The group of businessman Eusebio Tanco has acquired the 10-storey Mondragon House along Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue in Makati to house the expansion of multimedia arts school iAcademy.
The property was bought by the Tanco group’s privately held pre-need unit Philplans Inc., an investee company of STI Investments, which is 20-percent indirectly owned by STI Educational Systems Holdings. A property market source estimated the deal at around P550 million.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Tanco confirmed Philplans’ acquisition of the property from the Oishi group of Carlos Chan. “It will become an annex campus to iAcademy,” Tanco said.
The main campus of iAcademy along Ayala Avenue has about 1,000 students. “Mondragon can accommodate about 5,000 students,” he said.
The property was affiliated with businessman Jose Antonio Gonzalez whose company Mondragon International Philippines, once a publicly listed resort and gaming property firm, was hit hard by the Asian currency crisis of 1997. It was eventually acquired by the Oishi group, a manufacturing powerhouse in the region, which originally intended to use it as headquarters but the group decided to set up shop elsewhere.
Tanco said iAcademy would start using some of the floor area in the coming school year starting June but occupation would be in phases as there were still some existing tenants. Tanco said the building also has a large auditorium that could accommodate 200 to 300 people.
The property sits on a 1,400-square meter lot right beside the 67-storey upscale residential condominium property Shang Salcedo being developed by Shang Properties Inc. “It’s very nicely located,” he said, adding that the group would only need to spruce up the building to suit the needs of iAcademy.
iAcademy was established in 2002 under the guidance of Tanco, Washington Sycip and a group of experts in the fields of business and education. Its first course offerings included BSBA e-Management, BSCS Software Engineering, BSCS Network Engineering and BSIT Digital Arts—courses designed to develop the technical and creative skills of students. In June 2003, the college teamed up with IBM Philippines for its computer science and information technology program.
New courses have since then been offered like BS Entrepreneurship, BSBA Marketing and Advertising, BSBA Operations Management (2006), BS Fashion Design and Technology, and AB in Multimedia Arts and Design. It was also the first school in the country to offer two cutting-edge courses: BS Animation and BS Game Development and Programming, in 2007 and 2011, respectively.
In 2009, Wacom, a leading manufacturer of digital interface solutions, interactive pen displays and tablets, became iAcademy’s training partner. In 2010, it was appointed as the first IBM Software Center of Excellence in the Asean Region and the first Lotus Academic Institute.
iAcademy is now being run by Tanco’s daughter Vanessa Tanco-Cualopin.