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IWG, Manulife partner to open new Calgary Regus

IMAGE: IWG CEO Wayne Berger
Wayne Berger, IWG's CEO for the Americas. (Courtesy International Workplace Group)

International Workplace Group (IWG) has announced its eighth Regus hybrid workplace in downtown Calgary and its first with a partner, Manulife Investment Management.

The 10,000-square-foot office space at 903 8th Avenue S.W. is slated to open Nov. 14.

“This partnership with Manulife IM reaffirms the value of flexibility at work,” said Wayne Berger, IWG Americas’ CEO, in a statement.

“Landlords are eager to capitalize on the rapidly growing hybrid working sector and partnering with Regus allows landlords to rely on our unrivalled technology platform, our global network and our deep understanding of the changing workplace needs in the Calgary market.

"The collaboration offers businesses and professionals in Calgary access to another nimble, pay-as-you-go office solution. These days, everything is a streaming service — including office space.”

IWG is a Switzerland-headquartered multi-national provider of serviced offices, co-working spaces, business lounges, virtual offices, meeting rooms and video teleconference services. It has more than 10,000 employees at 3,500 locations in more than 110 countries.

Its brands in Canada are Regus and Spaces

It has 14 Regus facilities across the Calgary region.

As of the end of June, Toronto-based Manulife’s real estate portfolio totalled over 63 million square feet of office, industrial, retail, and multiresidential space strategically located in markets across Canada, the U.S. and Asia Pacific.

IWG and Manulife

The collaboration between the two companies involved converting the eighth and ninth floors of its 10-storey, class-A office tower into a Regus facility.

The workspace will feature high-speed internet, a reception and business club, private offices, hot desks, dedicated co-working spots, phone booths and fully equipped meeting rooms.

The building contains a fitness facility for tenants and secure parking and is located on a C-Train platform. 

The release on the partnership states “the growing demand for hybrid work solutions in Calgary” as the reason Manulife approached IWG for the new Regus location.

According to JLL, in Q2 2022, Calgary hit a country-wide high office vacancy rate of nearly 27 per cent. A recent shift to work-from-home, hybrid, hub-and-spoke and other work models have added to the impact of a slowdown in the city's oil and gas sector.

That's leading to more interest in flex spaces.

“People and companies have recognized that they can work incredibly productively and achieve their objectives without having to travel to a company’s main traditional headquarters,” Berger told RENX in an April 2021 interview.

“They also have more control over their daily schedule and less time spent in traffic or on public transit.”

Future of flex space

In the same interview, Berger said flex office space operators combined account for less than two per cent of the commercial real estate in Canada. He expected that number to grow substantially, possibly reaching 30 per cent by 2030.

IWG is not the only flex office space company creating partnerships in opening new facilities. New York-based Industrious has been active in Toronto with two building owners.

It just announced plans to open its second Toronto space, Industrious Financial Core, at 30 Adelaide St. E. in Toronto in March 2023.

The 53,622-square-foot facility will be in the 18-storey State Street Financial Centre in partnership with Toronto-based Dream Office REIT (D-UN-T).

The first Industrious location is the fifth and sixth floors – totalling 36,000 square feet – of a 17-storey, 291,579-square-foot mixed-use building owned by Epic Investment Services at 33 Bloor St. E.

The space was previously occupied by WeWork.

Toronto-headquartered Epic Investment is a fully integrated North American real estate platform with more than $17.5 billion in assets under management. Its portfolio comprises more than 30 million square feet of office, retail, industrial and multiresidential properties.

It is also onboard with the positive sentiment for flex spaces.

"We believe that there’s a growing demand by tenants in the marketplace, corporate tenants in particular, to occupy additional flexible office within their portfolio of facilities,” Epic Investment's leasing vice president John Shields told RENX in June.

“We had a large number of folks through and we received proposals from a significant number of operators.”

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