Flexible workspace operator Smartworks has taken on lease 7 lakh square feet of office space, comprising over 9,000 desks, in Bengaluru as part of its strategy to expand the business.
The Noida-based company, which has taken the office space from Bengaluru-based real estate developer Vaishnavi Tech Park, said that it is the single largest flexible office space transaction in India.
Smartworks currently has a portfolio of more than 7 million square feet across 38 locations in 11 cities. Out of this, 6 million square feet are already operational.
”Office demand is looking very good. Things have become normal. We are seeing a lot of demand from large corporates,” Smartworks founder Neetish Sarda told PTI.
Already, he said, the company has pre-booked 50 per cent of the seats for corporates in this new centre in Bengaluru.
”We broke our record for leasing large independent flex spaces to enable a holistic office experience, increasing from 6.4 lakh square feet last year in Pune to this newest centre,” said Neetish Sarda, founder, Smartworks.
Vaishnavi Tech Park, a premium (Grade A multi-functional IT and Business Park), is located next to the IT corridor – Outer Ring Road (ORR). This will be the company’s 9th centre in Bengaluru. Asked about occupancy levels, Sarda said it is 85-90 per cent in mature centres and 65-70 per cent in the new facilities.
”As part of the return-to-work plan, enterprises are introducing new work patterns and looking to other markets for talent, which has led to a significant increase in demand for our product. Given our large office spaces, we are well-positioned to meet the scalability requirements of clients quickly across markets,” he added.
On expansion, Sarda said the company intends to increase its portfolio to 10 million square feet by the end of this fiscal, of which 8.5 million square feet should be operational.
Currently, the company has more than 80 per cent enterprise clients in its portfolio.
Smartworks was founded in April 2016 by Neetish Sarda and Harsh Binani.
As per the Cushman & Wakefield data, the leasing of flexible workspace by corporates rose 59 per cent in April-June to 28,167 desks across the top eight cities as they are embracing managed office space amid uncertainties. Enterprises leased 17,691 seats in coworking centres in the April-June quarter of the last year across eight major cities — Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad.
To cater to the rising demand for flexible workspace by corporates, all co-working operators, which includes those providing managed office space, are taking on lease spaces from real estate developers and then further sub-lease them to enterprises. In its latest report, Colliers India said that the total gross office leasing has risen to 27.5 million square feet in the first six months of this year from 10.3 million square feet in the year-ago period. Of this, the share of leasing by flexible workspace operators stood at 13 per cent.