An office by any other name


The Klang Valley offers many types and grades of office space but Sentul Works and the environment it operates under is different from most other office environment, according to Khong.(pic)

APPOINTED agent Savills (M) Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Paul Khong says Sentul Works offers a unique heritage office possibility amid lush greenery within KL city limits.

It offers a creative environment with a confluence of road and rail systems.

“It is a very natural environment, ” Khong says.

The 33,000 sq ft boutique space will be suitable for MNCs regional offices, entrepreneurs in the fields of design and architecture, advertising and PR, IT and digital solutions, as well as co-working space operators, Khong says.

Although the pandemic has speeded up Work From Home (WFH), most businesses will still need offices.

“At the moment, office demand is still holding, ” he says. And it may hold because the most saleable amenities – common areas, gyms and food courts – may be considered potential liabilities in a pandemic situation.

While Covid-19 pandemic has popularised WFH, it does not offer a petri dish of synergy and energy where new ideas and innovation are spawned. This is key to any businesses. Ideas do not grow in isolation. Real physical office space is a necessity, he says.

The Klang Valley offers many types and grades of office space but Sentul Works and the environment it operates under is different from most other office environment, according to Khong.

Greater KL, which includes Petaling Jaya, Shah Alam, Cyberjaya and Putrajaya, currently has 134 million sq ft of office space. But they bear little semblance to Sentul Works and the richness it offers. Most are located in skyscrappers, within shared spaces with other tenants.

There are many grades and choices within the office market. Khong describes Sentul Works as a “natural heritage boutique office” with all the necessary transport connections.Indeed, technology will continue to disrupt and change the way we work, as the several months since the movement control order (MCO) has shown.

There is currently a pause, as companies recalibrate; do they need more, or less, space? Or do they need to work in shifts?

Khong says the office market had slowed down even before the pandemic, as earlier supply had outpaced demand, resulting in flattish rental growth.

With the completion of new buildings, we will see a flight to quality with older buildings getting the short end of the stick as newer buildings provide higher specifications, better quality at competitive rents, he says, refusing to name the rent for Sentul Works.

Khong says there are many criteria in differentiating the grades of offices entering the market. Key proxies include floor plate size, availability of raised floors, efficiency of floor space, building specifications as well as multimedia super corridor certifications that come with privileges and rights, and green accreditation.

The Covid-19 pandemic is also a sieve. Developers who are able to factor in consequences of future pandemics will benefit; fewer touch points on handles and elevator buttons.

“We saw 18.9 million sq ft of space coming in the last four years averaging at 4.7 million sq ft per annum, ” he says.

Occupancy continues to slide over over the same period, averaging at 1.5% a year due to annual new addition.

The latest count on occupancy rate is about 75% at a total of 134 million sq ft of office space as of the second quarter, Khong says.

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Sentul Works , Savills , Paul Khong , MNC , Work From Home , office ,

   

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