A place to work, eat and drink
It may be a simple monosyllabic word, but it's potent enough to draw reactions ranging from joy to consternation. But when used in the promotion of value-added facilities in serviced offices, it's surely unique.
While the facilities at Soho Workstation, on Caine Road, will pass muster with anyone seeking a virtual or physical office space, it's the use of the word 'pub' in the context of its restaurant facilities which will delight those who appreciate a cold drink at the end of the day - or vex the more temperance-minded among us.
But Soho Workstation's senior manager Sunny Sidhu is eager to assure his neighbours that the centre is not about to rival Lan Kwai Fong. The 'restaurant and pub' - as the centre's website describes it - is not its core business activity. It's merely a small area of the centre's dining facilities offering relaxation that a pub traditionally conveys. 'The pub is a concept rather than a business activity - it's just the bar area of the restaurant,' says Sidhu, who adds that the eatery closes at 10pm, but snacks are available all the time. 'It's all about convenience as the premises operates 24 hours, with people working in the middle of the night while the European markets are open.'
A cup of coffee and a sandwich are usually enough for tenants, but marketing teams are always seeking ways of distinguishing facilities from those of competitors.
Over at Jumpstart, which has business centres in seven locations across Hong Kong, ensuring the pantry caters to international tastes is important. Tenants can nourish themselves with Nespresso coffee from vending machines, while taking in the latest news from business satellite channels.
'The selection of beverages is meant to suit our international client base,' says Chapman Leung, Jumpstart's managing director and co-founder.
Essentially, Soho Workstation's food and beverage facilities are designed more as a convenience for tenants, but the concept has its roots elsewhere. Sidhu says that the facility was originally going to be a serviced apartment, and the restaurant and pub idea sprung from efforts to provide more facilities.
'As we were thinking of how we could cater to residents, we switched the concept to a business centre as they tended to be downtown and quite a few commercial buildings were already trying to be serviced apartments,' Sidhu says, adding that the company decided to target clients with a 'medium budget' who wanted to keep costs low.
'It's not a large market, but lately there's a lot of growth in overseas entrepreneurs wanting to set up here and work on a project basis. So, there is often a demand for short-term leases, usually a year or six months, but a month's lease is possible and cheap too.'
Soho Workstation, which covers three points, including Central and Tsim Sha Tsui, also offers virtual office and mini-storage facilities. Sidhu says each unit has a separate air conditioning system, which reduces costs for clients. Facilities include a seminar hall, meeting room and video conference room.