IPOPHL buys office space for P1.6 B

The Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) has acquired two floors of the Savya Financial Center in Arca South, Taguig, for P1.6 billion, estimated to save the government agency P4.7 billion if it leases the property for 25 years.

In a statement, IPOPHL said the purchase agreement with the developer was signed last May 24, 2023. IPOPHL plans to move into the new building by next year from its current office along Mckinley Road in Taguig.

“With rent escalations of five percent per year, it is to the best interest of IPOPHL and the government to invest its retained earnings in real estate which will result in lease savings amounting to P4.7 billion  over the next 25 years.  These savings may very well be diverted to service upgrades and expansion, helping improve our online services, pursuing our Digital Transformation program, and helping more businesses, innovators and creators in the country protect their IP assets,” said IPOPHL Director General Rowel S. Barba.

IPOPHL was also given a hefty discount of about P225 million by the developer.

“We hope this acquisition will allow us to comply with the issuance of Commission on Audit to whom we send regular updates to ensure we observe public financial accounting standards,” Barba added.
“With a permanent home, we see greater financial sustainability and greater fiscal space to work on our programs and create a greater impact for our innovative and creative communities.”

IPOPHL, an attached agency of the Department of Trade and Industry, has been pursuing negotiations and options since 2016 for its new, permanent address using its modest savings.

IPOPHL carefully reviewed its options, which included constructing a building within the UP Diliman property where the land will be on a 25-year lease agreement. In this arrangement, however,  the structure shall be owned by UP Diliman thereafter.

IPOPHL also considered joining the proposed One DTI Building along Macapagal Avenue; purchasing an entire building; or buying a lot to construct a building. However, these proved either infeasible or too costly for IPOPHL’s modest funds, hence, the decision to purchase two entire building floors of a finished structure for IPOPHL’s exclusive use instead.

On the potential sites, IPOPHL surveyed areas within the Makati, Ortigas and Taguig central business districts where majority of IP law offices are, but it was either prices were beyond IPOPHL’s range or available spaces were not enough nor appropriate.

After numerous ocular inspections and consultations from various relevant government agencies, IPOPHL pursued negotiations with Arthaland Development Corp. over the purchase of two floors totaling 5,999 square meters in Savya Financial Center located in Arca South.

Touted as the next BGC, Arca South is poised to be the next large-scale business and lifestyle district in Metro Manila being the site of a sub-station of the subway train station. It is also convenient for most of IPOPHL’s clients, stakeholders and employees as it is not very far from its current location of the IPOPHL office along McKinley road.

The acquisition will expand IPOPHL’s current office space of 5,091 sqm by about 908 sqm.  The additional space will also serve IPOPHL’s fast growing manpower. In March 2021, its plantilla positions jumped by 62 percent from 308 to 498 with the approval by the Department of Budget and Management of additional 192 positions.

Exercising fiscal prudence to ensure long-term financial sustainability, IPOPHL became a self-sustaining government agency in August 2006, meaning it does not get any single centavo from the national government and only gets to spend money earned by the agency.

Part of its fiscal strategy then required temporarily leasing office space and at that time, McKinley proved to be a strategic and viable location as Bonifacio Global City and nearby areas were still being developed and rentals were still low.