During the Edsa Revolution, the corner lot on Edsa and Shaw Boulevard was a landing field for military helicopters. Today, it has become the flagship domain of Shang Properties.
Rebranded as the Shang Place, it is a melding of hospitality, residential and retail unfolding across an 8.6-hectare estate.
It was initially built with the Shangri-la Plaza Mall, the first mall development of the Kuok Group. It coincided with the opening of the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in 1992. Shang Place also includes the tony condominium St. Francis Shangri-la Place and the new East Wing of the mall.
The developer will outfit the estate with more shops at the carpark called the North Wing and another luxury condominium, One Shangri-la Place on top of the East Wing podium. The total redevelopment, which is set to be completed by 2015, costs P15.2 billion which includes the landscaping, the roads, the Main Mall refurbishment and more parking spaces.
This redevelopment not only underscores the affluence of the market around the Ortigas Center and its catchment. The public will be seeing a revitalized residential and entertainment hub.
The six-level East Wing provides an additional 23,000 square meters of leasable space and over 160 shops. There are different zones for casual dining and new restaurant concepts, upscale fashion and lifestyle stores, high-street brands, trendy brands and sportswear and spa at the top floor. Four levels are connected to the Main Wing with bridges. Too, the carpark along Edsa, the future North Wing, will be set up with restaurants. This is an example of the trend in nontraditional locations.
In all, the Shangri-la Plaza has a total leasable area of 100,000 sq m.
Marline Concio Dualan, division manager for marketing of the Shangri-la Plaza Corporation, says there is a high demand for retail space as seen by the increased interest from foreign investors and also the trend in new retail concepts.
“Our occupancy at the Main Wing, which has 400 stores and some 77,000 sq m of leasable space, has posted 99 percent in the past years. We wanted to bring in new retail concepts such as more luxury brands,” says Dualan.
“It’s the quality of the foot traffic that comes. Visitors come here for a purpose—to meet people, to dine, to shop and to watch a movie. If they come to dine, they end up shopping.”
A come-on at the Main Wing is the newly renovated anchor store, Rustan’s, whose design is at par with the best department stores in America.
Marketing executive Julie Jalandoni Boschi points out that the East Wing was the only mall which the principals of the high-end Italian brand, Paul & Shark gave a thumbs up.
“When you apply for local distribution, you show the malls so they have choices. In the end, they have to approve the location. Sometimes businessmen will wait until the opening of the mall that is right for the brand,” she explains.
By September, East Wing will be fully operational.
In the residential division, sales of the One Shangri-la Place (OSP) have been brisk. Since the launch of the 1,320-unit twin tower in 2011, 82 percent of the units have been sold out with P7 billion in revenues. With some 200 units left, the price has jacked up from P97,00 per sq m in 2011 to P140,000 per sq m, VAT excluded. It cost P12 billion to build this condominium on top of the mall.
Susan Lee Yu, sales director of Shang Properties, observers that buyers are looking for bigger units that range from 130 sq m to 170 sq m. The most expensive are the two-level, 230 sq m penthouse units which cost P38 million.
Unlike other developments which require no down payment or a small down payment with longer paying terms, Shang Properties insists on a 20 percent down payment settled within a month. And, the buyers have no qualms.
Yu says there’s no glut of condominiums in the luxury market. Likewise, there is a demand for condominiums with big cuts, quality finishes and deluxe amenities.
Aside from the polished look of OSP, buyers are impressed with the amenities—25 sq m meter or half an Olympic size pool, a big gym with state-of-the-art facilities, a big play area for children and deluxe function rooms. OSP is targeted for completion at the end of 2014.
The 60-storey St. Francis Shangri-la Place has been the benchmark of the Shang lifestyle. It is the first building in the Philippines to feature a structural damper to control the quivers in high-rise buildings during strong winds and earthquake. This same technology is used to reinforce the Millennium Bridge in London.
St. Francis’ residents have been happy with the gym that is run by Edsa Shangri-la Hotel and the function rooms that overlook the poolside. As proof of its quality, 80 percent of the units are inhabited by the owners instead of having them rented out. This explains the repeat customers for OSP.
“To some, most developments seem to look the same. On closer look, we pride in our workmanship. When a developer turns over the unit, you do a punch list—which areas you don’t like. It is rare that you get items that need to be redone. The buyers can afford a luxurious development. They feel that they got their money’s worth in the construction of our units. Brokers are complaining that they want us to develop more,” says Boschi, director of sales and marketing of Horizon Homes.
On her end, she is promoting Shang Salcedo Place (SSP), a 67-storey condominium, fronting the park in Salcedo Village. Launched last year, 26 percent have been sold with a revenue of P1.3 billion. The prices of the 773 units range from P6 million to P10 million.
Although a studio is not usually found in luxury units, SSP is responding to the market that needs a pied-à-terre not a permanent residence.
Marketing executive Milen Treichler points out that in the past, a luxury condominium was defined by its size-a minimum of 200 sq m. Today, it’s defined by the quality of the surface treatments, the privacy, the location, density and amenities.
“Our corridors are single loaded. There is just one row of units so they are not facing each other. At Shang Salcedo Place, the most would be 14 units to a floor. Our premier floors will have only seven units per level. They say that the ultra luxury is four units in one floor,” says Treichler.
All told, the condominium buyers and retailers in the luxury market reflect the optimistic outlook of the Philippine economy.