Canadian real estate investors, Ivanhoé Cambridge, are set to expand their portfolio to include coworking spaces. 

The real estate company has set up an internal ‘office of the future’ team; tasked with assessing how much office space they should dedicate to flexible work options such as coworking.

The investment giants currently have office assets all across the globe, with three commercial buildings in London. The Minster Building, 21 Lombard Street and Stonecutter Court – all in the City of London – are owned by Ivanhoé Cambridge. 

These commercial properties currently run on traditional leases, but the Canadian company is looking to meet the demands of the time by introducing coworking space and flexible workspace. They are also looking to buy more commercial property in the capital in order to grow these operations.

“We have to adapt our business in order to respect the needs and the demands of our clients”, said Marie-Eve Raux, the Senior Director of Development and Project Management at Ivanhoé Cambridge Europe.

“We want to be open-minded and things have to be flexible; things are changing so fast that we have to be flexible. When investing and developing, we want our building to be as flexible as possible – and that might mean implementing different types of lease within the building too.”

The company has yet to decide whether they will set up their own coworking brand or partner with an operator. Raux said, “We don’t know if we want to do it internally or externally. We may find a partner. We think that’s maybe the best way to do it; we can’t be good at everything, so when it comes to this kind of operation and the experience we want to give to our clients maybe we’ll choose a partner”.

She added that, for Ivanhoé Cambridge, the ideal office building would likely include one-third traditional leased space, one-third flexible leased space and, one-third coworking space. As the company adapts their practice to the changing workplace, they will also aim to feature more services and amenities in their spaces. 

Flexible working, and especially coworking, has seen a major growth in popularity over the last decade. Now large real estate companies are looking to enter the market and capitalise on the popularity of flexible working. For instance, HB Reavis launched their coworking brand HubHub this month, and companies like Landsec and The Crown Estate are set to do the same later this year