Qatar Kick-Out Policy Could Hit Sweet Spot for Serviced Office Space.
The Persian Gulf State of Qatar faced an office space ΓÇ£dilemmaΓÇ¥ a few years ago when the supply of office space within its designated commercial districts began to run dry. In what was deemed at the time as an ΓÇ£emergencyΓÇ¥ measure, the decision was made to allow businesses to operate out of residential property in order to keep business moving.
Now however the office space shortage has been reversed and Qatar has a vast reservoir of vacant office space to deal with ΓÇô and deal with it they will ΓÇô by revoking the emergency measure of allowing businesses to operate out of residential areas and forcing businesses to move into the vacant office space or face closure.
The move comes as a state backed project is left to soak-up the costs of its office space construction-boom which was completed just as the financial crisis of 2008 hit, a time during which DTZ recorded a tripling in vacancy rates in even the existing office space in Doha.
While it would appear that this is an effort to fill the vacant office space and refocus businesses back into commercial districts, those businesses being forced to make the move fear the associated costs will cause difficulties for their business during a delicate time in their recovery.
ΓÇ£We are not going to get many benefits from such an expensive location,ΓÇ¥ explained Ali Keshawarz, general manager of Networks Electrical and Mechanical Contracting Co.
Not only will their monthly rent double once forced to move to an office within the commercial district of Doha, but the additional costs will also be a burden.
ΓÇ£Fitting, decorating and partitioning a new office would cost as much as 1 million riyalsΓÇ¥ continued Ali while also highlighting the poor facilities available in much of the state-built office developments ΓÇ£the high rises in West Bay (Doha), where most of the offices are located, donΓÇÖt have sufficient parking for a contracting companyΓÇ¥
Given the additional costs and concerns about making such a move, the business centres offering serviced office space in Doha could be well placed to offer an affordable and practical solution.
ΓÇ£We see a steady stream of businesses interested in the office space we advertise* in DohaΓÇ¥ explains Rav Jisdhaul, Account Manager for EMEA at officebroker.com.
ΓÇ£Unlike some Gulf locations Doha attracts a wide range of professional services including IT and Financial ΓÇô it not all oil basedΓÇ¥
But as Rav explains, the existing popularity of these serviced offices may mean that competition for such space could be highly competitive.
ΓÇ£Occupancy levels in the West Bay tend to be high and because of the way business works, the fact that the serviced office centres are already compliant with business license etc. means they are popular with both domestic businesses and foreign companiesΓÇ¥
Having begun notifying businesses in April 2010, Qatar is seeking to complete its office space relocation program within two years, a time frame which will allow existing business licences to expire naturally and that can only be renewed if the company relocates to an office with the designated commercial districts within the Gulf state.
*officebroker.com advertises four serviced office centres in Doha ΓÇô click here to view