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JustCo opens shared workspace at 20 Collyer Quay, targets expansion

At JustCo’s new shared workspace at 20 Collyer Quay, the homegrown co-working space operator has introduced a new concept: tenants within the building can enjoy using the centre’s common areas such as the café, lounge area and event space. Typically, these spaces are exclusive to members.

Occupying 16,800 sq ft in the building, the new co-working centre spreads across three levels and enjoys direct street frontage. This breaks away from the mould of JustCo’s other co-working spaces that are usually housed on upper office floors. Facilities at this new space include a mediation corner, snooze lounge, reading corner, games corner and phone rooms.

JustCo at 20 Collyer Quay (Pictures: JustCo)

Another feature of the new space is Australian coffee chain Dimbulah’s new outlet. The café is open to both JustCo members as well as the public. According to Lu Liu, co-founder and chief operating officer of JustCo, incorporating Dimbulah within the co-working space helps to showcase the space to the public.

“[Dimbulah] helps to draw a crowd into the café and the co-working space so it is a very good model to combine force. They told us that this is one of the best operating outlets for them,” she says. “On the first day, Dimbulah already recorded the first peak [sales] record.”

Expansion plans

The way Liu sees it, demand for co-working space in the Asia-Pacific region is still growing. As such, she believes it is opportune for JustCo to expand its global footprint. Earlier this year, it opened its first shared workspace in Ferrum Tower, Seoul, and is opening its second space in Seoul Finance Centre this month.

In Taiwan, it will be opening its co-working space at Hung Tai Financial Plaza in Taipei in July and targets to have a total of three co-working spaces in the city by the end of the year.

Over in Australia, JustCo has secured two leases in Melbourne and one in Sydney, and targets to have a total of four centres in operation this year. To date, the company has 23 centres in operation across major cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta, Shanghai and Singapore.

While JustCo has been focused on opening centres within Grade-A office buildings in central business districts, Liu highlights that the company is also on the lookout for suitable locations outside the core region as well.

Liu: The first tenants are usually enterprise clients who would take up about 40% of a new space

She cites the example of its centre at Singapore’s Westgate Tower that has achieved 90% occupancy. “We do see demand for co-working space not just in the CBD but in the peripheral as well,” she says. According to her, this demand is driven by corporations who value the flexibility and cost-savings offered by co-working spaces.

She estimates that large corporations make up 50% to 60% of the demand for co-working space while freelancers, start-ups and SMEs make up the rest. As such, Liu emphasizes the importance of offering a wide price range for JustCo’s members to ensure that its co-working space is accessible to both freelancers and corporations. Its hotdesking membership currently starts at $398 per month.

Liu observes that opening the first workspace in a new city is usually a challenge as it takes time for people to get to know the brand and what it offers. “The first tenants are usually enterprise clients who would take up about 40% of a new space. Once the space is open and people see it, then they have assurance that the space is good and suitable for them,” she says.

Having the Dimbulah café at JustCo’s new space at 20 Collyer Quay allows non-members to get a glimpse of the operator’s offerings

Community building

Last year, JustCo secured a US$177 million ($241 million) partnership with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC and mainboard-listed Frasers Property to develop a co-working space platform across Asia.

Even as new operators enter the co-working market, Liu does not think that the co-working space is saturated. Instead, she thinks the market is expanding. “We welcome other players in this space because it helps educate companies on this model,” she says.

To this end, having the Dimbulah café at JustCo’s new space at 20 Collyer Quay allows non-members to get a glimpse of the operator’s offerings. Liu adds that the direct street frontage also piques the interest of passers-by who may not have visited a co-working space before.

Beyond offering flexible workspaces, Liu notes that the community programmes that JustCo organises remain one of its key differentiators. She explains: “In addition to space, tenants want something that will help them to engage with each other and create business. opportunities together. They also want self-development programmes and enrichment. This is one value-add that developers are not focusing on yet and what we are doing more of.”

JustCo is also studying how its members use its space to introduce facilities to help them become more productive. “How we envision the future of work is the digitisation of space and putting in more things to improve our analytics so we can improve how we curate our programme for member interaction,” she says.

This seems to bode well for the operator. According to an announcement in December last year, GuocoLand said it appointed JustCo to operate the space at 20 Collyer Quay due to its “expertise in workspace planning, community engagement and technology capabilities”.

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