotel industry, allowing interested businesses to first check out available spaces and pricing via its website instead of making an instant booking. Rates may fluctuate month to month depending on demand. Mr Lee said: “We want to be transparent, by providing full information on all our rates and inventory.”
In Hong Kong, where The Work Project first opened (in September), an individual hot desk costs about HK$300 (S$55) a day on average, and a private office for two starts from HK$13,905 a month. The co-working space is sited in Midtown Soundwill Plaza II at Causeway Bay, and has 74 private offices and 80 hot desks across four floors.
When asked why Hong Kong was picked as the first city, Mr Lee cited “extraordinarily high” office rents. “We feel we can really add value in Hong Kong, where office leases are among the most expensive in the world. The Work Project not only offers a flexible solution, but value for money for businesses and entrepreneurs.”
According to the South Korea-born entrepreneur who became a Singapore citizen 31/2 years ago, the average rent paid by companies per employee in Hong Kong is about HK$9,000 a month. But with The Work Project, that can go to as low as HK$6,600 a month for 10 employees, based on a configuration of a six-person private office and four hot desks.
Rates for The Work Project in Singapore are being finalised. Downtown Gallery will mark its second space globally. Mr Lee said that when full, it can host 350 members. Its target tenants are companies that are “part of the knowledge economy”, such as those in consulting, design, branding, advertising and public relations.
Patrina Tan, senior vice-president for retail, marketing and leasing at OUE, told BT: “What we are trying to do is build an ecosystem with all our partners in this semi-retail development that is Downtown Gallery. For instance, members of The Work Project can get discounts at in-mall amenities such as gyms and restaurants.”
She added that Downtown Gallery seeks to transform the way people live, work and play. “Innovating is essential to our goal of injecting vibrancy into the retail landscape, and we welcome the opportunity to work with more partners like The Work Project who share our vision.”
Downtown Gallery will open its doors in the first quarter of 2017.