A piece of shangri-la for the affluent FilipinoBy Theresa S. Samaniego
Philippine Daily Inquirer
When the Kuok Group decided to enter the local scene in 1987, it did more than just build world-class hotels, resorts and malls for the affluent Filipino.
The group, through its property development arm Shang Properties and affiliate Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, has also afforded Filipinos a rare glimpse of what the concept of shangri-la truly embodies: bliss, luxury, a slice of paradise.
It has, early on, elevated Filipinos’ notion of luxury and elegance, and has since set the benchmark for the upscale lifestyle, which, to date, continues to be emulated by many developers.
Shang Properties vice president for finance Vince P. Formoso is likewise convinced that the Kuok Group’s entry in the Philippine property sector has more importantly helped in improving and redefining the Metro Manila skylines through their buildings and its beautiful façades.
Help stir healthy competition
“Competition is always healthy and our entry into the high-end, luxury property market has given our discerning buyers more choices when it comes to this segment,” Formoso says.
“We would like to think that our buildings, with their world-class edifices, have enhanced the Metro Manila landscape. We have been told by our buyers that we have set the benchmark for condominium amenities,” he adds.
Recreate luxury, comfort
Although primarily engaged with the construction and operation of the Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, the company today has continued to recreate that luxury and comfort it has been known for, in its newer projects—the residential condominiums.
The Kuok Group, through Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, currently has the Makati Shangri-La, Edsa Shangri-La, Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa, Cebu, and Shangri-La’s Boracay Resort and Spa, while the Shang Properties Inc. has core businesses in office and retail leasing, and residential development.
Initial projects of Shang Properties, Formoso recalls, were in retail, specifically the Shangri-La Plaza Mall which opened in 1991. In office leasing, the group has The Enterprise Center in Makati which was inaugurated in 1999.
First foray in residential sector
The company’s first foray into the residential sector, according to Formoso, was through the Shang Grand Tower in Legazpi Village, which started construction in 2003 and was completed ahead of schedule in 2006.
Following up on the success of this development, Shang Properties then ventured into another residential project, The St. Francis Shangri-La Place in Ortigas Center, whose units were turned over to buyers starting 2009. This particular project is almost 100 percent sold out, Formoso shares.
At present, Shang Properties is simultaneously constructing three property projects in Ortigas Center, Makati City and Taguig City, totaling P35 billion.
Formoso explains that the P12-billion One Shangri-La Place in Ortigas Center, which has a total gross floor area of 191,079 square meters, will feature 1,304 residential units atop the six-level Shangri-La Plaza mall expansion, that will meanwhile house over 150 high-end shops and restaurants.
To further strengthen its foothold in the property industry, Shang Properties recently launched the Shang Salcedo Place in Makati and Shangri-La Hotel at the Fort in a bid to cast a wider net and ensure a broader market reach.
“Shang Salcedo Place is located at the corner of Sen. Gil Puyat (Buendia), HV dela Costa and Tordesillas streets. This 64-story residential project which has a gross floor area of 60,900 sq m will have about 778 residential units and will be built at an estimated cost of P5 billion,” Formoso reveals.
P18-B 60-story hotel
Soon to rise in the bustling Bonifacio Global City, according to Formoso, is the 60-story Shangri-La Hotel at the Fort which is being built to the tune of P18 billion.
“This ultra-deluxe hotel will have 577 guest rooms, 97 hotel residences and only 99 horizon homes residential condominium units for sale, which could be the most exclusive and luxurious condominium units in the market,” he notes.
As the only multinational property developer in the country today, Shang Properties assures its buyers that upcoming projects, similar to existing developments, will continue to cater to the more affluent market.
Shared DNA with affiliates
“All our projects cater to a higher or a more premium category. You might say it is because of our shared DNA with our affiliates, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts which are renowned worldwide, and the Hong Kong-listed Kerry Properties, which is also known in the region for their quality developments,” Formoso explains.
“There is a certain formula that has worked successfully for us and which we are getting to be known for—these are the luxury residential units with richly designed amenities encased in a beautiful edifice,” Formoso further stresses.
For now, Shang Properties is kept busy with what it does best: to continue coming up with upscale developments in strategic and convenient locations, to provide utmost comfort and luxury for the more discerning local market, Formoso concludes.
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