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Talent acquisition is a major driver to corporate occupiers
New restaurant and entertainment concepts are opening their doors in Bonifacio Global City, and no longer just in the bigger malls or other business districts of the country. With a fast-rising employee population and a growing footprint of business process outsourcing (BPO) firms in Metro Manila, the former Fort Bonifacio military base is a natural recreational center for those among the most highly paid workers in the Philippine economy.
Sheila Lobien, director of global real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle, explains that a lively dining and entertainment scene serves as a large attraction for these employees, mostly in their 30s and below, and with significant spending power. Given a very strong demand for highly qualified employees, BPOs, which accounted for at least 60 per cent of office lease transactions in the Philippines in 2012, must compete to attract and retain talent.
She notes: “A location in Bonifacio Global City, which a popular food blogger calls ‘the culinary hub of the next generation of restaurants in Metro Manila’, is a key driver to enable firms to hire the best employees and retain them.”
Consequently, demand for new Bonifacio Global City office space, like at the 32-story Ecotower, has never been as high as in the first two months of 2013. For the first quarter of the year, Ecotower is the only new building with accreditation from the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA) that can provide a significant supply of contiguous space attractive to BPOs, still the biggest driver of the office market demand.
Lobien observes that the availability of 24-hour public transportation is also important to both BPO firms and their employees. In this business district, buses ply main routes at all hours of the day at regular intervals. Adding to the attraction, buildings along major thoroughfare 32nd Street, like Ecotower, are just a short walk to the transport hub in Market!Market! and have a distinct advantage over other locations.
Lobien notes that in addition to restaurants in a very competitive retail landscape, a significant number of hotels, commercial properties and residential buildings have come available in the Taguig City business district. “We see Bonifacio Global City establishing itself as a new center of activity in the metropolis,” she observed. “As more firms choose to locate in this district and the employee population rises, we also expect a surge in take up of residential units and demand for hotel accommodation and other leisure and entertainment options.”
The new Ecotower, which is professionally managed and exclusively leased by Jones Lang LaSalle, offers a gross floor area of 32,500 sqm. The 5,000-6,000 employees that will occupy this property are likely to frequent the shops and restaurants of Bonifacio High Street and Bonifacio High Street Central, as well as Forbes Town Center and Burgos Circle, all of which are just ten minutes away on foot. The same employee population is likely to seek medical consultations at the nearby St. Luke’s Medical Center and visit new institutions like the Mind Museum. Ecotower is located on 32nd Street, the same road as St. Luke’s, S&R and MC Home Depot. Additional recreational and entertainment options include Turf BGC Football Field and Mercato Centrale market, plus the playgrounds and jogging paths of Track 30th and Terra 28th.
As the metropolis expands and the growing urban population adds further pressure to the limited public infrastructure, more employees are expected to seek work and recreation within walking distance of each other. “Many companies now recognize this, and it will further heighten the demand for new offices in this district,” according to Lobien.
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