AFTER almost a decade of driving office market trends in Metro Manila, the BPO industry may soon face new realities like a scarcity of industry-friendly spaces triggered by the recent government move to limit Peza-approved zones in the nation’s capital.
Foremost among this would be a short supply of BPO-ready office units by mid-2020, according to Phillip Anonuevo, executive director of Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC), a leading real-estate services firm. Even now, a demand-supply imbalance already appears likely. The Century Diamond Tower in Makati, for instance, is the only Peza-registered building offering by the third quarter of this year ample contiguous space desired by BPOs within the top 3 major districts of Makati, BGC and Ortigas.
He explained that as of the second quarter of 2019, Metro Manila office supply has kept up with BPO demand. Studies by LPC indicate that BPOs have taken up 205,000 square meters within Metro Manila to date. There is still ample supply of Peza-accredited spaces to meet the estimated 2019 demand from IT-BPM firms of 450,000 sq.m.
“The supply is likely to constrict by mid-2020 when the current crop of new office spaces accredited by Peza will have been taken up,” he said.
Moreover, only select business districts like Quezon City will be offering Peza spaces in the next few years. This is in contrast to most of the last decade when BPOs could take their pick from among the top three CBDs in addition to Bay City, Quezon City and Alabang.
UP until 2017 when Peza accreditation in Metro Manila could be easily secured, the BPO industry highly influenced what type and where office buildings would be built. Anonuevo recalled, “No-frills Grade A office buildings with large floor plates and energy-saving features were the norm first in BGC, Makati and Ortigas. Then BPO firms started building in Bay City, Alabang, Quezon City and even in Cavite and Santa Rosa to attract workers in residential pools near those areas.”
As expanding BPO firms began competing for Metro Manila’s labor pools, buildings with strategic locations like Century Diamond Tower in Makati were more recently developed as a come-on to BPO work forces. A short stroll away from Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, the building offering 35,000 sq m of contiguous space is within the Makati Poblacion area, now undergoing a resurgence as a food and arts hub. Poblacion’s bars, restaurants and culture centers serve as an attraction to millennial BPO workers who enjoy unwinding after hours.
Moreover, it is also a short stroll from the major jeepney route of JP Rizal making the office tower accessible to BGC, as well as the Santa Ana and other populated districts of Manila.
Anonuevo said, “They are now evaluating the prospects of growth outside Metro Manila. At the same time, we are hopeful that the government will remain responsive to their needs.”