Davao Global Township rises
(First of four parts)
Davao Global Township (DGT) is a long-standing vision I shared with my cousin Frederick “Fred” Huang Yuson,” says Jason Po Huang, corporate secretary of Yuson Huang Excellence Soberano Tan (YHEST) Realty and Development Corp. and fifth-generation member of the storied Villa-Abrille clan.
For more than a century, their families owned the 22-hectare property in Matina, to the south of Davao City. When Jason and Fred (YHEST president) decided to transform the former Matina Golf Club site into a cosmopolitan business district, their cousin Susan Grace Huang-Tan joined them.
The biggest real estate players in the land wanted to partner with them, but the Huangs chose Cebu Landmasters, Inc., a family business led by chief executive Jose Soberano III and chief operations officer Franco Soberano. Architect Rolando Mercado of RMDA Associates (who was helping both clans with estate projects) introduced them, and in 2016, Jason and Fred flew to Cebu to meet the Soberanos.
“We immediately hit it off,” says Jason. “Funnily, the Soberanos are die-hard Blue Eagles while we are die-hard Green Archers. Who says that Green and Blue cannot work together as one?”
True enough, they gave P50 million for the Ateneo de Davao University scholarship fund. And they will also build a school for higher learning for De La Salle University (DLSU) inside DGT.
Other joint projects are MesaTierra Garden Residences and The Paragon Davao, which includes Citadines Paragon Davao, The Paragon Davao Convention Center and The Paragon Davao Lifestyle Mall.
To family businesses that intend to enter into partnerships with others, the Huangs advise: “You must share the same vision, values, goals and objectives. Partners should be of reputable background and have a good track record. Trust and word of honor are important in business.”
The partners incorporated into YHEST Realty and Development Corp. Envisioned as a retail, commercial, residential and cultural township that embraces sustainability (including being flood-proof) in today’s new normal, the P33-billion DGT was deemed “The Best Township in Asia” by PropertyGuru Asia Awards in 2021. In 2022, the first three towers, comprising more than 1,000 condo units at the Aidea-designed East Village sold out in four days.
Verdant with open spaces, the DGT City and Cultural Centers, designed by Casas + Architects Inc. and Eduardo Calma Architecture and Design, respectively, enable residents and visitors to enjoy safe, green and productive living, catapulting Davao into the top tier of Southeast Asian cities.
“We are ready to be [on a par] with the rest of the world,” says Fred. “This is an opportunity for us to give back to the city that has given us so much.”
What I admire most about the Huangs are their close family bonds. For instance, siblings work together but also run personal enterprises that showcase their interests.
Jason, who majored in business management at DLSU-Taft, “loves constructing things even though I am not an engineer.” Thus, he is in charge of real estate: Plaza de Luisa Development, Inc., Davao Filandia Realty, and ITH Property Ventures.
His younger brother, Jasper Po Huang, loves cars, thus he manages his own shops Group 101 for customizing, painting, ceramic coating, and Previa Auto Parts and Motorbikes 101 for retailing spare parts.
Middle sibling Janette Huang-Teves works for her husband’s family business and writes a column for SunStar Davao.
“Both siblings are part of our real estate business,” says Jason, “but are allowed to pursue their interests and passion.”
The Huangs are also esteemed for their positive values. For instance, my past interactions with Janette (through our good friend Julie Tiu) earned her my respect and esteem. As befits a descendant of one of Davao’s most respected pioneers, she remains humble, and takes her responsibility as a writer and as a parent seriously.
Such ethos was transmitted by their great-great grandfather Francisco “Lim Chuan Juna” Villa Abrille more than 100 years ago.
(Next week: The patriarch)
Queena N. Lee-Chua is with the board of directors of Ateneo’s Family Business Center. Get her book “All in the Family Business” at Lazada or Shopee, or the ebook at Amazon, Google Play, Apple iBooks. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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