Filinvest puts a human touch in Northgate Cyberzone

(The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Office developments go beyond just bricks and mortar for the Filinvest Group of the Gotianun family. With decades of experience in the property sector, it knows and understands well how little things can make a big difference in the real estate market.

While it is true that locators want large floor spaces and lavish amenities when it comes to office buildings, it’s the “human touch” that always gets the job done, Filinvest group head for offices Maricel Brion-Lirio told The STAR in an interview.

“The key of the game here is relationship. At the end of the day, everyone is doing the same thing so it’s really relationship and personalized service that makes the difference,” Lirio said.

Filinvest’s human-centric approach is currently evident in its Northgate Cyberzone development, a premiere IT park located in the dynamic Filinvest City in Alabang.

The 18.7-hectare PEZA-registered and masterplanned IT and BPO hub boasts of unique offerings such as its own fire truck, fire station and tie-up with lifeline emergency ambulance service.

“This ambulance service, we’re actually paying for their monthly fee. They don’t pay for anything once they call. So it’s there for emergency purposes, at least these guys are there 24/7,” Lirio said.

Aside from also having 24/7 shuttle service and security force, Northgate Cyberzone also has a 14-wheeler mobile generator set that can provide power for 48 continuous hours. The mobile generator is on top of back-up generators already installed in each building.

“As we all know, BPOs are very particular for their power requirements so that’s why we decided to have the mobile generator in site,” she said.

Lirio said Northgate Cyberzone has also been regarded as having one of the lowest attrition rates among all BPO parks in the country by top officials of its existing locators. She said the feeling of security along with the residential and retail amenities that the IT park offers were among the top reasons cited by employees paving way for its low rate of attrition.   

But for Filinvest, keeping locators happy is also as important as tending to the workforce’s needs.  After all, Northgate Cyberzone was masterplanned and built around the needs of technology-based companies engaged in BPO, KPO, education, software design and multimedia, e-commerce, banking and financial services.

The IT park is equipped with technologically advanced provisions with very competitive rates, giving the park a prideful 100 percent occupancy. The businesses also enjoy tax incentives as ecozone locators.   

“It gives them an additional push to be here plus we’ve been here since 1999 so we know already how to operate and manage an IT/BPO park. Unlike the others who are just starting, they’re still trying to figure out what their customers really want. We, on the other hand, know what they want already,” Lirio said.

“We extend our offerings in terms of having lifeline service, extra amenities, a backup to the backup, and we attend to their needs so things like that because we know that this is their requirement. That’s what makes us different from the rest,” she said.

Finishing what it started

To further cement its stature as the premiere BPO-IT park in Metro Manila, four more office projects are set to rise in Northgate Cyberzone until 2022.

The leading reale-estate developer will be completing next month the 14-story Filinvest Two and Three, with 23,784 square meters (sqm) of leasable space.

Starting construction this month, meanwhile, is Vector Three, a 22-story building with 16 office floors and a gross leasable area of 36,344.79 sqm. The office tower is scheduled for completion by the fourth quarter of 2016.

To complete the office buildings in the masterplanned Northgate Cyberzone is Megablock, a four tower development with a total GLA of 155,598 sqm to rise in a 2.6-hectare area.

“We see Megablock as an iconic building. Ground floor will have a retail space of about 6,000 sqm so there’s more options for the call center agents. It will be four towers but the retail space will be connected to each other,” Lirio said.

Lirio said Megablock alone can generate some 90,000 BPO employees in three shifts. She said development of Megablock would be done on a per phase basis, with the last tower expected to be finished by early 2022.

“Based on the masterplan, we should be adding six more buildings here but since Filinvest management wanted to have an open green space available where people can just relax due to the fact that the call center industry is very hectic and stressful, we are just putting up four more,” Lirio said.

“We expect demand for the upcoming buildings to be bullish. We’re expecting that the growth will be stable similar to what we had experienced in previous office buildings here in Northgate,” she added

Answering the call for more

With the positive market reception for its office development in Filinvest City, the group is also looking at bringing the Northgate experience in other areas in the country.

Filinvest is set to open more office buildings in Pasay, Makati, Quezon City and Cebu.

In Makati, the group will be developing 100 West, a four-story office building that will have a total leasable area of 12,912 sqm. Estimated date of availability of the project is on the second quarter of 2018.

A bigger office development, meanwhile, is seen to rise in Pasay and Cebu which will be called Filinvest Cyberzone Pasay and Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu.

With a total GLA of 75,000 sqm, Filinvest Cyberzone Pasay will be a mixed use project consisting of four office buildings with a retail component. Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu, on the other hand, will be a two-tower development that will feature a combined 28 BPO office floors.

Lirio said two new office projects are also in the pipeline in Quezon City, one to be situated in Cubao and the other near GMA7.

She said the Cubao project will be called Activa while the other will be dubbed as Studio 7. Both projects are eyed to start construction by 2015 and be completed by 2019.

“There’s a consistent demand for office spaces and we see that the BPO industry is going to be here for the longest time and it is still a growing industry.  We just wanted to capture the opportunity to assisting the industry and be of service to the players by giving them quality buildings,” Lirio said.


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