By Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio, Special Features Writer
A new, modern office building will rise next year in Sucat Road, Parañaque City, where BusinessWorld will find its future home.
From its present home in Quezon City, BusinessWorld’s office and printing facilities will move to the new PhilSTAR Media Group building, now joining its sister publications in one facility.
BusinessWorld currently resides at Raul L. Locsin Building in New Manila, its office named after the newspaper’s founder.
“There’s nothing wrong with our present office,” BusinessWorld President and Chief Executive Officer Miguel G. Belmonte said in an interview. “In fact, the office was designed by National Artist [for Architecture] Leandro Locsin. So, our office in Quezon City is actually very nice.”
Nonetheless, the company’s move with some other newspapers under PhilSTAR Media Group to a single building could also bring further benefits to the group.
According to Mr. Belmonte, the main reasons behind the idea of housing PhilSTAR Media Group offices and printing facilities in one place are “efficiency, synergy, integration, and practical purposes.”
“The biggest benefit of all of our media outfits being in just one building is number one, synergy. There are so many areas that there’s some level of duplication, and nowadays, we have to try to be as efficient as we possibly can because the more efficient you are, the less costly also to operate,” he explained.
Joining BusinessWorld in the new building are The Philippine STAR, Pilipino Star Ngayon, Pang Masa, and the different digital properties of the PhilSTAR Media Group. The Freeman and Banat News offices, and printing facilities will continue operating in Cebu.
By having the PhilSTAR Media Group work together in one home, Mr. Belmonte expects collaboration to become easier and camaraderie to be cultivated among the group.
“When we’re all in the same facility, it’s going to be so easy for editors to communicate with each other and help each other out if necessary. And it goes the same for all departments,” he said. “So, being in one office building will make our working together so much easier.”
“And, of course, I’m hoping that it also gives us a better opportunity to develop our camaraderie amongst each other,” he continued. “It would be nice if our employees at the STAR, Pilipino Star Ngayon also get to know our staff members in BusinessWorld and vice versa. So, you try to develop a ‘one big, happy family’ kind of atmosphere. There’s a better chance of us achieving that if we’re all together in one facility.”
THE DESIGN IN MIND
The new PhilSTAR Media Group Building is designed to provide a relaxing work environment for the employees and reflect the STAR’s past and principles.
The construction of the four-storey office building started in March last year, according to Mr. Belmonte. It was initially about to begin in 2020 but got delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Since the design of the building was already done before the pandemic, the concept of working from home was not yet thought of at that time and thus designed for the staff to be based in the office, said Mr. Belmonte. “Although even back then, we had already come up with a design where there’s a lot of areas for relaxation, leisure, [and] interaction,” he said.
“Now that the pandemic did hit us and we’ve learned a lot of things since then, the setup is going to be even more relaxed. We’ll still be continuing with certain work-from-home arrangements,” he added. “Our desire for all our staff to have a more healthy and more less strenuous and stressful work-and-life balance, we want to promote that as much as we can, especially when we move into our new office. So we’re looking forward for it to be a more homey, more comfortable, and less stressful environment for everybody.”
One of the features of the building is the 13th Street Café, which got its name from the STAR’s old address in the Port Area. This reference is also merely one of the new buildings’ features that is inspired by the STAR’s story.
“We see interior design as a form of storytelling. We celebrate the STAR’s history with nostalgic references in the details,” Disenyo Espasio’s Catherine Pascual, lead interior designer, told the STAR. “We also injected the personality and character of the STAR through raw and industrial elements, a subtle nod to where it all started — the printing press.”
As they design the interiors of the new office, the designers have the image of Old Manila in mind, seeing that the old PhilSTAR offices reside in the Port Area.
Ms. Pascual also shared that their work was influenced by National Artists Jose Maria Zaragoza and Leandro Locsin with their modern and brutalist influences.
The new building also honors STAR founder Betty Go-Belmonte by naming the library of the paper’s archives after her.
“We worked closely with the building architects in telling Philippine STAR’s story. We were inspired by what the paper stands for: truth, transparency, and transcendence. We wanted to reflect these values as design tenets. We wanted to give the people of Philippine STAR an environment that can truly inspire them,” Ms. Pascual added.
The new PhilSTAR Media Group building is more than 50% done, according to Mr. Belmonte. And if all goes in line with the schedule from now on, BusinessWorld and its sister publications are expected to be able to move into their new offices by the middle of 2023.
“Based on my last visit, [the office building] looks very promising,” shared Mr. Belmonte. “I can already envision how it will look in the future.”