Quantcast
Latest Stories

90-year-old Binondo building to be turned into call center

By

Binondo district in Manila: Rife for redevelopment PHOTO BY RICK ALBERTO

MANILA, Philipines—A 90-year-old building in Binondo, Manila, is set to house call center locators with the prospect of starting the ball rolling for the revival of the historic Escolta commercial district.

The heritage building where the First National City Bank used to be is being restored and will be open for marketing as Juan Luna e-Services Building in a couple of months.

“We have a lot of buildings (in Escolta) that are not occupied. We don’t want to tear them down. The call center industry is growing and we have the talent and space. It’s just a matter of transforming these buildings into usable space,” said property developer Jose Berenguer III, vice president of Gealach Inc.

Under the law, 50-year-old buildings could only be modified or torn down after an evaluation and approval of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Through adaptive reuse, as what is being done in Juan Luna Building, the heritage buildings on Escolta could be refurbished into technology centers while maintaining the architectural aesthetics and the district’s historical identity.

“Escolta used to be a high-end shopping center; we had the best jewelry and clothes stores. For example, the building of Savory Chicken used to be Estrella del Norte, which was a very fine jewelry store,” said Gemma Cruz-Araneta, president of the Heritage Conservation Society, which has been meeting with Escolta building owners for more than a year now.

“Escolta has been central to the history of this city for centuries,” architect Dominic Galicia, former HCS vice president, had said in a dialogue with the city government more than a year ago, when the BPO@Escolta initiative started.

“Memory is an important part of the human experience. I am talking about the confluence of elements that makes an experience of lasting impact,” he said then. “Such a confluence resides in Escolta, between Plaza Moraga and Plaza Sta. Cruz, and hidden—not deeply, but still hidden—by Meralco wires and the indifference of a city.”

Plans for Escolta renewal will also have to address flooding, transport, traffic and security issues.

Arturo Dy, president of the Escolta Commercial Association Inc., said, “We have two bridges, only if we can organize jeepneys to move with one coming in and one coming out. And only if we can make the jeepneys move and not stay in the corner.”

He also cited the need to light up the walkways to the LRT line and keep out the beggars, rugby boys and snatchers.

Dy said that in previous talks, call center companies had expressed the need for a redundant power source and optic fiber, which were available in Escolta with some rewiring and extension. The need for a pool of manpower is also addressed with the numerous universities in the area.

But he rued the prevailing “wait-and-see” attitude that “I will do this if somebody does this.”

For architect Manolo Noche, HCS corporate secretary, things will fall into place once the right investors are drawn in the area.

“To a certain extent, (Berenguer’s) endeavor to bring e-commerce in Escolta will bring a certain amount of interest especially for businesses looking for space that want a certain level of history involved in the location,” Noche said.

“If you’re able to attract that type of client, then everything else will follow. Once you have the company, this will bring in employment opportunities,” he said, adding that call center companies would necessitate 24/7 operating facilities, dormitories for the agents, and a kind of lifestyle that would be attractive to riverside cafes.

“There can be a marriage of preserving and at the same time moving to a new direction. It’s a matter of attracting developers that could be enlightened with palatable solutions to the development here,” Noche said.

Building owner Andrew Arriola said the initiative to revive Escolta would be a way of giving back to the city that has historically nurtured the businesses. “Renewal in Manila is being done step by step, we want to be ahead. Escolta has been very resilient despite the challenges. We have continued despite the setbacks.”

“We believe that in due time, Binondo will be rife for redevelopment,” Berenguer said.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Call centers , Escolta , Manila , Philippines - Metro , urban renewal , urban revival




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
Advertisement

News

  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • 14 killed in car bombing in Homs
  • 57-nation group plays key Ukraine monitoring role
  • French President Hollande’s top aide resigns
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Whoopi Goldberg debuts as marijuana columnist
  • ‘X-men’ director accused of sex assault on teen boy
  • Business

  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • WHO warns vs spread of MERS-Cov, urges vigilance in taking precautions
  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement