Industrial-anchored townships in CALABA to spur recovery in the countryside
The increasing demand for industrial-anchored developments with commercial and residential components in the Cavite, Laguna, and Batangas (CALABA) region is set to drive growth in the countryside, according to a recent study by real estate advisory firm PRIME Philippines.
During a webinar about “Market Updates and Opportunities in CALABA” hosted by PRIME and Aboitiz InfraCapital, PRIME’s Head of Research Francis Mina highlighted the strong investment opportunities they see for integrated developments in these areas and called 2021 the year of decentralization.
The average rental rate in CALABA is at PhP 630 per square meter — a lot more cost-efficient than locating in Metro Manila, and is very much comparable with the rates of other provinces.
He also noted that with the current pipeline of infrastructure projects boosting interconnectivity between Metro Manila and neighboring areas, they are seeing more developers increasing their land banks in key provinces.
This is perfect for IT-BPO companies that are opting to go provincial for satellite offices amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The IT-BPO sector is seen to be the emerging driver for office take up and has set its sights on investing to expand outside the National Capital Region (NCR). Warehouse demand attributed to logistics companies is also strong largely due to the pandemic, and the subsequent convenience and dependency brought about by the e-commerce industry.
“Given these infrastructure projects, we see higher connectivity and higher potential for the surrounding provinces of Metro Manila. I’d say what really sets CALABA apart from the other provinces and other regions is its readiness in terms of industrial and residential activity. And given these movements, we see a lot of potential for commercial developments also moving forward,” Mina said.
Continued strong industrial demand leaning towards CALABA cements the region’s leadership as the top industrial hub in the country. Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) data supports this claim as it noted that out of 413, 129 or half of the country’s ecozones are located in the CALABA region.
PEZA hopes to further bolster the growth of CALABA and the rest of the country with the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law, which provides locators tax incentives such as income tax holiday, special corporate income tax rate or additional deductions from gross income, VAT-exempt and duty free importation, and VAT zero-rating on local purchases. Locators outside NCR shall enjoy extended income tax holidays under CREATE.
PEZA Director General Charito Plaza, who was a special guest speaker at the webinar, emphasized the “overall social progress created by the ecozones, uplifting communities where they are located”.
LIMA Estate — a 794-hectare PEZA-registered ecozone in Lipa-Malvar, Batangas fully-integrated with manufacturing, office, lifestyle, hospitality, residential, and institutional developments — is among these ecozones that continue to spur growth and raise the quality of life in its host communities. LIMA is poised to be the next leading integrated economic center in the region, as there is scarce land supply and limited room for further expansion in Cavite and Laguna.
As the largest privately owned industrial estate in the Philippines, LIMA hosts 130 industrial locators, over 60,000 employees, and 2,500 households. It also has a 138-room 4-star hotel development and 167 shops located in its mall establishments.
It is currently developing its expansion areas, which is expected to generate up to 20,000 new jobs in Batangas and neighboring areas upon completion in 2022.
Last month, LIMA Land, Inc. launched the next phase of its commercial zone’s transformation with the introduction of commercial lots.
LIMA Central Business District is LIMA Estate’s 30-hectare commercial area, and the first master planned CBD in Batangas. It already houses various commercial components such as The Outlets at Lipa, LIMA Exchange, LIMA Park Hotel, and LIMA Transport Hub. The new commercial lot offering is expected to further boost the estate’s overall economic activity and support Batangas’ recovery from the pandemic.
“As LIMA gears up to becoming a full-fledged smart integrated economic center, its 30-hectare business district will further be transformed to house new commercial lots, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies, office buildings, dormitories, schools, hospitals, hotels, and civic centers in addition to existing components,” said Rafael Fernandez de Mesa, First Vice President of Aboitiz Integrated Economic Centers.
“In the next 10 years, LIMA Land plans to develop and expand the estate to more than a thousand hectares. The transformation of our Central Business District, our commercial and industrial zones will open up a new wave of opportunities, spreading progress and bringing in a higher standard of development to provincial locations,” he added.
During the panel discussion, Department of Trade and Industry Assistant Regional Director Marissa Argente expressed a similar view, noting CALABA and LIMA’s potential to become the benchmark for quality developments.
“It is yet to reach its peak. When LIMA broke ground, I was with DTI Batangas and since then I have visited the place often. I really have great expectations. Not just for Batangas and not just for LIMA, but for the whole CALABA area. I think it’s going to continue to grow more, and its geography is certainly a gift,” she said. #