A GLOBAL retail estate services company said township developments, mainly smaller retail formats such as neighborhood and district malls, continue to dominate and will eventually redefine the retail landscape of Bacolod City.
Colliers International Philippines on Friday reported that the city’s current overall vacancy rate of below two percent is projected to increase once retail outlets located within the townships of Ayala Land Inc. and Megaworld Corp. are completed.
Colliers said the predominantly-millennial workforce coupled with local and foreign tourists continue to drive the city’s retail sector.
“Given this trend, we recommend that retailers tap into the city's thriving food and beverage and fast fashion segments. Mall operators should curate their retail concepts and tenant mixes,” it said.
Colliers added that operators should adopt a more lifestyle-centric tenant mix.
Property firms should also consider constructing retail outlets in neighboring municipalities which are slowly becoming viable areas for mall development.
Joey Roi Bondoc, research manager of Colliers International Philippines, said the company is encouraging developers to look at potential sites in the city for transit-oriented retail.
Bondoc said that among the most viable are locations near the Magsaysay-Araneta corridor where an "economic highway" is being developed and that of Bacolod-Silay Airport also up for further development.
“Key retail projects by national developers are in the pipeline and should complement office and residential projects due to be completed within major townships in Bacolod City,” he added.
Data obtained by Colliers showed that Ayala Mall is a 70,000-square meter development inside the Capitol Central Township along Gatuslao Street.
Projected to be completed in 2018, it is seen to provide more dining, shopping, and entertainment options to people in the city and province as well.
Colliers also cited Megaworld's Northill Town Center along Bacolod-Silay Airport Access Road, also to be opened next year, as a retail development offering around 70,000 square meters of leasable space.
This is on top of the property giant's Upper East Township situated on the eastern side of the city.
Bondoc said the retail projects of Ayala, Megaworld, and Double Dragon Properties reflect the major developers’ confidence in Bacolod’s stature as a rising retail hub in the Visayas region.
"We see the city's retail sector being driven by its burgeoning business process outsourcing sector," he said, adding that the rising wages of call center agents and medical information transcriptionists are driving the purchasing power of the population.
The global real estate services firm reported that the city currently has estimated 25,000 outsourcing workers.
The Bacolod-Negros Federation for Information and Communications Technology (BNEFIT) earlier said it is projecting the figure to rise to about 60,000 by 2022.
"Retail opportunities in the city abound, especially those that cater to BPO workers’ needs such as convenience stores," Bondoc said.
The rising number of tourists and increasing remittances from Filipinos working abroad are also propelling Bacolod's retail sector, he added.
Published in the SunStar Bacolod newspaper on September 23, 2017.
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