SM Prime is betting high on the booming BPO sector as it is set to open another office tower in the bustling Santa Rosa, Laguna in the first quarter of 2017.
Built right next to SM Santa Rosa, the new BPO tower will have a leasable area of approximately 30,000 square meters, of which majority will be allotted solely for BPO companies. However, there is flexibility for smaller cuts that cater to SME (small to medium-sized enterprises) operations.
Dubbed “Investment Capital of South Luzon,” the bustling Santa Rosa is an ideal hub for BPOs and other businesses given its proximity to Metro Manila, but minus the congestion, traffic, and other inconveniences associated with a booming metropolis.
“As Metro Manila is now congested, and a number of the residents of Santa Rosa work for a BPO player in the metro, it is but timely to bring these BPO players close to its workers and employees,” says Juan Marius Cortez, mall manager at SM Santa Rosa.
Cost-wise, it makes sense to operate in SM Santa Rosa. Rents are relatively cheaper compared to say office spaces in Makati or Bonifacio Global City.
“As Santa Rosa is still considered to be a province though very close to the metro, provincial rates apply, which can be very attractive to BPO players as they can play along with their operational expenses and manpower costs,” says Cortez.
SM is cashing in on the BPO sector. Aside from SM Santa Rosa, it is also set to open BPO office towers in SM Clark, SM Cagayan De Oro, and SM Southmall.
BPO has been growing consistently in the last 15 years, contributing to higher consumer spending and boosting the domestic economy, which is one of the bright spots in Asia.
The Contact Center Association of the Philippines expects the BPO sector to post $26 billion in revenue this year, up from $25 billion in 2015. That’s almost at par with the expected remittances from the overseas Filipino workers, which is forecast to reach $26.6 billion by end of this year.
Choosing Santa Rosa as a business hub is convenient as it is right next to SM’s shopping mall. It is accessible to Metro Manila, and hiring won’t be a headache.
With a total population of 350,000, a 98 percent literacy rate, the city is home to various colleges and universities so recruitment won’t be a problem, says Santa Rosa Vice Mayor Arnold Arcillas.
The city is accessible with the following road options: South Luzon Expressway, Old National Highway and the Biñan-Santa Rosa Access Road that are catering to people from Metro Manila, and those from Tagaytay and Silang area. The mall has a transport terminal that caters to the nearby areas of Laguna such as Balibago, Cabuyao, Biñan and San Pedro, as well as buses going in and out of Metro Manila.
Since the new BPO tower is accredited by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, export-oriented firms such as BPOs that will locate there will enjoy incentives such as income tax holidays, Cortez adds.
The opening of SM Santa Rosa BPO Tower comes at a time when SM Santa Rosa is enjoying brisk business, says Cortez.
The 23rd SM Super Mall, SM Santa Rosa started operations in February 2006. It has attracted 200 tenants to date, and 15 more are expected to open by December this year. These tenants are mostly in retail, wellness and food businesses.