In case you work as a feelancer but you want to explore Sofia , a remote worker or still planning the stages of your future start up or even if you have a big business already, choosing a coworking space option happens to be the most convinient idea for saving your capital and developing new contacts and creative opportunities.
And how to choose a co-working space in Sofia? This can be quite a challenge too, so don’t hurry before you answer some relevant questions regarding what would be the best for you or your colleagues among fitting personal requirements, budget, type and more.
1 Type of Coworking Space
What type of co-working space do you need? Coworking spaces vary accordingly to the needs of their customers. For example, If you are working in a small team than you may find appropriate leasing a whole prived serviced office. This type of office should be fully fitted with various kind of services to satisfy everyones needs in your team. If you work alone, then standard coworking space offer is for you.
2 What Rental Cost and Services Included
Sofia is budget destination, comparing with most EU cities. Rental cost and what it will cover are always important to be asked. The serviced offices require some deposit and no prepayment most often. Coworking office must have profitable membership schemes of using a coworking space only when you need, month-to-month leases, shared or flexible payment fees options that you can take advantage of or arrange it. A ready office space or coworking office should be providing an office infrastructure, enough utilities and functionality of the space. You should concider to have everything you need to maximize your productivity including access to all-in-one such as fast WIFI, prefered type of seating and desks, reception, meeting rooms, conference room, printing devices, breakout spaces, kitchen, coffee suply, etc.
3 Sofia Offices Location
Choosing a location goes as a must ask too. You should concider the transport network in Sofia and the costs of travelling to the place. It must also be close enough for your clients or other employees to visit. The central or downtown locations are usually the most wanted and adding up a sense of prestige too and value to your business.
4 Coworking Community in Sofia
By choosing your coworking space or private office in Sofia you will also choose community, future human capital as well as networking opportunities. Being surrounded by other likeminded professionals is a great benefit in attracting new talents, networking or even hiring a potential team, receiving a feedback when you need, socializing in a culture that you fit in well, following an industry development from the very heart of it and discovering brand new ideas in these hubs of innovations that unite creative people.
5 Working Environment
Growing your busineess or being productive once you accomodate yourself in a coworking space depends a lot also on the working environment. You should always visit a coworking space before you lease and be convinced that the environment will allow you to focus and think, to follow conversations with clients and meet deadlines of your projects as well as give you an opportunity to set clear goals for yourself or for your working community.
In the second half of 2016 the offices under construction in Sofia city reached 175 000 sq.m. The offices are expected to become ready in the capital city of Bulgaria in 2017. Great deal of these new office premises are based in the main business zones of the city, along Tsarigradsko Schousse Blvd., the ring road, the Business Center in Mladost 4 District and the city center.
Even so, the trend is for decreased number of available office premises. In fact, the available offices of class A and B in the last quarter of 2016 were approximately 210 000 sq.m, which is two times less than the previous quarter. The average rental levels remain unchanged, which means 11-14 Euro/sq.m for the offices of class A and 6.5-8.5 Euros/sq.m for the offices of class B.
One of the major construction companies in Bulgaria will built a huge office center right in the heart of the Bulgarian capital Sofia. This will be the second phase of the Polygraphia Office Center and it is calculated at 10 million Euros. The completion of the new office project is planned for the end of the summer 2017 and is expected to provide 12 600 sq.m of Offices of the highest class A. The investment is backed up with the Bulgarian holding company AG Capital and the British Real Estate Fund Northridge Capital.
The new office building will feature six floors and an inner yard. It will be connected to the already existing office center through a solid covered passage. It will feature a parking zone on two levels with 100 parking lots. The new office building will further have an ecological certificate LEED Silver. The rental levels in that office building under construction, are expected to be around 13 Euro/sq.m.
Various companies from UK and Russia show interest towards Sofia offices market. They are opening new branches in the capital city of Bulgaria and are one of the numerous companies that are looking for new and larger office premises. Due to that many investors have stared new office building projects in 2016, choosing locations that are within easy reach to the already established office areas in Sofia.
The new companies that are in search of offices in Sofia are looking for 700 – 800 sq.m of usable area, in office buildings of class A, placed within easy reach to the central parts of the city. Those companies are usually outsourcing their business to Sofia, or are working in the spheres of communications, financial services, information technologies, etc. Often those companies are serving not the local Bulgarian markets but clients outside the territory of the country.
The rental levels of the Sofia offices vary in the price range between 10 and 13 Euro/sq.m, while the interest towards the new office projects remains high. These facts make many investors start planning new office buildings in preferred Sofia office locations in the next 12-18 months.
The newly founded companies in Bulgaria and those that are outsourcing their business in the capital city of Sofia are looking towards office premises of around 200-300 sq.m. There are also companies that are searching for office premises of 700-800 sq.m. The business situation in Bulgaria is changing and that is felt everywhere. In many cases the companies that are looking for offices in Sofia are serving markets and clients outside the country.
The office buildings with central location and good functional distribution of the office premises have been rented with approximately 5-10% availability only. The rental levels are between 10 and 13 Euro/sq.m. depending on the desire of the owners of those offices to make discounts.
Outsourcing companies from neighboring countries, UK, Russia, Israel, etc. are looking for spacious offices of high class to set up their businesses in Bulgaria. That was a major tendency on the office market in Sofia in 2016. The newly formed outsourcing companies that enter Sofia market are looking for offices of 200 – 300 sq.m, with an option to rent more in the same building. In addition, more companies are now looking for 700 – 800 sq.m of office space. These companies are representatives of the IT, pharmacy, consulting and outsourcing business.
Those new players on the office market in Sofia are looking for high class services and convenient location. Yet, the demand is not always meeting the supply on the Sofia office scene. However, more and more new office projects are being completed and new ones are being planned to cover those needs. That trend on the office market in Sofia is expected to continue in 2017.
Year 2016 brought a serious demand for office space in Sofia and this has been carried over into the entire 2016, setting a stage for very dynamic office market. The increased demand for office space have continued while new projects for office buildings in Sofia have entered the market. Some of these projects are in already established office locations and they provide office supply in response to the serious demand from the outsourcing companies. The offices with good location in Sofia and smart distribution of the area reach occupancy rates of 90 to 95%.
There is however a slight difference on the office market. In 2015 the newly opened companies were looking for office space of 200 to 300 sq.m, while in 2016 there was a demand for bigger offices in Sofia of 700 to 800 sq.m. The tenants for such office premises in Sofia are companies working in the outsourcing and IT business, as well as companies offering financial intermediation services. In many cases those companies working in Sofia do not serve the Bulgarian market but have clients abroad.
The rental levels of the offices in Sofia city have increased with 4 % on an yearly basis, reaching up to 13 Euro per sq.m for occupying the offices of the highest class A. These are average levels for this type of office buildings in Sofia, which are characterized by convenient location, excellent working conditions, many facilities. Such offices of high class which however do not share such central location can be found for lower rental levels.
In general, Bulgaria remains a very attractive office destination in comparison with the other countries from Eastern Europe. In addition to the strategic location and the attractive rental levels, the country also provides low taxes and professionals with excellent knowledge and rich experience. The rental prices of the offices of class A in Sofia are lower compared to such destinations like Prague, Budapest, Warsaw. Bucharest, Belgrade, Skopje.
Many office buildings in Sofia that were under construction have been completed or are near completion by the end of 2016. At the same time, the increased demand for such offices have let to the start of many new office building projects in Sofia. In the end of 2015 the city had 1.79 million sq.m. of office premises. The large office projects that were completed in the capital of Bulgaria included Capital Fort with its 42 000 sq.m, Brussels Business Center with its two office towers of 9000 sq.m and Trade Center Europe with 8000 sq.m, as well as the SPS Tower featuring another 10 000 sq.m.
The increased demand of the large companies led to the start of many new projects and enlargement of the ones that already existed. Approximately 30 % of these office buildings in Sofia were constructed for own usage or were not large enough to answer to the needs and demand of the large outsourcing companies. The companies that stay behind the increased demand are working in the IT and the outsourcing sphere. These companies already occupy almost three thirds of the rented offices of class A in Sofia. The low levels of supply of this type of offices lead to a slight increase in the rental levels.
Bulgaria keeps its position as a leader of the outsourcing market in Eastern Europe. The rental levels of the offices in the capital Sofia are still lowest compared to the rest of the capitals on the Balkans. Sofia and Bulgaria in general remain very attractive office destination, as the office buildings provided to the outsourcing companies are modern and functional, with great locations and many facilities. Bulgaria not only offers attractive rental prices and strategic location, but it also tempts the companies with lower taxes and perfectly qualified work labor, as well as improved procedures for starting a business.
Since the beginning of 2014 until the final months of 2016, the available office space in the Top 10 of the most sought after office buildings in Sofia have gone from 7.5% to 3.5%. The rental levels have gone up a little bit from 12 to 13 Euro per sq.m. In the next few months many new office projects of excellent quality will be completed in Sofia, attracting the attention of the outsourcing companies. All new projects of office buildings that are starting now in the capital of Bulgaria have been previously coordinated and consulted between the investors and the future tenants.