Templeton invests $12.5M in PH dorm builder

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The Emerging Markets Group of global firm Templeton Asset Management Ltd. has invested $12.5 million in local dormitory builder Philippines Urban Living Solutions (PULS) Inc., the companies disclosed on Friday.

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PULS, which was established in 2012 and also has received investment funding from Franklin Templeton Investments and BPI Capital Corp., specializes in the development of 10 to 20 square-meter affordable dormitory units under its MYTown rental brand.

The firm develops for-lease dormitories near Metro Manila central business districts to cater to the underserved young professional market.

According to PULS Chief Executive Officer Mark Kooijman, the firm’s projects target the growing Philippine workforce who travels to the central business districts on a daily basis.

“Our biggest service area is Bonifacio Global City, which is projected to have 360,000 office workers by 2018—most of whom would have to travel in and out of the district as they cannot afford to live there,” Kooijman said “Our concept attempts to bring back three to four hours of lost time and productivity during a worker’s daily commute, while decongesting roads and public transport.”

On Friday, the MyTown brand opened its biggest project to date, the MyTown New York, located five minutes away from Bonifacio Global City in Guadalupe Nuevo in Makati City.

The latest project offers a total of 700 beds ready for occupancy by June 2016. Monthly rental rates start at P4,800 for one bed.

The firm noted that MyTown units are fully furnished with a bath, kitchenette, a desk, and smart bunk beds with ergonomic gadget provisions.

MyTown buildings also have a wide range of amenities. Some of the special features of MyTown NewYork include a movie theater, game rooms, resto bars, KTV rooms, function and study rooms, and a roof deck.

Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group said the firm has invested a $12.5 million in PULS as it sees the great opportunity brought mainly by the country’s growing business process outsourcing market.

He noted that the model being used by PULS is something that “makes sense” as it also provides a solution to the needs of workers who travel everyday to the country’s central business districts, and who are most heavily impacted by the country’s infrastructure problems.

Kooijman said that at present, PULS operates five projects – MyTown Paris, MyTown Manila, MyTown Dublin, and MyTown London – with an inventory of more than 1,000 beds.

He added that the firm is currently building an additional five projects with a total of 1,400 new beds. The firm aims to reach a total of 6,000 beds by 2018, Koojiman said.

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