Workspace innovator Second Home has announced it will invest an eight-figure sum in a second Lisbon base, a 6,000sq m space spread over three buildings due to open in 2019.
The second hub will be five times larger than company’s existing Lisbon venue and will cater for both global companies looking for a Portuguese base and to local firms, with spaces ranging from communal shared desks to large private studios.
‘Lisbon is moving from a start-up phase to a scale-up economy,’ says Second Home co-founder Rohan Silva. ‘To date the focus in the city has been on providing infrastructure, training and funding to startups but now it’s time to build an ecosystem that supports growth. Our second space is part of that next step for the city.’
Portugal’s economy expanded 3% in the second quarter of 2017, compared with the same period in 2016 and unemployment is now 8.5%, below the EU average. The city’s start-up kudos also continues to grow. This month’s WebSummit tech conference, which brought the equivalent of €200 million in revenue to Lisbon in 2015, attracted more than 62,000 attendees and is helping to drive Lisbon onto the international corporate radar. Mercedes Benz, VICE and Volkswagen are just some of the companies now based at Second Home in Lisbon and the company has already secured interest from ‘one of the world’s biggest high street retailers’ for its next Lisbon office, says Silva.
The firm will work with its regular architect, Spanish firm SelgasCano, on the project, which will also include a restaurant, a 200-seat venue for talks and events and a Portuguese and English language bookshop, all open to the public.
‘There are outdoor spaces and courtyards and we are planting trees. We want to keep the same design ethos of biophilia and lots of natural light. It’s going to be a campus that feels like real oasis.’
Rising property prices in Lisbon are helping to drive companies towards shared spaces: since the nadir of 2012, the price of property in the city has increased by 35%. In upmarket suburb of Chiado, you can now expect to pay around €10,000 per sq metre, though the average in the city is closer to €2,500 per sq metre.
‘In five years’ time Lisbon won’t be the fashionable city that it is today but I think it will continue to be a city where companies and people can be successful and innovative,’ says Silva. ‘We need to use this moment of attention to focus on making the city structurally better, a place where global companies can land and grow but also where there is fair, equal access to opportunity for the people who live here.’
The new Lisbon space will be the company’s seventh: a fourth London office opens next year and a Los Angeles venue launches in the first quarter of 2019.