Blending business and leisure, Bordeaux’s historic shopping mall Place des Grands Hommes joins the flexible workspace boom with the new Signature by Regus
In March 2020, the new Signature by Regus brand will open in Place des Grands Hommes, a historic shopping mall in the heart of Bordeaux. Built to honour 19th-century French philosophers in the city’s Golden Triangle – made up by Cours Georges Clemenceau, Cours de l’Intendance and Allées de Tourny – it’s a bold move by the retail industry to mix business and leisure in an attempt to turn around the decline in demand for physical retail space.
As the flexible workspace and coworking scene in France goes from strength to strength, the retail industry is starting to take note and rethink their business model to introduce coworking areas into malls. In Bordeaux, the Place des Grand Hommes location is just one of many malls around the world that offer serviced offices and flexible workspace as an addition to shopping and dining outlets.
Located moments from Place des Quinconces and the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, this new location will also sate the growing market for companies looking for an iconic business address, as well as bring a new market into a traditional retail area. “It's clear that retail and flexible workspace solutions work very well together,” says Christophe Burckart, Managing Director for IWG France. “We are already integrated in some retail areas – for instance we have a partnership with a French railway company, so malls are one step further.”
Corporate retailers are starting to embrace the growing demand for flexible working space and incorporating it into their business model. “The retail industry is increasingly under pressure, especially high-street shops. This is largely due to more and more customers turning to the internet, so traditional retail areas are trying to find new services to attract customers,” says Burckart. “Office space and flexible workspaces are in high demand right now. With our new location in Place de Grands Hommes, we didn't go down the route of speaking to traditional office real-estate companies. It was a retail investor who approached us to become part of this premium retail space in Bordeaux.”
The Signature by Regus collection offers professional flexible workspace in some of the world’s most desirable buildings. By offering clients more exclusivity, the brand offers its clients a five-star experience, similar to that of luxury hotels, in top-tier cities around the world. “It all comes down to the concept of building a city within a city,” explains Burckart. “People can go to work and then shop, and perhaps stay and eat out or go out and watch movies. It’s becoming more and more important to integrate these areas into the working day, especially as transportation in larger cities is increasingly under pressure.”
For many industries diversifying is the key to moving forward, so what will be the next one to incorporate flexible workspace into their business model? “Sports venues are a growing area for us,” says Burckart. “We now have a Regus business location in Stade de France, the largest sports arena in France. Another one might be the transport industry, where we install more shared office and co-working space in places like airports, train stations and even subways.”
However, the biggest growth area for flexible workspace is in the hotel industry. “We have a similar business model to hotels in the fact our customers buy a service that gives them access to a place. Our customers like to have a nice place to sleep or to eat, and a place to work, so there’s a real synergy,” says Burckart. As the way we work evolves, industries such as retail and hospitality will blend their services with flexible workspace to create a new concept, and from both a business model and a customer point of view, it's a very natural progression.
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