Malls emerging as next site of co-working spaces

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    Newest tenant. Faced with almost zero vacancy, flexible working spaces can drive consumer traffic by locating in big malls.
    Newest tenant. Faced with almost zero vacancy, flexible working spaces can drive consumer traffic by locating in big malls.

    Property consultant Colliers International said malls could be the next location of flexible working spaces amid a perceived tight supply for such in traditional areas.

    Colliers said flexible workspace operators are continuously looking for space across Metro Manila but are challenged by office vacancy rates of 0.5 to 1 percent in prime locations such as Makati central Business distric and the Bay Area.

    In its research “Retail’s Newest Tenant: Coworking—Work Where You Shop,” Colliers said flexible workspaces have the potential to drive consumer traffic and consequently, revenue spend to in-mall shops and restaurants.

    More than two-thirds of respondents said a co-working space located in a mall would encourage them to visit shops more often; for restaurants, the figure is 73 percent.

    The poll also noted that almost a quarter say that a co-working space in a mall means they may spend more money inside the mall.

    Colliers believes that “work where you shop” is a proposition that mall operators and retailers should seriously consider.

    Colliers noted that in Metro Manila alone, there is an expected 1 million square metres (sq.m.) of new leasable retail supply over the next three years.

    Colliers sees Metro Manila’s flexible workspace growing due primarily to continued rise of micro, small, and medium enterprises; the influx of multinational corporations and outsourcing firms looking for plug-and-play offices; and the implementation of a set of policy reforms likely to improve the Philippines’ business climate such as the Startup Innovation Act.