‘Supertall’ offices sprouting in Asia

(The Philippine Star) - October 10, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Development of tall office buildings in Asia or “supertalls” are rising at a rapid pace, according to a recent study by CBRE Global Research.

As of June this year, Asia makes up 55 percent of the total number of tall office buildings globally.  

Synonymous to prestige and power, these towering buildings – with a height of over 300 meters – usually mark the evolution and rise of business hub into an upscale, successful district within the region.

In Asia, leading the most number of tallest office buildings is Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

The presence of imposing office structures has been synonymous with economic growth in these parts of the region. 

According to CBRE, more than the notion of “build and they will come” in creating supertalls, the positive image and branding, building quality, and prime location are key factors that developers and occupiers consider.

These indicators reflect an improved landscape which companies are willing to invest in.

Their interest is further encouraged by a country’s demographic dividend, especially those that translate into a steady supply of young, competent workers.   

“The general infrastructural plan, design and construction standards of super tall office buildings are usually several notches high. Plus, for structures such as these, it is advisable to convert it to mixed-use to maximize the efficiency of the buildings. The concept of having office and retail components in one building will make it more appealing to investors,” said Rick Santos, CEO, chairman and founder of CBRE Philippines. 

Common occupiers of supertalls in Asia are from the sectors of finance and insurance, business services and legal firms, and technology and telecoms.

These sectors are, in a way, trying to replicate the success of central business districts in New York, Chicago and other western cities, Santos said.  

In the Philippines, supply of supertalls is still in the works. Completed buildings across the main central business districts, such as the PBCom Tower, is still a few meters short to being considered as “supertall.”

The country’s tenant mix, with the steady influx of foreign locators, is also showing signs of maturity and probable susceptibility to occupying space in these structures.

Taking into account the potential advantages of investing in these office buildings, the Philippines can definitely look into following the footsteps of other Asian countries, such as China, South Korea and Japan, in transforming the real estate office sector and make it more attractive for foreign investors.  

“Philippine business districts such as Makati, Bonifacio Global City, and Ortigas are yet to see the rise of supertalls.

In the forecasted six million square meters of office space this year, it is a question of how much will be contributed to these buildings.

When this happens, people will witness a brilliant transformation of the city’s skyline,” added Santos.





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