Lendlease tries its hand at co-working

Australian developer Lendlease is jumping on the co-working bandwagon and taking its employees along with it.

About 100 of its 550 staff here will be moving into a co-working space at OUE Downtown in the Central Business District, partially in preparation for similar zones at its own upcoming office towers at the Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ).

Co-working spaces are working environments shared by people employed by different companies.

Lendlease chief executive Tony Lombardo said at a press briefing in Sydney last Friday that the company’s PLQ development would “definitely” have a co-working element. While the company has not decided yet how much office space it will take up in PLQ, which is slated for completion next year, he said it wants to “test co-working space and understand how that works”.

“We like to learn as a company,” he added over the company’s upcoming move into The Work Project at OUE Downtown around late June. “It provides our people with interaction with start-ups. The change is to get our team to think differently about opportunities.”

The PLQ project is expected to have about one million sq ft of Grade A office space across three 13- to 14-storey blocks and accomodate around 10,000 workers. Lendlease said it is in talks with multinational corporations over the leasing of space there.

The developer will be hoping to replicate the success it has enjoyed at its A$6 billion (S$6.4 billion) development in Barangaroo South, Sydney, which was a container wharf but is now a bustling second Central Business District. Despite naysayers questioning the viability of the area, Lendlease built three skyscrapers there, adding a whopping 5 per cent of office space, or roughly 2.8 million sq ft, to the entire Sydney Central Business District.

The developer has had the last laugh. The last tower to be completed, Tower 1, has committed leases for more than 70 per cent of its space, while the other two are nearly full.

Mr Lombardo said the floor plates of the PLQ offices will be large, similar to those of the Sydney towers, ranging from 2,200 sq m to 3,000 sq m.

He added that he was confident PLQ would be a “new place in Singapore in terms of connectivity and quality of the environment”.

“When we moved to Jem, people were like, ‘Really? A shopping centre out in the west?’ But, actually, it’s becoming a key precinct. Being first means you create more value long-term,” he added.

The company is keen on expanding its urban regeneration portfolio and wants to win at least two to four urban regeneration projects in the next five years in Asia. Naturally, it has its eyes set on Singapore’s master developer projects.

“I’m excited that there are in Singapore now opportunities to become the master developer. It gives us the opportunity… to leverage our skill set to bring some of the things that we have done internationally to Singapore,” said Mr Lombardo.