The country's largest office developer continues to help companies grow, prosper in the Philippines
Even well before its 30th year in operations, property giant Megaworld Corp. is already the largest developer and landlord of office spaces in the country, and touted to be the first Philippine real estate firm to build up such a massive inventory in this segment.
With an estimated 1.3 million sqm of gross leasable office spaces by yearend, Megaworld offices became viable destinations that served as home to some of the biggest names in businesses and industries as well as multinational companies that found these spaces suitable for their stringent requirements.
At one point, Megaworld offices enabled certain industries, still in their infancy then, to thrive and grow such as the IT-business process outsourcing sector (IT-BPO), now one of the country’s largest sources of private employment and a key driver of Philippine economy.
Together with McKinley West, McKinley Hill is home to around 90,000 IT-BPO workers to date.
There is no doubt of the massive contributions of Megaworld offices—having generated thousands of jobs that significantly improved Filipinos’ purchasing power; created a multiplier effect as its offices pulled in and boosted the growth of other sectors such as retail, restaurants, hotels, and transport to serve a growing working population; formed thriving, safe self-contained communities; and more notably, helped drive Philippine economy by providing platforms for local and foreign businesses that generate hefty tax revenues for the national coffers.
Indeed, Megaworld developments have always been uplifting lives, creating a bigger impact on the society, and helping shape the nation through its projects. As the company is poised to further expand its office property business, it deemed it strategic to rebrand the group into Megaworld Premier Offices.
“We are rebranding our former business development and leasing business unit to Megaworld Premier Offices, the same way we rebranded our commercial group (mall and retail) to Megaworld Lifestyle Malls a few years ago. Megaworld Premier Offices will focus on growing our office portfolio and bringing in topnotch companies and tenants into our office developments all over the country,” explained Roland Tiongson, first vice president for Megaworld Premier Offices.
Megaworld Premier Offices will be handling the over a million sqm of total gross leasable area under its portfolio, spread across 63 buildings in nine townships namely Eastwood City in Quezon City; McKinley Hill, McKinley West, and Uptown Bonifacio, all in Taguig City; Southwoods City in Biñan, Laguna; Arcovia City in Pasig City; Iloilo Business Park; The Mactan Newtown in Cebu; and the Davao Park District.
Iloilo Business Park is the largest PEZA-accredited IT Park in Western Visayas.
IT-BPO companies are the biggest occupiers of Megaworld offices, where a fifth of the 1.3 million BPO workers are based, followed by traditional offices (corporations and regional operations headquarters offices, and Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO), which meanwhile comprise 15 percent of its total office portfolio. Among Megaworld’s biggest tenants include Accenture, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, Factset, Google, Iqor, Hewlett-Packard, Cognizant, WNS Philippines Inc. and IBM.
Over the next three years, Megaworld Premier Offices plans to further expand and add some 350,000 sqm to its office inventory. It will be expanding geographically as well, because while most of the new office spaces will be concentrated in Metro Manila, some will be in the provinces: Capital Town in San Fernando City, Pampanga, and The Upper East in Bacolod City.
ATTRACTIVE BUSINESS HUBS
This impressive feat of having expanded the office portfolio so massively, however, takes its roots from a series of transformations spurred largely by the introduction of the livework-play township concept in the late ’90s, starting with Eastwood City. Through here, Megaworld offered a different formula then that provided businesses with a conducive business environment and a modern, healthy community that espouses a holistic lifestyle.
“With Megaworld pioneering the township concept in the late 1990s, we were able to create and offer office developments that have become attractive investment platforms to both local and international companies,” Tiongson said.
“We take pride in having helped pave the way for multinational firms to look at the Philippines as a dynamic and viable business destination when we first pioneered the township concept here in the Philippines. This formally started with the introduction of Eastwood City as the country’s first-ever IT park. Eventually, this led to the growth of the BPO industry in the Philippines, which now employs more that 1 million FTEs (full-time equivalent)—something that has never been documented before when we first started,” he further explained.
Add the fact that 90 percent of its office developments are accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, which meant that companies get to enjoy a host of fiscal and non fiscal incentives that would benefit their businesses.
TOWNSHIP SETTING IN ECOZONES
Peza, for its part, appreciates the value of having offices within a township setting—where workers can live nearby; enjoy utmost connectivity whether through elevated walkways, underground connections or proximity to transport nodes and major thoroughfares; and be near key retail, dining, commercial and entertainment establishments as well as key institutions including schools, hospitals, and churches.
Peza director general Charito Plaza earlier announced that they would be adopting the township concept for its ecozones “to integrate industrial, business and leisure components under one development.” This is most especially crucial for IT and IT-related industries.
“IT industries, for one, must be located in business centers where infrastructure—other than the existing facilities and amenities—is good. (Having a good infrastructure) provides convenience for the (employees) and their families and is reflective of modern high-tech urban areas,” Plaza told the Inquirer. “Locators and their employees must also feel the convenience through (proximity) to transportation and commercial establishments, where they can do other activities like shopping, eating in restaurants, among others.”
RAISING THE BAR
Tiongson meanwhile added that apart from integrating office buildings into Megaworld townships, they also remain leader in offering build-to-suit (BTS) office developments, foremost of which is the Philippine Global Service Center of JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. that is rising in Uptown Bonifacio.
JP Morgan will occupy some 70,000 sqm of gross leasable space from this center which is targeted for completion by 2021—this is reportedly the biggest single office lease transaction made in the country to date.
Given this new brand for its office property segment, Megaworld does not only expect to go “business as usual” from now on—it expects to further raise the standards, creating new benchmarks in how office spaces should be developed.
“Our office developments will continue to become the benchmarks for sustainability and for offering best-in-class, technology-driven office infrastructure and facilities for our topnotch tenants, in line with our iTownship program,” Tiongson said. “We will continue to build in areas where we are currently present while also looking at emerging cities where demand continues to rise. We have sufficient landbank to build more office developments in the mid-term in our key townships within and outside of Metro Manila.”
Written by: Amy R. Remo | Philippine Daily Inquirer