Sunday 19 May 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 26): Co-working space WORQ has expanded its outlet at Menara 1 Sentrum, Kuala Lumpur, from its existing Levels 20 and 21, spanning 17,000 sq ft each, to 7,200 sq ft at Level 28 of the building.

During the opening ceremony of the new co-working space on Friday, WORQ revealed that the new space will be fully occupied by Datacom Systems (Asia) Sdn Bhd, a New Zealand-based IT service company and WithSecure Sdn Bhd, a Helsinki-based IT security company. 

In her opening address, WORQ CEO and co-founder Stephanie Ping shared that following its expansion on Level 28 of Menara 1 Sentrum, the company plans to open three new outlets and expand two existing ones this year. 

Ping added, “We are making this outlet not just the biggest but also the landmark outlet that’s going to connect all our other locations. All of our locations are at transit-oriented developments. With this outlet being the biggest now, surpassing the rest, it has become the connecting hub for all our other locations in the Klang Valley. 

“When we place our outlets near train stations, the users' incentive to use trains to commute will jump threefold. This way, we can get more cars off the roads. That’s our plan moving forward and we hope to build a culture for Malaysia just like in other countries such as Japan, where they start to exercise this muscle of using public transportation to commute to work or any other locations.”

As Menara 1 Sentrum’s landlord, Pelaburan Hartanah Bhd (PHB) group managing director and CEO Mohamad Damshal Awang Damit said, “In line with WORQ’s office expansion at our building, there is heightened activity and energy, where along the same vein Menara 1 Sentrum has also achieved full occupancy as of this month. As a property investor, PHB recognises the escalating demand for co-working spaces in Malaysia, driven by the flexibility and commercial advantages they offer. We are actively planning to integrate more co-working spaces into our properties nationwide, drawing inspiration from the success of buildings like Menara 1 Sentrum, Menara BT in Kuala Lumpur, and One Precinct in Penang.

“We also recognise our tenants’ strong commitment to ESG and its significance not only in terms of economic value to their businesses but also from an environmental and social perspective. The collaborative nature of co-working space introduces an additional layer to the environmental and social dimensions of ESG. Sharing space in a prime location like Menara 1 Sentrum, a green building, not only contributes to environmental sustainability, but also cultivates a more vibrant community on-site, leading to higher levels of interaction amongst tenants,” Damshal said. He also added that moving forward, PHB is looking to venture into retail spaces as well. 

Sharing her market insights on co-working spaces in Kuala Lumpur, JLL Malaysia head of research and consultancy Yulia Nikulicheva said the demand for flex space in the KL city centre has fully returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

“In 2014, many flex spaces tend to be located in the city centre, but after the pandemic, we see this trend expanding to the fringes of Kuala Lumpur like this location. For the past three years, most of the openings of flex spaces in the fringes of Kuala Lumpur have been more and more popular. In terms of occupancy, we believe that the existing spaces will experience more growth.”

Nikulicheva also shared that the flex space market is experiencing a trend where providers can offer ready-to-use spaces in a shorter time frame compared to traditional office build-outs. This, she said, is in response to the growing demand from customers who need to establish a presence quickly, following post-pandemic recovery. As a result of this increased demand, the pricing of flex space has returned to pre-pandemic levels, she shared. 

JLL office leasing advisory Quiny Lee explained that more tenants prefer Grade A, Grade A premium or green office buildings, causing a flight-to-quality trend among them. “Flight-to-quality doesn’t mean nice or fancy buildings. It’s about the entire ecosystem, and what can the building provide to its community. Another thing tenants look for is flexibility, which co-working spaces can provide. In a way, co-working spaces help complement a building as well as increase its footfall.”

WORQ aims to occupy 450,000 sq ft of co-working space by 2025 and one million sq ft by 2028, across Malaysia. 

Edited ByRacheal Lee
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