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RLC opens office spaces in Ilocos Norte mall

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ROBINSONS LAND Corp. (RLC) has opened new office spaces in the newly expanded Robinsons Place Ilocos Norte, looking to take advantage of the growing number of business process outsourcing (BPO) firms expanding into the provinces. 

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Gokongwei-led property developer said it has unveiled office spaces spanning a gross leasable area (GLA) of 7,829.24 square meters (sq.m.).

Accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), the offices cover three out of four floors in Robinsons Place Ilocos in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.

“The site of Robinsons Place Ilocos makes it ideal for BPO offices since it is within close proximity to several universities — five minutes away from Laoag City and 20 minutes from the airport, and is easily accessible from the national highway,” RLC Office Buildings Division and General Manager Faraday D. Go was quoted as saying in a statement.

The company completed the expansion of Robinsons Place Ilocos in 2016, bringing its gross leasable area to 53,600 sq.m., against the previous 20,500 sq.m. RLC said this was the first premier lifestyle mall in Ilocos Norte. 

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RLC also described San Nicolas as the center of business in the province, with the presence of local businesses in the retail, services, manufacturing, real estate leasing, printing and advertising, and distribution sectors. 

The Gokongwei-led property firm also has office spaces in Robinsons Luisita in Tarlac City, Robinsons Cybergate Cebu and Robinsons Galleria Cebu in Cebu City, Cybergate Delta in Davao City, and Cybergate Naga in Naga City. 

“BPO companies locate in the provinces to take advantage of less competition for talent, lower office rental rates, and lower cost of talent,” Mr. Go said. 

Property consultancy firms have been recommending that real estate developers build office developments outside Metro Manila, in a bid to decongest the metro and tap the talent pool in the provinces. The Oxford Business Group, for instance, cited Ilocos Norte as one of the up-and-coming areas outside Metro Manila in 2017 due to commercial and tourism growth. 

“The location can also serve as a back-up site for BCP (business continuity planning) and there is a significantly lower entry-level salary base as compared to Metro Manila. There are also sufficient telecommunications infrastructure in these provinces as well,” Mr. Go added. 

RLC’s net income attributable to the parent was flat at P4.56 billion in the first nine months of 2017, with revenues also almost the same as year-ago levels at P16.64 billion. 

The company will be conducting a P20-billion stock rights offering from Feb. 2 to 8, with each of the 1.1 billion common shares priced at P18.20. 

Shares in RLC were up 40 centavos or 1.94% to close at P21 apiece at the Philippine Stock Exchange. — Arra B. Francia

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