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Locating closer to residential communities to provide a more convenient work place
Metro Manila cities that were once predominantly residential are now hosting office towers designed to accommodate Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies, a trend likely to continue for many years as the metropolis grows and becomes increasingly crowded. In 2014, for instance, Mandaluyong City is projected to accommodate a total of 18,700 sqm. of office space with the completion of several mid-rise office towers on Shaw Boulevard. One of these is the Shaw Center Mall and BPO Building, scheduled for completion in September 2014. Meanwhile, a total of 157,000 sqm will be built in Pasig City in 2014., including 131,000 sqm in the Ortigas CBD, according to studies by global real estate services firm JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle).
The residential neighborhoods of Marikina, San Juan and Paranaque are now also hosting BPO facilities, alongside Quezon City where 58,000 sqm. of new office space is set to rise in 2014 alone.
According to Phillip Anonuevo, JLL associate director, “Many BPOs will prioritize locations that are closer to the residential communities, as an alternative to prime CBD locations. There is a cost benefit to both employer and employee. Rents are lower, and the commute is shorter. A BPO that locates its office just a jeepney ride or two away from employees’ homes offers an advantage that is difficult for employees to ignore in traffic-congested Metro Manila. The nine-story Shaw Center, located in the heart of Mandaluyong City on Shaw Boulevard and Nueve de Febrero Street, is generating strong interest as it nears completion in September 2014.”
Anonuevo observes that with the primary objective of attracting and retaining employees, BPOs are slowly changing the landscape of bedroom communities like Mandaluyong. Shaw Center, which offers six office floors and over three floors of retail, is expected to generate 2,000 jobs. The building, which offers a gross leasable area of 12,500 sqm., is designed to operate 24/7 and will most likely be a hive of activity throughout the day and night.
Meanwhile, residents of surrounding streets where mid-income homes are located will enjoy easy access to restaurants, convenience stores, and other outlets just a stone’s throw away from them. “In designing this type of mixed-use building in Mandaluyong, with large floor plates of over 2,000 sqm., flexible air-conditioning system and sufficient elevators to accommodate the typical high density population of a BPO, the architects of Shaw Center have designed the perfect call center building,” says Anonuevo.
He disclosed that office buildings located away from prime CBD areas will get the attention of the BPO industry as it continues to expand and take up at least 400,000 sqm of office space every year.
For a BPO company, another advantage of locating away from the CBD is lower cost: tenants save at least 20% on rent. Moreover, in non-traditional cities such as Mandaluyong and Paranaque, BPOs are able to reduce the risk of high attrition as employees are less likely to be pirated by competitors.
Whether their building is in a bedroom community or business district, BPO companies require locations with robust public transportation, visibility along a major road, and convenient access to many parts of the metropolis. Shaw Center is the third BPO tower on this major Mandaluyong thoroughfare with easy access to the mid-income communities of San Juan, Sta. Mesa and Sta. Ana.
In addition, BPO companies seek self-contained developments like Shaw Center that provide retail and food outlets to cater to employees occupying the office floors. “Because many employees are likely to take their breaks at 12 midnight or at odd hours when most typical facilities are closed, BPO decision makers put a premium on buildings with 24/7 establishments for the convenience of their employees,” says Anonuevo.
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