Corporate News

By Carmelito Q. Francisco and Maya M.Padillo, Correspondents

Regus prepares for Davao expansion as martial law anxiety tapers down

Posted on July 10, 2017

DAVAO CITY -- Working place solutions provider Regus has started preparations for setting up a second center here within the next two years while continuing to look at opportunities in other major cities in Mindanao.

Regus Philippines Country Manager Lars Wittig, in a media briefing Friday, said the company is already scouting for another building in Davao and at the same time discussing options with Damosa Land, Inc. (DLI), its partner in the existing center.

The Regus in Davao, the biggest among the company’s 25 co-working centers in the country with a 1,600-square meter floor space, is located in the DLI-owned Topaz Tower in Damosa.

Mr. Wittig said despite the Marawi crisis and the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, their Davao average occupancy rate has been maintained at 82%, “which is very high.” He added they continue to receive about 40 inquiries per month.

There are currently about 300 people using it, representing 25 companies, of which 60% are foreign.

“Nothing has slowed down” in terms of the operations of the center, Mr. Wittig said, speaking in view of the martial law declaration in the entire Mindanao.

Regus has identified particular areas in the city that are being considered for the second center, but Mr. Wittig did not name these yet.

“We need to pursue what is possible,” he said,.

DLI Vice-President Ricardo F. Lagdameo, for his part, said his company is ready to explore options with Regus for the expansion plan, but is also open to the possibility that the global firm will partner with another company or pursue other arrangements.

“So who are we to deny a good plan,” said Mr. Lagdameo.

Mr. Wittig said the Davao expansion will still “likely come ahead of any expansion outside the city.” Regus has been considering opening spaces in the cities of Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Zamboanga.

He said their client companies have “shown how serious they are in their plans in the city,” either for expansion or starting up operations. “They (just) have to convince their stakeholders that the city is a mature area for their investments,” he said.

Meanwhile, real estate consultancy firm Property Interactive Marketing Enterprise (PRIME) Philippines said inquiries on office space leasing in Davao City since end June have gone back to 15-20 daily, the same level before the Mindanao martial law declaration on May 23.

“That’s actually a surprise, hindi pa tapos ang martial law (is not yet over), but then inquiries on the office space requirements have been increasing,” Ruth Coyoca, senior associate for commercial leasing services, told the media, noting that inquiries went down to between five and 10 daily after the 60-day martial law imposition.

The inquiries, she said, is about an equal mix of local entrepreneurs, Manila-based firms, and foreign companies.

“Its normalizing now... Its picking up again, its a good sign, we’re not out of martial law yet, but slowly we’re getting there,” she said.

Ms. Coyoca said PRIME Philippines actually forecasts a lack of office space supply in the next few years.

“We really see that there will be lack of supply. There is a need for more mixed-use developments now,” she said.