BPO office towers see takeup surge

Business process office (BPO)-friendly office towers in the country expect a surge in take-up in the next six months, according to a study.

The study by Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) indicated that the Philippine office market seems ready to grow more briskly as indicated by 358k sqm. of live requirements or ongoing transactions likely to be concluded within the next six months.

“Live requirements for office space are the highest they have ever been in any quarter since COVID 19 took its toll and IT-BPM-friendly spaces are likely to be among the first to benefit from this resurgence,” said Mikko Barranda, director for Commercial Leasing of Leechiu Property Consultants. Of the 358k sqm. of live requirements, 195k sqm. are from IT-BPMs driven by companies in the West now implementing post-pandemic plans that focus on outsourcing.

PEZA-accredited buildings with large floor plates in strategic locations like Ortigas Technopoint Two along Julia Vargas are already experiencing high levels of inquiry for its few available spaces. Barranda explained that the building’s exceptional floor plates that are typically 4,000 sqm. mean greater floor efficiencies. This allows a 1:5 density ratio or one person for every five square meters of space and has been key in attracting established IT-BPMs to locate there.

In pre-Covid times up to now, IT-BPMs are driven to keep their costs low in order to remain competitive, according to Miguel Manipol, LPC director for Commercial Leasing. At the same time, they seek to provide a conducive and convenient work environment for the many workers they employ.

Workplaces like Ortigas Technopoint Two, which is highly accessible via public transportation from the residential communities of Quezon City, Pasig City and Mandaluyong City, are thus preferred locations, Manipol says. The building, is also accessible to a six-story parking facility to meet the requirements of locators and guests. Additionally, it offers branding rights and ground floor space for recruitment purposes to tenants who will take up spaces in the second and third floors.

Another attraction of Ortigas Technopoint Two is its proximity to retail and recreation sought after by IT-BPM workers who get together before and after work and keep surrounding establishments active and lively. “Especially now that the industry employs 1.8 million nationwide, IT-BPMs seek work environments that are part of mixed-use communities to retain their employees,” points out Barranda.

With office vacancy in Metro Manila now at double-digit levels in most districts, Barranda notes that landlords have responded by offering more competitive rental rates. IT-BPMs realize that the Philippine office arena has transformed into a tenant-dominated market in post-pandemic times. “This fuels further our optimism that they will soon make their presence more felt than ever in the Philippines,” said Barranda.