Bacolod City is a viable business hub for large global outsourcing companies, poised to accommodate the huge demand from the industry, Colliers forecasts, as reported by Sunstar.
Joey Bondoc, the firm’s Head of Research and Associate Director, attributed their positive outlook to the talent pool and infrastructure available in the Visayas hotspot, claiming that it can be a “major outsourcing player” outside of the capital region.
At present, the city already hosts global outsourcing companies, Colliers noted. With the completion of more office space in Bacolod, it will become more competitive in the next years, further attracting players.
According to Colliers, the establishment of outsourcing operations, as well as the increased number of inquiries for office space in Bacolod, should compel national developers to offer leasable space in the area. They recommend building integrated communities, which feature offices, residential units, malls, and institutional facilities, such as schools and hospitals.
Growing Office Market in Bacolod
For developers eyeing to construct offices in the highly urbanized city, Colliers suggested having larger floor plates between 1,500 square meters and 2,000 square meters or 16,000 square feet and 22,000 square feet to cater to companies that are consolidating operations.
The agency proposed having flexible workspaces as well to accommodate freelancers, startup financial technology (fintech), and game development and software engineering companies. Tenants may also use these flexible workspaces as incubation sites.
Colliers, however, noted that plug-and-play offices are “feasible” in the highly urbanized city. Bacolod hosts health information management and game development hubs that require plug-and-play offices that minimize capital expenditures. This presents an opportunity for real estate developers capturing property demand.
Additionally, Colliers urges developers to collaborate with owners and operators of PEZA-accredited properties to entice tenants looking to secure tax incentives.
Bacolod’s appeal as an investment destination and real estate hotspot is reflected in Lamudi’s data. The property platform named it as one of the top 22 cities to watch in 2022, revealing that the share of commercial listing supply in the Visayan city grew throughout 2021.
A Vibrant Information Technology Landscape
Bacolod has long been recognized as a progressive city hosting a dynamic information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) industry. It was among the top locations included in the launch of the Next Wave Cities program of the Department of Information and Communications back in 2010. The year after, it maintained its position in the list of must-watch cities.
The recognition put a spotlight on the city’s readiness to accommodate outsourcing companies. The cities recognized were evaluated based on the availability of talent, infrastructure, business environment and cost.
In 2013, Bacolod’s status was elevated to ‘Center of Excellence’ for IT-BPM operations. Meanwhile, in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, the highly urbanized city was honored anew for its excellence in hosting outsourcing companies, Sunstar reported.
Recently, the first digital-first college in the Visayas region, Mapua Malayan Digital College (MMDC), was launched in Bacolod, as mentioned in a separate Sunstar report. This is seen as a huge step towards equipping local talents with the digital skills needed to remain competitive in the digital age.
Supported by Infra Projects
The potential of Bacolod to attract more businesses and maintain a vibrant property market is backed by infrastructure projects in the city. The government’s development initiatives are seen to increase accessibility, facilitating better transportation of goods and services.
Back in April, Philstar reported the then-secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) vowing to continue and complete the Bacolod-Negros Occidental Economic Highway, which is under the Build, Build, Build program of the Duterte administration.
Designed to facilitate convenient transportation and alleviate traffic jams in the area, the bypass road cuts travel time from southern Negros and northern Negros to Bacolod-Silay Airport Road by 25 and 40 minutes respectively. It will serve about 20,000 travelers daily.
The construction started in April 2017 and is slated to be finished in December 2024. The project, worth P7.97 billion, is expected to spur economic growth in the province of Negros Occidental.
The Bacolod-Silay Airport is another infrastructure project set to make the urbanized city more attractive to businesses. In a recent report from Manila Standard, the aviation hub in the City of Smiles is included in the list of airports with upgraded facilities that can accommodate night flights.
Sources: Sunstar, Philstar, Manila Standard