By Maya M. Padillo
Global workplace provider Regus in Davao is eyeing expansion opportunities in Davao City according to its Country Manager Lars Wittig in a press conference yesterday.
“We are also eyeing expansion opportunities here in Davao City because with this overwhelming demand it is my mandate to look for more opportunities to expand here,” Wittig said.
Regus opened its Davao center at the Topaz Tower in Damosa IT Park last year and achieved its targeted 80 to 90 percent occupancy rate in just six months.
Wittig is hopeful his firm can open its second center before the end of the year. He said it would be similar to the center in Damosa, although that would remain the largest in the country.
“Before the end of the year we can make a very exciting announcement,” he said.
Wittig said a location for their second center has been identified.
Regus opened in Damosa through a partnership with Damosa Land Inc (DLI). The latter invested the capital to put up the center while Regus brought in the know- how and expertise, and has been in-charge of operations and sales.
Wittig said he still prefers to work with DLI, although hinted that he’s open to other partners.
“I think we (DLI) have proven to be working very well; we have the same heartfelt commitment to the local community… but of course it also depends on what developments are ideal now. We might be forced this time to look around for alternatives,” he said.
“I cannot wait for two to three years to open the next center. Two or three years from now I might open my fifth center in Davao and I’m not waiting that long for my second,” he added.
DLI vice president Ricardo “Cary” Lagdameo said if there is an opportunity to work together with Regus in Davao City or any parts in Mindanao, they would still be interested.
“But I did mention to Lars that if there’s an opportunity for them to continue to expand even without us how can we say no to growth? It’s an opportunity that could help the city, help bring out more value-added in the city. Who I am to say No, you can’t do it! So as I’ve said to Lars, if we still have the opportunity for partnership, we’ll go ahead,” Lagdameo said.
Wittig is optimistic with Davao based on the demand, which is the number of inquiries they have received. He said when they decided to open this center (Damosa) in February last year, they had zero inquiries. But they had all the positive key indicators like a prosperous local economy.
“From the time we opened, we have gone from zero inquiries to 40 inquiries per month,” he said.
These 40 companies are locals engaged in transportation and logistics, export, and agriculture.
“Yes it is unprecedented, especially when I look at the nature of businesses. When we see high occupancy it is usually due to very big clients moving at a very early stage. Here we see a wide range of customers. Now we have more than 300 people who go to work representing 25 different companies. Sixty percent of those are foreign and 40 percent are Filipino companies.”
Apart from Davao, Regus is also exploring potential sites in the cities of Gen. Santos, Zamboanga, and Cagayan de Oro.