23 October 2018 – Eje Prime
Co-working spaces are on a roll in Spain. This global phenomenon in the office market is also reflected in ratios that keep on growing. In Madrid and Barcelona alone, 55,900 m2 of this type of flexible office space was leased between January and September, which represented an increase of 71% with respect to the same period last year.
According to the Flexible spaces in Spain study, compiled by the consultancy firm Cushman&Wakefield, during the first nine months of the year, 26,800 m2 of co-working office space was leased in Madrid and 29,100 m2 in Barcelona.
This growth is the result of the commitment to co-working spaces by large corporations. According to explanations provided in the report, “at the beginning of the 2000s, small spaces predominated, occupied by self-employed people and freelancers; nowadays, those spaces still exist, but the potential of the co-working phenomenon has led to companies such as Banco Santander (Openbank), Accenture and Everis, amongst others, also using flexible spaces for some of their activities”.
The boom in flexible and shared office space intensified in 2014, the first year of the recovery. Besides large corporate groups, which rely on this office model for optimising their real estate resources and the productivity of their employees, international co-working giants have arrived in Spain in recent years to create supply to meet the growing demand.
WeWork and Spaces (owned by Regus), global specialists in this segment, already have expansion plans for the domestic market. The same is happening with the main Socimis, such as Merlin and Colonial, which, in addition to promoting brands that manage co-working spaces, are also adapting several of their properties to convert them into flexible offices.
Madrid and Barcelona are the focus of this market. WeWork already has 35,000 m2 of office space leased in the two capitals. It is managing one fifth, 7,000 m2, from 22@, the technological hub of Barcelona, one of the epicentres of co-working in Spain. Spaces is planning to grow in the same district, where it already has 6,000 m2 of space across several buildings.
In terms of the large Spanish real estate companies, Merlin and Colonial are, to date, the firms that have backed this new trend most convincingly Both have entered the sector by purchasing or teaming up with specialist companies this market. Colonial acquired the brand Utopicus at the end of 2017, as revealed by Eje Prime, and now has a commitment to open ten new co-working centres from 2019, which will span a total of 15,000 m2 between Madrid and Barcelona.
Meanwhile, Merlin has launched the brand Twisttt, through Loom House, a Spanish shared office manager in which the Socimi owns more than 30%. Other domestic players such as Inmobiliaria del Sur have already made investments in this sector. In October last year, the Andalucian real estate firm launched iSspaces, a co-working centre in Sevilla measuring 1,800 m2 (…).
The identity of the next players to enter the stage is a mystery, but the fact that co-working has a long journey ahead in the office market in Spain and around the world is very much a reality.
Original story: Eje Prime (by J. Izquierdo)
Translation: Carmel Drake