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Bangkok office market sees rising demand from co-working space operators

​While most of the existing co-working spaces in Bangkok are located in standalone buildings and non-commercial properties, an increasing number of co-working space brands have now operated in office buildings. This trend is being fostered by strong interest of regional and international co-working space operators that are looking for opportunities to set their footprint in Bangkok, according to property consultancy JLL.


Among many examples of co-working space providers operating in office buildings in Bangkok are Glowfish at Asoke Towers and soon Sathorn Thani, Draft Board at Orakarn Building on Chidlom Road, Meticulous Offices and Cluster Offices at SSP Tower on Ekamai Road, Kloud at Flourish Building on Ratchada Soi 18, Pencave at mixed-use Naiipa Art Complex on Sukhumvit Soi 46, and BIGWork at Sathorn Nakorn Tower.


Some providers previously focused on serviced offices and meeting facilities but later added co-working spaces as a new product to fulfil rising demand from start-ups, small business and freelancers as well as large corporations. Prime examples are Regus at more than ten office buildings, Antares Office at RSU Tower on Sukhumvit Road and CEO Suite at Athenee Tower on Wireless Road.


No market is without challenge


Yupa Sathienpabayut, Head of Office Leasing at JLL, says "Several regional and global co-working space brands are looking for opportunities to set up their big operations in Bangkok. They are looking to secure 1,000-3,000 sqm of space in Grade A office buildings within walking distance to BTS or MRT stations."


"Most of these providers prefer partnerships with office building owners, proposing a profit sharing structure where the provider pays lower rents to the building owner and shares the profits realized from the operation in return," according to Ms. Yupa.


"However, such a profit sharing model is a new concept that is not popular among office building owners in Bangkok, who still prefer a more secure income stream from rentals. This trend is likely to continue in a short to medium term, particularly in the currently undersupplied office market," she adds.


Co-working space providers looking to secure space in well-located Grade A office buildings are facing the same challenge -- most of these buildings are fully occupied or have only limited space remaining.


"To tackle the office supply constraint, some operators have considered existing secondary Grade buildings in sought-after locations near mass transit stations as alternative options, while others are looking at office development projects that are near completion," says Ms. Yupa.


The future


Pioneered by start-ups, entrepreneurs and freelancers, a growing number of companies, large and small, are exploring how to incorporate the concept, a trend that has been seen in other major cities around the globe and will soon emerge in Bangkok.


From Singapore to San Francisco, big businesses are setting up in co-working spaces to mingle with nimble start-ups and early-stage entrepreneurs, according to Professional services firm KPMG is one such corporation, with a number of desks leased at the Manhattan branch of WeWork, a rapidly evolving co-working giant in more than 30 cities across the globe. WeWork's corporate clients include Merck, Dell, McKinsey & Co. and, who lease desks for their employees so they can work alongside – and learn from – freelancers and small businesses.


"Co-working offers a social environment that encourages interactions and knowledge sharing. This is well in line with the changing lifestyle of workers and culture of corporates in the emerging digital economy. For this reason, we expect co-working spaces to become a major component of the Bangkok office market in the near future," Ms. Yupa concludes.


Published on on Wednesday 22 October 2017.