The 'overflowing life experience' springs from the family
Architect and designer Monique Albert-Lopez isn't intimidated one bit by the fact that her Tres Palmas residential development in Taguig City is surrounded by other heavyweight projects of the country's major real estate players. In fact, she relishes the company, saying that this would only make her boutique development stand out even more and attract just the right buyers.
And, as it turns out, this strategy has worked well for Livingsprings Communities Realty & Development Corp's latest endeavor into the upscale residential market.
MyProperty: How long has Livingsprings been in operation?
Monique Albert-Lopez: In real operations, since 2011.
MP: How did you and your family start the development of Tres Palmas?
MAL: It all started with an opportunity that presented itself, and then a vision for that opportunity, and of course a lot of grace and drive to see it through. My older brother learned about an upcoming development hotspot along Pedro Cayetano Boulevard which, at that time hardly had any developments. We visited the site, and we saw that there was an opportunity to create a market niche, because most of the developments were for high volumes. We were thinking of offering something more private.
I came up with a plan for the development, and coupled it with a business plan. Our CEO liked the idea, and she put the whole business plan on its proper tracks.
The vision of Tres Palmas is to create an overflowing life experience. That's why, if you notice, this development is close to business districts, schools, so that it's not so far from home. When family members work so far away from home, they spend less time with the family and with themselves.
MP: What do you mean by "overflowing life experience"?
MAL: It depends on what matters most to you. For some people it means family. By positioning the development close to work or schools, then you give families more time to be at home together. It also means creating an atmosphere of relaxation, a "sweet escape". Most of our units face the pool area, and the fountain is very relaxing.
MP: This property is surrounded by SM, DMCI, Filinvest projects. Did you not feel intimidated?
MAL: No, not at all. Actually, it was great, because we were assured of a high foot traffic. When the big developments are around you, you know that there are going to be a lot people coming into the area, and you know that you can attract just 180 families out of the hundreds of thousands that come here. We just had to offer something that the others were not offering, which is the privacy and exclusivity, and upgraded finishes.
MP: How would you classify Tres Palmas?
MAL: Let's just say it's a sensibly priced boutique development. It's only 180 units. The investors are from "AA" markets. There are some OFW buyers, and newly married couples in the "A" income bracket. In terms of professional profiles, we have a lot of doctors, lawyers, managers, celebrities buying units.
MP: Is Tres Palmas complete?
MAL: We broke ground on the third and last tower last June, and the contractor has nearly completed the groundwork and the foundation. We'll start seeing it coming up in 2 or 3 months. We have pre-sold 15% of the total units already. The first tower is 98% sold out, the second tower 80% sold.
MP: Where does Livingsprings see itself in the next 5 years?
MAL: We're looking towards the northern part of the Metro to construct a high-rise residential building with some commercial spaces out front, as well as some high-end townhouse projects.
When we develop, it isn't just a stand-alone residential. It has to be sustainable. So the people that live here can live their lives easier. It's about a complete sustainable experience and living.
MP: Is Livingsprings aiming for LEED certification?
MAL: There's another kind, called the Edge Certification, and it's also about sustainable building. Yes, we plan to be certified for the next high-rise development. We already have the criteria, and we're designing the next project to meet those standards.
Tres Palmas conforms to sustainable developments, as well. We use CFL lightbulbs over incandescents. That already saves a lot of electricity. Our windows conform to the ideal ratio of window size to the room. A window that's too big can cause the room to heat up, and you'll need more airconditioning to cool the area. We also use balconies and overhangs, which add shade and saves on cooling energy. We use lightweight concrete panels, that means our posts, columns, the number of rebars we need to use are smaller. The Edge rates that as more environment friendly because we use less construction materials.
MP: Is there a 10, 20-year vision for Livingsprings?
MAL: Our CEO has a philanthropic desire. What she wants to do is to open up a non-profit organization that my sister will run. We're still deciding if we'll take care of some orphans, undertake feeding programs, and the like.
For Livingsprings, I hope someday that we would be identified with our own distinct brand, and we wouldn't be compared to any other developer.
This article originally appeared in the October-December 2015 issue of MyProperty.ph Magazine.