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Space as a service!

The digitalisation of society and the accompanying need for flexible solutions to ensure convenient and modern day-to-day working is having a considerable influence on the real estate market. Property developers are trying to respond successfully to this growing need for flexibility and high levels of service.

T he demand for flexible office and commercial spaces has been growing for years. With development projects like YOND in Zurich, Swiss Prime Site has created properties that meets these demands. Tenants there are able to adapt spaces according to their business needs or those of the market. But as well as the supply of flexible spaces that are let in the traditional way, there is a big future for office space required at short notice – along co-working lines. This resulted in our collaboration with providers such as Regus in Stücki Park, Basel, and a partnership with FlexOffice, which now has six locations across Switzerland. Changes in working hours, mobile work and the increase in working from home means that office spaces are viewed and «consumed» as just one of many services. Moreover, companies want to be able to manage co-working spaces flexibly if bottlenecks occur or to accommodate employees’ needs.

The trend – «space as a service»

The market trend for more and more flexibility in rental spaces continues. As a result, options for various other types of use have emerged. For example, in collaboration with Wincasa, Swiss Prime Site has entered into a partnership with memox. The start-up provides spaces for meetings and workshops in prime locations. These spaces are fully furnished so that tenants can get to work immediately. Swiss Prime Site sees great potential within their real estate portfolio of almost 200 properties, as does Wincasa in their customers’ properties. With regard to greater flexibility and the trend towards «servitisation», Swiss Prime Site has gone a step further at Stücki Park in Basel, where the self-developed «ZIP» platform was launched in mid-2021. ZIP works on a «plug and work» principle, that is to say: move in and get to work. Fully fitted out offices and meeting rooms are on offer for teams or smaller companies. They can be furnished to a high standard on request and come with state-of-the-art infrastructure, plus many services and facilities on site. The spaces are generally rented for several months. The immediate surroundings of ZIP are urban and have a lot to offer: the largest fitness centre in the region, shops, bars, restaurants, a hotel, cinemas and a bowling alley. The next domino in terms of greater flexibility for different types of use is already emerging: laboratory spaces.

Changes in office and commercial spaces were only the beginning. Now, the market demands ultraflexible and modern spaces for research and laboratories auf nächste Zeile.

The hot topic – «lab as a service»

Traditionally, Switzerland is the top location for life sciences companies, and there is a correspondingly high need for research and laboratory spaces. At various locations in Switzerland, start-ups or even established companies will one day be able to start their research and work on the first day of their rental contract. This will save tenants both time and money, which they are then able to invest mainly in their core business – research. Those interested can choose between various levels of fit-out, and can also decide on the individual level of service quickly and easily. As with other spaces that have experienced an increase in flexibility, the needs of the end user are the primary focus. When finding locations, proximity to existing «clusters» or «ecosystems» in the life sciences sector plays a major role. Based on its history, the Basel region, for example, with its prominent pharmaceutical industry, is extremely well suited. The Zurich region is the focus of the second location. The city on the Limmat is home to the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) and numerous national and international technology companies. Laboratory spaces are therefore in high demand.

The future – flexible and customer-focused

Developments in the real estate market are making great strides. Changes in office and commercial spaces were only the beginning. Now, the market demands ultra-flexible and modern spaces for research and laboratories. As in all areas, it is clear that a flexible business model and customer focus are decisive factors in companies’ future viability. With its existing partnerships and development projects, Swiss Prime Site is steadily moving forward on the successful path it has forged.

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