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Banking hall turned business hub, The Work Project adds new elegance to 6 Battery Road


The space offers an amazing view of the Singapore River and Civic District. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Since opening its doors in early November 2022, the 47,000 sq ft workplace at 6 Battery Road managed by The Work Project has bustled with activity as new tenants move in and the finishing touches to the renovation fit into place. After more than two months, the space is about 50% leased and on track to be fully occupied by the middle of this year.

The Work Project (TWP) is a homegrown co-working and flexible workspace operator that started in 2016 and has progressively grown its footprint and market presence in Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.

In Singapore, the company’s locations include OUE Downtown, Parkview Square, Capital Tower, Great World City, CapitaGreen and CapitaSpring. In Hong Kong, its co-working location is in Causeway Bay, and it opened its first Australian location at Quay Quarter Tower in Sydney, Australia, last year.

Read also: The Work Project to open 50,000 sq ft co-working space at 6 Battery Road


The Work Project’s newest location at 6 Battery Road occupies the third, sixth, and seventh floors of 6 Battery Road. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

Design pays homage to mercantile roots

The Work Project’s newest location at 6 Battery Road occupies the third, sixth, and seventh floors of the 42-storey, Grade A office building in Raffles Place. It accommodates a total of about 1,000 co-working and private office desks, as well as board rooms, meeting rooms, a function space and a handful of hot desks.

The Work Project collaborated with design firm Matthew Shang Design Office (MSDO) to transform the three office floors into a vibrant co-working space. The aesthetic narrative pays homage to the mercantile and cultural heritage of the adjacent Singapore River. “We see these themes merging in this building at Battery Road, a red granite Edifice that is a significant pillar of commerce and culture in Singapore,” says MSDO. “We have carved, hewn and created a fascinating and intriguing environment within this building”.

The palette that colours all three floors highlights the deep red-brown granite on the exterior of the building, textural contrasts like roughhewn concrete pillars, and light colours such as ochres and timber screens.


The dark red colours that decorate the third-floor business hub add elegance and luxury to the space. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

The third floor features the main entry and reception area, and it is where most of the large meeting rooms are located on. The whole floor had been the trading floor for Standard Charted Bank, an anchor tenant for more than 30 years until it moved out last year.

The seventh floor offers a refreshing vantage of this part of the Singapore River. Landmark commercial buildings in Raffles Place tower over the heritage shophouses along Boat Quay, while the opposite bank is a picturesque view of the buildings in the Civic and Cultural District, namely the Asian Civilisations Museum, the Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall, Parliament House, and the National Gallery Singapore. (Find Singapore commercial properties with our commercial directory)

Rather than lock this view behind an office suite the space is a lounge and casual workspace area, one of many that can be found between the clusters of private offices, private phone booths, and desks distributed across the sixth and seventh floors.


The space offers an amazing view of the Singapore River and Civic District. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

“We set out to create a meaningful and beautiful space out of the deep floorplate available to us,” says Noeleen Goh, global head of real estate at The Work Project. “What arose as a result is an intimate business hub for this space that feels luxurious and spacious”.

Unlike some of its larger locations such as CapitaSpring, its centre at 6 Battery Road is not considered enterprise-focused, says Goh. TWP considers enterprise clients as companies that take up more than 25 seats, while it categorises its medium-sized clients from 10–25 seats and small clients under 10 seats.

While the space is open to enterprise clients if they choose to, the operator is targeting small and medium-sized clients and has planned the layout and offices accordingly. “Most of the existing tenants throughout 6 Battery Road are relatively small-sized tenants, so we are trying to play to the strength of the building,” says Goh.

Economic headwinds in 2023

TWP was actively looking to expand into the Raffles Place submarket in Singapore. “Six Battery Road is a landmark building and is an attractive Grade A office building in the heart of Raffles Place, so we were quite attracted to it when the opportunity came to us,” says Goh.

In Singapore, the office market saw a buoyant 2022 as pandemic restrictions in the country were loosened and more employees started to return to the workplace, says Goh. “I think 2022 was an extremely good year for all co-working players,” she says.

“We saw that in 2022 demand for office space in Singapore was strong across all sectors and at the start of the year it was led by a healthy demand from technology firms,” says Goh. She adds that it is timely that TWP opens its centre at 6 Battery Road now because it allows the company to showcase its newest product to the market.


The interiors at 6 Battery Road feature roughhewn concrete pillars, and light colours such as ochres and timber screens. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/The Edge Singapore)

However, economic headwinds and uncertainties this year mean that she expects a gradual softening of prime office demand among MNCs and corporate tenants in Singapore. She says that TWP is “careful” when following up on inquiries this year, especially enterprise-sized requests.

As some companies grapple with uncertainty this year, a handful has pivoted their workplace strategy. For example, Twitter reassigned its Singapore-based staff to remote working from Jan 12, vacating most of the staff at its CapitaGreen office.

While this type of hybrid work arrangement has become more normalised, the extent to which it is rolled out varies from sector to sector, says Goh. For example, companies in finance, investment and asset management continue to form the bedrock of prime office demand here, she says.

“In the long run, the demand for office space will stabilise, but it may not be limited to just a desk and a chair for employees. We will see more collaborative workspaces for employees as well as function and meeting rooms,” says Goh.

Partnerships with landlords

The flexible workspace operator manages this location at 6 Battery Road under a management agreement with the asset owner, CapitaLand, through its Reit CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust Management.

This is the second location in Singapore where TWP has signed a management agreement with CapitaLand, the first one being TWP’s 69,100 sq ft centre at CapitaSping which saw full occupancy within 10 months of its opening.

“We believe that working hand in hand with landlords for flexible space is the future of our (co-working) sector. Such partnerships can bring about more value to the building tenants by enhancing the amenities,” says Goh.


The orientation of office suites are adjusted to maximise corridors. (Picture: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)

CapitaLand and TWP have been closely intertwined since the former invested $27 million for a 50% stake in the workspace operator in 2018. This partnership helped TWP boost its portfolio of Singapore properties to include workspaces under the Bridge+ brand, which was originally a product by Ascendas-Singbridge. CapitaLand acquired Ascendas-Singbridge for $11 billion in 2019.

In terms of its expansion plans, TWP has been quite careful when it comes to growing organically and has focused on ensuring that occupancy in each of its centres is stabilised and successful, before looking ahead, says Goh.

The operator’s checklist for any new location is threefold: The building has an established pool of office demand in an area, a willing landlord to partner alongside, and it has to enter at the right rental level.

In 2023, TWP’s priorities are to retain the high occupancies across its centres, as well as continue its careful approach towards expansion in Australia, especially in the key commercial zones in Melbourne and Sydney. It is also on the lookout for fruitful partnerships with landlords.

In Singapore, Goh expects prime office rents to begin to taper off later this year and the company will capitalise on opportunities such as early negotiations for lease renewals, mindful of potential economic headwinds to come, she says. “We are being careful on our expansion plans, making sure that we open in good, opportunistic locations that are advantageous”.

Check out the latest listings near Battery Road, OUE Downtown, Parkview SquareCapital Tower, Great World City, CapitaGreen, Raffles Place

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