Pivoting to the new normal in the real estate industry discussed in ECCP Real Estate Committee and ULI Philippines joint webinar

The pandemic has prompted the real estate industry to face new challenges, recalibrate their practices, and recognize opportunities presented by the new normal. Retrofitting is just the tip of the iceberg. There lies more to how the real estate industry can prepare for workplace and workforce re-entry.

The European Chamber of Commerce of The Philippines (ECCP) Real Estate Committee launched its first joint webinar with the Urban Land Institute (ULI) Philippines, in partnership with The Philippine STAR’s Property Report PH, last July 9. The event entitled “Reshaping Workplace Re-Entry” convened top real estate developers and corporate occupiers to discuss their insights and share the best practices on how to strategize the re-entry for the workplace.

(From upper left) Figari Solution Inc. CEO and co-founder Chris Butt, Arthaland Corporation SVP and head of Sales Oliver Chan, and D.M. Wenceslao Associates Inc. director for Asset Management Remmel Ortiz. (From middle left) ULI Philippines’ chair and CEO of Esca Inc. Jean de Castro, ECCP advocacy officer LJ Lombos, and ECCP board member Helen Grace Baisa. (From bottom left) ECCP Real Estate Committee co-chair Mikko Barranda and Property Report PH editor Tanya T. Lara.

The webinar was moderated by Tanya Lara, editor of Property Report PH. The panelists were Remmel Ortiz, director for Asset Management at D.M Wenceslao Associates Inc. (DMWAI); Oliver Chan, senior vice president and head of Sales at Arthaland Corporation;and Chris Butt, chief executive officer and co-founder of Figari Solutions Inc.

ECCP board member Helen Grace Baisa opened the webinar and gave a brief overview of the Chamber. Following Baisa’s introduction, Jean De Castro, ULI Philippines’ newly elected chair and CEO of Esca Inc. introduced the Institute and their mission of providing leadership in the responsible use of land as well as in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.

Oliver Chan of Arthaland prepared a presentation that centered on their developments and goals of developing more green buildings in the Philippines. Arthaland is the first signatory in the Philippines and the only real estate developer in Asia to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment of the World Green Building Council. Chan also discussed more on sustainability, digital transformation, and wellness.

From practices of managing teams during the lockdown, adjusting to the return in the office, long-term impacts, and silver linings behind the pandemic, the panel discussion tapped on many relevant questions that were elaborately answered and well-addressed by the panelists.

Concerning the management of work and employees during the quarantine, Ortiz shared how DMWAI prior to the lockdown already had a contingency plan in place and purposely discussed internal alignment on business continuity and safety measures with their employees. They also made sure that communication lines with occupiers were kept open.

With the physical and mental adjustments for people returning to the office, Butt detailed on what they needed to do to recreate the feeling of being in a safe environment in the office, especially when people were just getting used to the New Normal of being at home. Butt notes that it is paramount to ensure people feel comfortable returning to the office.

As for the impact and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chan stated that the pandemic will pave the way for developing offices in the future to be more sustainable with the wellness of the environment and people in mind. Chan also explains that younger generations, such as the millennials, are becoming more concerned about climate change. He also shared the silver lining presented by the pandemic wherein developers and real estate stakeholders are in control of the recovery as they are forced to think and adapt to the new normal. Occupiers can now expect more from the developers.

To know more about the Committee, please contact LJ Lombos, ECCP Advocacy Officer at [email protected].