CBRE’s Hana bullish on expansion amid co-working fears

The consultancy’s flexible workspace arm is going ahead with its 26,000 sq ft Windmill Green lease and looking for future opportunities, even if it is unlikely to open further sites in 2020 beyond its current pipeline. 

Hana has signed commitments to open 10 sites globally by the end of the year, having invested $9m in the first quarter of 2020 in expansion plans. The location of nine offices are confirmed with one in Manchester, three in London and a further five sites across the US. The location of the tenth site has not yet been revealed.

The Manchester site is at Fore Partnership’s Windmill Green, for which Hana signed the lease in March

A spokesperson for Hana said in a statement: ““CBRE continues to invest in Hana and is quite bullish on future demand as occupiers look to leverage more flexible office models to address both uncertainty in their business outlook, and employee demand for greater flexibility in their working arrangements.” 

The company intends to “deploy additional capital for other opportunities that may arise,” the spokesperson added.   

“Hana can deploy additional capital to begin the planning and development of locations outside of those 10 units, but due to delays in construction and supply chain, we are not committing to additional units being open and operational within 2020.” 

Responding to a report in trade media last week that Hana was halving its expansion strategy for 2020 as concerns abounded over co-working in the current climate, the spokesperson added: “We are absolutely moving forward with our space at Windmill Green in Manchester working with Fore Partnership. We still plan to open in 2020.”

Hana is looking at further growth throughout the UK and Europe and “evaluating how it could support occupiers that may be challenged working with other flex-space providers” it said.  

Office agents in the North West are unsure if flexible workspace providers like Hana will sink or swim post-pandemic, particularly as WeWork appointed Knight Frank last month to review its UK portfolio with a view to “right-sizing” it as the company battles financial difficulties.

No1 Spinningfields

No1 Spinningfields is one of WeWork’s five Manchester sites

Chris Cheap, managing director of UK regions at Avison Young said: “The business model around serviced offices and co-working is going to struggle for the foreseeable future and there will be some casualties because the nature of the agreements are naturally of a short term basis that can be dropped quite quickly.” 

Will Lewis, director at OBI, said a happy medium between co-working and a traditional office could be the answer. 

“People don’t want to commit to a really long lease and pay for the fit-out of someone else’s building so that suggests managed workspaces will do well.

“But but from a health perspective, people don’t want to be rubbing shoulders with people from loads of different companies, so landlords that can provide fitted space with its own front door will do really well.” 

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