Cebu’s API inks franchise deal with IWG to develop more working spaces in Visayas

By: Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo - CDN Digital | December 21,2019 - 09:00 AM

AppleOne Properties Inc. (API) and International Workplace Group (IWG) officials marks a milestone as they signed a partnership to develop flexible working spaces in the Visayas region. The public signing ceremony was held at Diamond Suites and Residences on December 18. (From left to right) API president and chief executive officer Ray Manigsaca; API chairman Venus Manigsaca;  IWG head of partnership growth APAC Matthew James Kenley; IWG Country Manager Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and South Korea Lars Wittig; and and IWG Philippines head of partnership growth Rowena Natividad signed the partnership agreement. | CDND Photo / Rhobie Ruaya

CEBU CITY, Philippines Homegrown property developer AppleOne Properties Inc. (API) expands its portfolio by obtaining exclusive franchise rights to develop workspaces in the Visayas in partnership with International Workplace Group (IWG). 

During the signing of the franchise partnership agreement on Wednesday, December 18, API president and chief executive officer Ray Manigsaca said they will work together with IWG over the next five years to develop eight new centers in six cities across the Visayas region. 

These cities are Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Dumaguete, Iloilo and Bacolod. 

IWG, under the Regus brand, has a significant presence in Cebu City with its current location inside the AppleOne Tower within the Ayala-owned development, Cebu Business Park. 

Joy Veloso, executive vice president of API, said this move increases the commercial portfolio of the company to about 10 percent. 

“With this partnership, we hope to grow up to 10 percent of our commercial space portfolio. We’ve progressed in the hotel segment as well. AppleOne is getting into commercial space along with hotels, residences and mixed-use developments. [The] partnership with IWG is balancing our portfolio,” said Veloso. 

AppleOne Properties Incorporated’s AppleOne Tower, which is located within the Cebu Business Park, is the home of Regus, one of the flexible working spaces brand, under the International Workplace Group. | Contributed Photo

Lars Wittig, IWG Country Manager Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and South Korea, called the partnership with API a “milestone” as it is the first franchise partnership in Southeast Asia. 

“The movement in the Visayas is very clear to us… that we need to grow. Our existing business here is almost 100 percent occupied. It is very short sighted to leave little breathing room [for growth]. With franchising, we have faster growth. We get into other cities as well. The more local our partnership becomes, the stronger our growth will be,” he told reporters in a press conference shortly after the formal signing of the agreement. 

Wittig said IWG started in the business of flexible workplaces in 1998 in Manila.

They opened the Cebu center in 2013. 

In the Philippines, Wittig said they serve a good mix of start-up organizations and companies with global presence.

Matthew James Kenley, IWG head of partnership growth in the Asia Pacific region, said there is a growing demand for flexible co-working spaces even on the global scale; hence, the idea to enter into partnership with local players. 

Kenley called the partnership a move to “contribute to suburban economic growth.” 

“This will benefit the local economy in numerous ways, from creating jobs both inside and outside the center, stimulating businesses and services in the nearby area, improving productivity and opening new working opportunities for those who live locally,” he said. 

Its company profile notes that IWG brands under its wing, including Regus and SPACES, serve the “workspace needs of more than 2.5 million entrepreneurs, multi-million dollar individuals and corporations” on a daily basis.

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