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Optimism high on green property market

Malaya Business News Online -
Published on Wednesday, 05 December 2012 23:00
Amidst the shopping and commercial district of Greenhills, San Juan, an iconic structure is raising the standards of development in the area. BTTC Centre, a 12-storey office development by Hantex Land Corp., was recently inaugurated and is now open to tenants looking for premium spaces.
BTTC Centre is the first green building in the area to receive a Gold pre-certification for Core & Shell under LEED. It is also the first PEZA IT Center in San Juan.
This milestone in San Juan is reflective of the growing interest in developing sustainable and green buildings in the Philippines. CBRE Philippines shared that the surge in green buildings will support the robust growth of the country’s property market.
Across Asia Pacific, the scale, pace and general trend of recent construction has been geared toward efficient commercial real estate that is in compliance with green building codes.  In addition, landlords are retrofitting and upgrading existing buildings to improve its energy efficiency and environmental performance, among other things. In the Philippines, there are only six LEED certified buildings to date, which includes the Asian Development Bank, Nuvali One Evotech, Shell Shared Services Office, Sun Life Centre in Taguig, and Texas Instruments in both Baguio and Clark. Additionally, 48 projects are currently registered for LEED certification, including the BTTC Centre.
According to Rick Santos, CBRE Philippines chairman and chief executive officer, the benefits of going green are evident not only for landlords, but also for tenants/occupiers. Santos further emphasized that the sustainability agenda will continue to grow in importance in the real estate sector. “As the outsourcing and offshoring sector gains strength in the country, we see more occupiers and developers prioritizing flight to quality, with green buildings becoming more the norm than the exception. Fortune 500 companies, multinational corporations, and even local firms now consider green initiatives as prerequisites in their day-to-day maintenance and operations,” says Santos.
While the development of green buildings are on its pilot stage in the Philippines, proven benefits maybe drawn from a study conducted by the CBRE Global Network. For instance, while development of green spaces may entail additional cost at the onset, this investment in green building is recoverable and is expected in the long run through decreased operating costs, increased ROI through higher tenant/customer retention and renewal, rental premium, and increased building/asset value.
Developers are thus becoming much keener in meeting these demands and are seen to be more willing to incorporate “green” features into their buildings, making them cheaper to occupy. This is made possible by technological advances, making it easier and cheaper to build sustainable buildings. Even if such features are not seen as “standard” for now, the same study believes that they will be a few years from now. Green buildings are therefore increasingly seen as “future-proofed” investments.

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