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published in The Manila Times
Despite the rapid emergence of new business districts in the Metro Manila property market for the past several years, Makati City still remains to be the preferred choice of companies seeking to set up office due to several factors such as convenience, security and local government stability.
Jones Lang Lasalle Philippines regional director and head of project leasing Sheila Lobien said that Makati is still the go-to destination for most top-tiered companies.
"Most head offices of top corporations still prefer Makati as their head office address primarily for several reasons: (1) Makati is very secure, (2) most business head offices are also located in Makati (3) public transport is well suited for all types of employees, (4) stable city government and thus predictability in dealing with local/city officials and (5) commercial and retail establishments such as hotels, restaurants and malls are also in place,"Lobien said.
As the robust Business Process Outsourcing(BPO) sector remains to be a driver of the demand in the country's office sector, a number of BPO firms contribute to the takeup of spaces in Makati City.
However, Lobien noted that these are mostly BPO firms that offer higher value services.
"In our most recent experience in handling under exclusive leasing a property along Ayala Avenue, companies high up in the value chain of a BPO company also prefer a Makati office—legal, engineering and architectural BPO firms, with highly qualified professionals, situated their BPO office in Makati. These lawyers, engineers and architects cannot be placed in a mid-end type of office," Lobien expressed.
Also, there are numerous BPO financial and insurance institutions that prefer a Makati address, according to Lobien.
"Top multinational companies also want to have their BPO offices in Makati as it is a well-known business district which they also equate with local government stability, security and convenience for their employees," the regional director said.
Lobien said that the Makati office market remains to be a landlord's market, as seen in the district's historically low vacancy rate of 4 percent, due to the high takeup of office spaces the city.
"At the moment, only about 4 percent of office space is available for occupancy in Makati and these are located usually outside of the center or core of the Makati CBD which is along Ayala Avenue/Paseo de Roxas/Makati Avenues," Lobien said.
Apart from the Makati CBD, there are still areas in Makati that are waiting to be developed.
"Outside of the core, there are areas that are waiting for development such as those in the Buendia/Rockwell/Pasong Tamo areas and in further south of Ayala Avenue, the former Sta Ana race track," Lobien said.
One of these areas to be developed in the next few years is the 21-hectare Circuit Makati by Ayala Land Inc.
"Considered to be a premier entertainment hub in the heart of Makati, we have seen the master plan and situating offices in such a development will be very advantageous for locators—BPOs and non-BPOs alike," Lobien said.
The regional director noted that one advantage of locating in Circuit Makati is its business address being within Makati City.
"A locator can still use the prestige of a Makati office address, benefit from the commercial and office infrastructure and transportation efficiency that Makati already offers and the security that Makati has been able to perenially provide the employees working in Makati," Lobien explained.
In order to offer a locator these advantages, Ayala Land is building the 25-storey Circuit Corporate Center 1 with the Circuit Makati estate, which offers a total of 46,713,28 square meters of gross leasable area.
"Based on the initial plans that I have seen, Circuit Makati Corporate Center will be in a very good location as it will be in a newly developed business district in Makati with world class residential, commercial and entertainment amenities and the building itself offers a sizeable and efficient floor plate," Lobien said.
"The existence of a complete neighborhood which features numerous new commercial and residential establishments and its transportation accessibility having a transportation hub located within Circuit Makati will greatly add value to business locators," added the regional director.
The office building which is scheduled to be completed in the third quarter of the year is marketed and exclusively leased by JLL. This is Ayala Land's third office building to be marketed by the real estate services firm.
"JLL Philippines handled the marketing and exclusive leasing of the BGC Corporate Center, eBloc 3 and eBloc 4. We look forward to doing the same level of performance for Circuit Makati," Lobien said.
Ayala Land Offices vice president and head Carol Mills expressed her confidence in the partnerships with JLL.
"JLL is a market driven and customer oriented organization whom who we have been working closely with in some of our buildings for the past 10 years," Mills said "We have confidence in their ability to effectively and responsibly represent our properties in the marketplace."
For her part, Lobien expressed her happiness with working with Ayala Land.
"It is the firm's pleasure and pride to work with Ayala Land—one of the most professional, bankable and the best real estate companies in the country," Lobien said.
"For the past eight years, we had successfully leased out close to 90 properties under exclusive leasing appointments from top developers and big companies," the regional director concluded.
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