For a first-time time developer with an old-rich pedigree, it’s still hip to be square among star-struck real estate players.
“We wanted to bring something new, yet something old to the market. Something home buyers will appreciate in contrast to other residential developments,” says John P. Reyes, CEO of SOC Land Development Corp. a subsidiary of publicly-listed South China Resources Inc., which counts the old-rich families Puyat-Reyes, Ortigas, Madrigal and Maramba as stockholders.
Reyes, a fourth-generation Puyat, says that South China Resources decided to finally branch out into real estate in December 2010 because they felt that the market wasn’t being served properly. ‘’We wanted to give customers a very different product and different ancillary services as well.” says Reyes.
Just four months after it was formed, SOC Land broke ground for its first project, Anuva, a Russian word which means new beginning, on one of its land assets along Southern Luzon Expressway’s east service road where the who’s who of the real estate business have converged.
“It’s the most competitive row of housing development around. The biggest names in the industry are there, building projects in a market niche (mid-rise residential towers) we want to cater to. In our view, it was the perfect site to give us our proof of concept” says Reyes who steered the family’s floor tile business, APO, into the industry’s dominant player.
At first glance, Anuva looks just one of the new developers that offer a cluster of mid-rise residential towers with the token swimming pool and a patch of green as come-ons that have become the rage among middle-income Filipinos.
But Anuva’s strengths are its attention to the details.
“We believe in delivering not only style but also, substance in our projects, from the design to the actual construction. Our top concern was to give more to buyers than anyone else at this price point,” says Reyes.
From square rooms to a square attitude, Reyes says SOC Land has set a high standard for itself while keeping distinct from the competition.
“All our units are evenly shaped unlike the narrow, rectangular units favored by most developers. This makes for a more balanced layout, more flexible interior design. It’s the ideal layout for living,” says Reyes. “In our units, the first room you step into are the living and dining areas. The kitchen is at the far end where it should be with its own exhaust window so your neighbors won’t smell your cooking in the corridor. We’ve also incorporated all units with their own laundry area so you don’t have to go to the rooftop to dry your clothes.”
Reyes says Anuva’s greatest selling point is its 80 percent open space. With such a wide-open space, their landscape architect, Paulo G. Alcazaren, and their land development consultant, Brian Mangio, had a huge palette to design great amenities such as a 50-meter lap pool, lagoons, a lazy river, and themed-parks and gardens.
“Giving 80 percent open space is an industry first in this segment,” says Reyes who reckoned that Filipino workers abroad would appreciate SOC Land’s honesty.
Reyes says SOC Land also made up its mind to do things differently in marketing by not going the pre-selling route.
“Other developers wait until they sell 60 percent of the units before breaking ground. We started construction even before a single unit was sold. We felt that this was the only way to demonstrate to the market that SOC Land is committed to this business for the long term.” says Reyes.
Socland will use Anuva as its showcase of what buyers expect from the rookie developer in its coming projects. “Our advantage is that we own the land we will develop, we don’t need to partner with anyone. We have a nice land bank and we showed with Anuva that we can go head to head with the best of them in the industry,” says Reyes.