More office spaces to be built within transportation hubs

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MORE property firms are building office spaces within transportation hubs, as a way to maximize space.

Commercial real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield Philippines said office spaces are now being developed within or near transportation hubs in Metro Manila.

“Another new concept may be how they are building offices near or on top, actually, of transportation hubs that are being built, like for example we have for Ayala, and then we also have the one for Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, so there would be an office component to that as well,” Francis Adrian H. Viernes, manager of research and consultancy of Cushman & Wakefield Philippines, said in an interview with BusinessWorld last month.

In recent years, developers have also allocated office spaces within shopping malls, giving people the convenience of working in a place where they can also shop, eat and relax.

“This has been an arrangement that we’ve seen in few years. There are office portions being added to retail developments, like for example the case for SM, for (Megaworld’s) Uptown, it’s the usual scenario… and it’s not likely to change in the next years,” Mr. Viernes said.

At the same time, Cushman & Wakefield expects demand for office space this year to be driven by business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.

“The information technology and business process management sector, or IT-BPM will continue to take a huge chunk of office demand in 2019,” Mr. Viernes said, after a slowdown in the sector in 2017.

“For 2018, (IT-BPM) has regained a bit of strength, and for 2019 we’re expecting that to continue because all the uncertainties that we had when it comes to like the fiscal incentives, because of the policies that were being laid out, all the uncertainties have not provided anything that could negatively affect the business, so far,” he added.

The Philippines remains one of the top destinations for outsourcing firms. In Tholon’s Top 100 Outsourcing Destination for 2018, Manila and Cebu ranked second and 11th, respectively.

Aside from the Filipinos’ proficiency in English, outsourcing firms flock to the Philippines since office rental rates are significantly lower than Singapore or Hong Kong.

The government’s massive infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build” has also been a magnet for foreign investors.

’Yung massive infrastructure spending, it’s actually making some global noise… Those are seen as positive and progressive by foreign investors,” Mr. Viernes said. — Vincent Mariel P. Galang