France’s royal chateau replicated in the middle of Alabang
As a long-time banker and chair of the 52-year-old investment house State Investment Trust Inc., Allen Roxas would occasionally acquire properties and then immediately dispose them of or develop into industrial parks or condominium buildings.
Yet, there is one located just beside the Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City that he opted not to develop despite acquiring it 33 years ago.
“Perhaps it’s providential that I visited the Palace and Park of Versailles in France five years ago. I was enthralled by the magnificence of the 815-hectare World Heritage site that suddenly, it made me think about the 75-hectare property I kept idle for so long,” recalls Roxas.
Roxas, executive senior adviser of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry and president of Downtown Bankers Association, put to good use his skills and experience as an elder statesman of the banking world in order to realize his dream of a high-end community that would pay tribute to the most spectacular symbol of French monarchial power.
“While there in Versailles, I saw a lot of similarities. The place was not built in just a few days. It took about half a century to transform this modest hunting lodge in the middle of a marshy land southwest of Paris into an epitome of regal grandeur. Interestingly, when I acquired the future Versailles in Alabang in the early 1980s, there was nothing much in the area but tall grasses and thorny shrubs,” says Roxas.
Today, Versailles in Alabang is fast transforming into an exclusive residential haven worthy of its namesake in France. From the Daang Hari road, one could already see the property’s sprawling 3,000-square-meter entrance that features imposing Roman pillars and dancing fountain, reminiscent of the ones in France.
Inside, it boasts of a 1.2-hectare complex bannered by the Versailles Palace clubhouse, a cavernous central gallery that would remind anyone of the Hall of Mirrors. This clubhouse has a multi-level veranda that gives one several vantage points to enjoy the swimming pools with interconnecting waterways and cascading waterfalls, gazebo, cabanas and pocket gardens.
“The complex is so picturesque it was chosen as the venue of the Miss Earth International coronation night in 2012 and in 2013,” shares Roxas.
Even the houses that will be built, similar to the 11 model homes already completed at the site, are meant to match the grandeur the property wants to evoke. “Our luxury high-end homes have a distinctive timeless look many homeowners will love,” he says.
Roxas tapped world-renowned architectural design and planning firm Palafox Associates to design the houses and their interiors. Palafox also did the masterplan for Versailles.
Roxas also partnered with Rolando Mercado Design Associates, which designed a number of the house models, and Jurong Singapore, which served as the project’s design consultant.
Roxas says he always wants to challenge himself. This is already evidenced by his most recent endeavor, a dramatic jump from both his present career and past works.
Before he was able to finish his Commerce course at Far Eastern University in 1970, his father sent him to Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur to manage their family’s corn and rice mill operation for two years. “My father wanted me to hone my work business skills. Even as I finished my studies attending night school at FEU, I still worked during the day. Perhaps, these experiences made me much tougher and allowed me to succeed in whatever business I entered into,” says Roxas.
After graduation, he went on to manage his family’s tire business (the sole distributor of Yokohama tires) before moving on to investment banking, mining (he is presently director of Consolidated Mines Inc.), automotive distributorship of Chinese brand Great Wall, and energy generation (Roxas and a foreign partner built in 2006 a 200-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Misamis Oriental).
“Years ago, I noticed the real estate market was becoming strong again and would be perfect for one to make an investment in luxury homes. The country’s population is expanding by 2 percent annually and with improving family income, more will be looking for homes in prime locations,” he says.
He says Alabang is the perfect place.
“For me, the Alabang area offers one of the most affordable premium properties across different locations. It’s flood-free, the air is fresh and best of all it is just a few minutes drive from all major amenities,” he says.
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