Flexible office giant IWG is preparing to open its 18th Hong Kong outlet and fifth in a former WeWork location in the city, this time in a newly refurbished building owned by blue-chip developer Swire Properties.
Scheduled to open in July, IWG’s latest Spaces centre will span the entirety of Swire’s 19-storey 8 Queen’s Road East in Wan Chai, just east of the firm’s Pacific Place complex in Admiralty. The 64,800 square feet (6,020 square metres) of space will comprise over 900 workstations and 70 private offices, with five floors dedicated to enterprise suites, Swire said Monday in a release.
“IWG’s commitment to the entire 8QRE will help to boost the flex space offering to not only our Pacific Place tenants, but the greater business community as well,” said Don Taylor, director of office at Swire Properties. “This reinforces our efforts to build a vibrant commercial hub, in and around Pacific Place, where people can thrive amid the rapidly evolving needs of those returning to work.”
A market source confirmed that the space at the property formerly known as Generali Tower had originally been planned as a co-working centre operated by US-based WeWork, which signed a lease for the whole of the building in the first half of 2019 in a deal brokered by CBRE.
8QRE is located opposite Three Pacific Place between Admiralty and Wan Chai MTR stations. Owned and managed by Swire Properties, the Grade A office building has undergone extensive refurbishment to incorporate features such as a glass facade that lets in natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting, Swire said.
IWG has been accelerating its expansion in Hong Kong through the Spaces and Signature brands over the past year, adding as much as 163,200 square feet to its local network.
The launch of Spaces at 8QRE comes after IWG opened Spaces at Tower 535 in Causeway Bay earlier this year, becoming the fourth IWG outlet in the city to be grafted onto a space vacated by the once-highflying WeWork.
In February of last year, IWG announced the opening of 50,000 square feet of flexible offices under the Signature brand in WeWork’s former space at The Quayside, a Kowloon East office tower owned by Link REIT and Nan Fung Group. That launch followed Signature’s June 2020 takeover of a 30,000 square foot space in Causeway Bay’s Hysan Place skyscraper and a move into Wharf Holdings’ Gateway commercial complex in Tsim Sha Tsui in December 2020.
“As we continue to expand our network in all markets and work towards adding 1,000 locations globally over the next year, we are very pleased to be a preferred partner for Swire Properties in Hong Kong,” said Paul MacAndrew, country manager for IWG in Hong Kong.
No Rest for Rivals
IWG and rivals Compass Offices and The Executive Centre have been expanding in the Hong Kong market since last year. Even WeWork — which went public in New York last October after its acquisition by a SPAC — leased an entire floor with 13,000 square feet of space and over 200 workstations at 9 Queen’s Road Central, although it also shut its location in Lan Kwai Fong.
The Executive Centre, a Hong Kong-based provider of upscale flexible office space, announced last June that it would be acquired by US buyout firm KKR and Singapore’s TIGA Investments for an undisclosed amount, signalling confidence in prospects for the segment.
With average rents for Grade A office space in Hong Kong falling 4.7 percent year-on-year in 2021 after a 19.3 percent plunge in 2020, major occupiers in the city are taking the opportunity to upgrade and expand.
US-based asset manager Invesco is relocating from Three Garden Road to 38,000 square feet at Jardine House in Central, according to agency data.
Standard Chartered Bank, meanwhile, took a 15,000 square feet floor at Hysan’s Lee Garden One in Causeway Bay for its priority banking division, and KKR undertook an in-house expansion of 9,200 square feet at Cheung Kong Center in Central.