W Group Inc. bullish on Philippine office property sector resiliency in BGC, prospects for recovery in 2021

TAGUIG CITY, Philippines — Leading property development firm W Group Inc., continues to see rosy prospects for the Philippine real estate market, particularly in leading business district Bonifacio Global City (BGC), with demand for high-quality office developments apparently immune from the adverse effects on the economy by the COVID-19 pandemic.

W Group Inc., the holding company behind iconic BGC properties like W CityCenter, Citi Plaza, and W Fifth Avenue, shows optimism on the property sector’s performance, as various big industry players continuously expand and improve their workplace locations amid the pandemic. The company sees value in the government and the private sector’s vaccination rollouts–slowly easing in the back-to-office work arrangements for their clients’ employees–and leverages its valued, long-standing tenants, most of which have extended their leases in their properties in the next years ahead.

At the end of December 2020, W Fifth Avenue secured a 98% occupancy rate; W CityCenter announced a 99.6% occupancy rate; while Citi Plaza was 99% occupied.

“Despite the pandemic, we take pride that most of our buildings in BGC are almost fully leased, with major tenants renewing their long-term leases only recently,” said Francis Wee, Chief Executive Officer of the W Group Inc. “We echo the industry’s positive outlook on the country’s office space market; in W Group properties, we work closely with our clients to ensure the safety of their employees and strengthen the ease of workplace and operations transition tailored to their needs.”

Recently, consultancy firm Colliers International Philippines also reported that transactions for office spaces in the National Capital Region more than doubled to 84,700 square meters in the second quarter compared with 33,400 square meters in the same period of 2020. Outsourcing and traditional firms such as logistics and telecommunications that implemented a mix of rightsizing, consolidation, expansion, and relocation strategies led the new office space take-up, Colliers noted.

“We’ve seen how Bonifacio Global City remained resilient since the pandemic started and how it continuously persists to recover and grow bigger even, as businesses realize the importance of strengthening their operations and presence in the metro,” added Wee. “Its location and work-friendly environment remain one of the most sought-after spaces in the country and we can only see good things as global and local investors expand their businesses in the Philippines.”

On the other hand, David Leechiu, Chief Executive of Leechiu Property Consultants, shared in a recent television interview that the demand for office space in the Philippines has been growing steadily since May last year, and actually registered the strongest expansion in the world through June 2021.

As companies adapt to the new normal after the pandemic, Colliers said, companies will likely gravitate to real estate developments that not only provide value-for-money but high quality as well.

W Group Inc., which built its fortune from the seaweeds and carrageenan business, has always emphasized high-value and good-quality in its property developments in BGC under real estate arm, W Landmark Inc. Just recently, W Landmark was awarded the ISO 9001:2015 Certification for exemplary implementation of quality management systems and operations across its properties. Its leading property, W CityCenter, was also recently awarded the LEED Gold certificate by Green Business Certification Inc., the world’s leading sustainability and health certification body.

W Landmark owns and manages several buildings in Bonifacio Global City, many of them office towers whose major tenants are multinational companies. Those office towers include the W Fifth Avenue, a Grade A, PEZA-registered building with 36,000 sqm of gross leasable area; the W CityCenter that was designed by New York-based architectural firm CAZA with 59,000 sqm of gross leasable space; and the Citi Plaza, an office tower built to house the bank’s back-office operations with 49,000 sqm of gross leasable area.