Clark as a BPO hub
CBRE focused on the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, in particular, as a new potential hub for BPOs owing to its strategic location in Central Luzon, good transport links, massive tracts of land for development, and access to a large pool of untapped talent.
“The area sits right on the North Luzon Expressway and has its own airport; when the US government pulled out of Clark, it left billions of dollars in infrastructure that is now being taken advantage of there,” Santos said.
Access to new labor pools at lower rates compared to Metro Manila is another prime factor, he added, as well as Clark’s strong labor population and its strategic location in Central Luzon.
Of the areas CBRE studied, Clark was the most cost-effective with an average office space cost of P456.74 ($9.80) per square meter (sqm), compared to the average rates in Cebu of about P500 ($10.68), and much lower than the average of around P800 ($17.21) in Fort Bonifacio, and above P1000 ($21.46) rates in the Makati Central Business District.
“Clark actually already has a BPO scene, with firms such as Tata Technologies Incorporated, Startek, and Beepo Incorporated [that] have been doing quite well there for years now. The majority of the new office space that rises there is taken up by BPO,” said Morgan McGilvray, CBRE director of corporate agency and brokerage.
Clark Freeport has about 28,000 sqm of office space at the moment, and the market is expected to grow about 4- to 5-fold in the coming years due to a number of projects catering specifically to the BPO industry, McGilvray added.
There is a lot of new office space in the pipeline in Clark, with a total of 144,120 sqm, among them, the completion of the SM Clark expansion.
Marquee developments such as the Global Gateway Logistics Center (GGLC), a 100-hectare plus development right next to the airport and SM Clark, and the envisioned 288 hectare Clark Green City mixed use development, are other sites set to lure BPOs in the future.
“BPOs are tapping into new labor pools, lower rents, and higher quality new buildings. [They’re] all trying to get an edge in the next emerging district in the Philippines and now they have more choices to choose from,” McGilvray said. – Rappler.com
$1 = P 46.52