Primaries provides access to ‘affordable premium’

When Rockwell Center was envisioned nearly two decades ago, it was anchored on providing quality living for the high-end market. Rockwell president and CEO Nestor Padilla recalled how establishing the “self-contained community” back then was a risk no one else dared touch.

No one believed them at first, he said. The move to provide not just a home but a neighborhood where daily needs are within one’s reach came at a time when Metro Manila was starting to grow—and development issues such as traffic and difficulty of access to services became its consequences.


For Padilla, the desire to make services accessible is a standard for responsible developers, which Rockwell Land has placed in its identity. Its working term: premium.

But with the evolving market and changing needs and lifestyle of the public, Malou Pineda, Rockwell’s senior vice president for new business, explained how the term “premium” finds a new meaning as Rockwell tries to expand to the broader market.


“We can’t say that we’re experts in real estate because we really started as being experts in a niche, and I think that’s where we found ourselves,” she told the Inquirer.

The challenge in expanding to the broader segment, she said, is also trying to find their niche in the different tiers, just as they did in the high-end market.

The idea, which may be a step away from the comfort zone for Rockwell, gave birth to Rockwell Primaries—the newest, wholly owned subsidiary of Rockwell Land.

“Primaries is trying to go to a broader segment when there’s more population compared to just the high-end, but carrying the DNA or genes of Rockwell which is the premium brand,” Pineda said.

‘Affordable premium’

Rockwell Primaries describes its vision as providing access to “affordable premium.”

Pineda, who is also the former general manager of Power Plant Mall, related this concept to fashion. Fashion captures “affordability” and “premium” when mass-produced brands catering to the wider population make pieces from high-end designers more accessible through collaborations, or when brands offer quality clothing for prices cheaper than their competitors.


In the same breadth, Pineda said Primaries’ first project, 53 Benitez, aims to be more accessible to families but with the same privacy, safety and convenience Rockwell has offered through the years. With innovations such as passive cooling technology and private bridgeways, it aims to integrate quality in its future-oriented homes.

Veering from the residential market’s luxury segment concentrated in Metro Manila’s Central Business Districts (CBDs), the two-tower, midrise development is located in New Manila, Quezon City, and set for turnover in July 2015. This medium-density project is part of Rockwell Primaries’ strategy to transform untapped sites in the Metro into prime developments.

Because of the attractiveness of an “urban community” to young couples and single persons, there is a noticeable shift in attitude toward medium-density, inner-city living and more sustainable residential developments for different segments of the population, not just for the upper market.

New venture, same quality

Rockwell Primaries’ venture for the broader segment is met with challenges when it comes to price, especially when it turned out to be more expensive than the direct competition in the area, Pineda noted. But the general outcome turned out to be interesting.

“If you’re going to look at details like sales performance, my sales organization is like one-fourth of what’s out there, but we sell the same number of units a month. They (competitors) are priced 50 percent or 30 percent lower but we’re able to compete,” Pineda said.

How is it possible? Rockwell knows its edge: By establishing its own name as provider of quality living, the brand has earned the public’s trust.

“We’re able to see that there’s some pricing power that we established,” Pineda said. “We discovered that there are people in that segment willing to pay a little because they’re looking for that premium, because that’s hard-earned money,” she added.

Pineda explained that Rockwell Primaries operates on a vision that quality shall not be limited to a specific segment. “It does not follow that because your demographic or your household income is just this much, you don’t deserve quality.”

Focus on experience

If there’s one thing Rockwell Land has regarded with the highest value over branding, it is how their clients experience their projects.

“A product is a product—but it’s really the experience of the product that we like to focus on,” Pineda said. Since a structure’s layout can limit one’s perspective on their products, the experience of what they have to offer is the defining factor to Rockwell Land’s expertise in the industry—a testament that also reflects the company’s vision, she said.

“Everybody should be able to experience a quality life, quality living… I guess that’s where we’re coming from,” Pineda said.

As Padilla expressed, their words can never do justice to their developments. The lessons they acquired from nearly 20 years in the industry, Pineda noted, will guide them as Rockwell Land expands to more areas and segments in the market.

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TAGS: Primaries, property, Real Estate, Rockwell Center, Rockwell primaries
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