Betting on the BPO market

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@VicSilvaCDN

10:00 PM November 22nd, 2016

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By: Victor Anthony V. Silva, November 22nd, 2016 10:00 PM
Jonel Borromeo, Cebu Landmasters Inc. managing director, and Jojo Tolentino, an architect who is the CEO of Aidea Philippines, check out a scale model of the Latitude Corporate Center at the Marco Polo Plaza. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Jonel Borromeo, Cebu Landmasters Inc. managing director, and Jojo Tolentino, an architect who is the CEO of Aidea Philippines, check out a scale model of the Latitude Corporate Center at the Marco Polo Plaza. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Cebu developer shows confidence on outsourcing sector with an estimated billion-peso project

A leader in the local real estate industry expressed confidence in the market for business process outsourcing (BPO) offices despite US President-elect Donald Trump’s pronouncements to take back all outsourced jobs to America.

Jose Soberano III, chairman and chief executive officer of Cebu Landmasters, Inc. (CLI), reinforced his confidence on the BPO market by announcing his firm’s latest nearly a billion peso project at the Cebu Business Park, called the Latitude Corporate Center.

Soberano said they have allotted “close to one billion pesos” for the construction of the building alone.

He said it is an upscale modern office development which would help meet the demand for BPO office spaces particularly in Cebu, which was recently ranked seventh in the Tholons list of best outsourcing destinations in the world.

Cheap real estate

Soberano said he believed that many companies would remain interested to locate in the Philippines as real estate values here remain the cheapest in Asia.

“We are far off from Singapore and Hong Kong. Even the workers here are attracted to the BPO sector because of a good work-life balance,” he told reporters during an exclusive preview of CLI’s joint venture project with Borromeo Bros. Estate, Inc. called Latitude Corporate Center at the Marco Polo Plaza in Cebu City on Monday.

According to the Global Property Guide, real estate rental prices across market segments in the Makati Central Business District are at $2,369 per month, lower than Hong Kong’s monthly rental value of $7,024 and Singapore’s $3,489.

Soberano said the economics of buildings revolve around cost-efficiency, and American companies would continue to set up businesses here to remain globally competitive as well as to put themselves above breakeven points.

PH salaries

Starting salaries here range from P15,000 to P20,000, which is approximately $2.50 per hour on an eight-hour, 25-day work schedule in the US.

Soberano said he did not think US businesses could attract Americans with that rate; thus, there would be a need to look for cheaper alternatives in countries such as the Philippines.

Jose Soberano III, CLI chairman and CEO, shares the details of the firm’s upcoming project. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Jose Soberano III, CLI chairman and CEO, shares the details of the firm’s upcoming project. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

Believing that the BPO sector in Cebu would continue to grow, he said that construction for the Latitude Corporate Center would start around April or May next year and would be expected to be completed by the last quarter of 2019. The project will be launched to the public within the last week of January 2017.

The Latitude project, which will rise on a 3,000-square-meter property within the Cebu Business Park, is a Grade A office building offering future-ready spaces for businesses of all sizes such as BPOs at 2,000 square meters, 151 to 320 sq. m. for enterprise and 51 to 105 sq. m. for executive.

The project is jointly owned by CLI and the Borromeo Bros.

Soberano said Latitude will stand at 24 stories to become the highest office building within the district, with eight high-speed elevators, a sky lounge, garden deck, five-level podium parking and two levels of retail spaces starting at the ground floor.

Strategically located beside the Pag-ibig Corporate Center, Soberano said the project would generate more foot traffic and enliven the “night life” in the area similar to the Cebu IT Park where CLI also has projects.

The CBP is currently home to 150 local and foreign companies.

Latitude will feature an eco-friendly design and will be registered with the Berde green building rating system.

In October this year, CLI also partnered with four other local firms to turn the largest remaining private property within the Cebu IT Park into a mixed-use development with high-rise residential, office and retail components.

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