Park Terraces: The New Luxury Address in Makati
In five years, Makati’s urbanscape will undergo a dramatic change that will once again redefine what city living means. Or, better yet, it will once again redefine Makati, the country’s premier commercial, residential and business address. There will be more parks, tree-lined promenades, dining and commercial centers, an enlivened Glorietta, two premier hotels, a businessman’s hotel, and office buildings.
Ayala Land Premier (ALP), Ayala Land Inc.'s (ALI) brand for upscale development, is anchoring the residential district of Ayala Center with the development of Park Terraces, a three-tower project - a pair of twin towers and point tower - that's bound to be the new luxury address in Makati. And by luxury, we mean luxury in the true, modern sense of the word - elegant, innovative, sustainable, spacious, and technologically forward thinking.
"Ayala Land is reinvesting P20 billion to redevelop Ayala Center over the next two years," says Melissa Gil, ALP Head of Residential Buildings. "Part of the redevelopment is improving the pedestrian experience in Ayala Center with the widening of avenues that will be flanked by trees, putting in more parks, outdoor cafes and leisure options. Glorietta will be re-enlivened as well, bringing forth another world-class shopping destination. Ayala Land Premier's Park Terraces will be at the heart of all this."
The first of the twin towers was launched in January and is scheduled to be finished in 2015. In February, a month after its launch, ALP sold P4.8 billion worth of units or 93 percent of the 49-story, 370-unit condominium building.
There has never been a faster-selling condominium project in Ayala Land's portfolio - or in the country. What makes this more remarkable is that there was a softening of the market when the project was launched but, still, homebuyers snapped up the units whose prices range from P9 million to P80 million.
"When people started buying Park Terraces' first tower, we felt it was a vote of confidence not just in ALP, but in the Philippines, because people were investing in the country. Apart from that, they also recognized that you don't invest in just any product, but in ALP and Park Terraces."
After such an overwhelming response to its first tower, ALP pushed forward its calendar. The point tower, which will be turned over in 2016, was launched last month, and in one day, 30 percent of the building was sold generating P1.8 billion.
The numbers certainly reflect the confidence people have in investing in ALP projects - especially since most buyers are local - but for one observing the industry from a distance, one is bound to ask: Why such confidence?
"People are buying because of four things: First, Ayala Land Premier's track record," Melissa explains. "Then, it's the location, the brand and the product. There's the promise of redevelopment, movement and dynamism, that's why people want to take a bet with us."
Melissa adds, "What's of value to Park Terraces is that you know it has legs because the redevelopment has just begun. Imagine, you're there at the cusp of a huge redevelopment and you're being given the chance to be a part of it as opposed to coming in when the redevelopment is done."
"There will be a lot more integration of the indoors and outdoors, and more mixed uses of the buildings just like in cities such as Hong Kong where you have offices, residential towers, malls and underground parking all interconnected," says Melissa. "We're also looking at the pedestrian experience and trying to integrate more parks into the area so there's a greater sense of an outdoor experience. We're taking a look at the redevelopment as a whole. Let's face it, what is life in the city? It's not about staying inside the mall or your office building, but interacting with people outside, it's walking around your neighborhood and enjoying yourself. You cannot forget about the people during the master plan, it's not just about buildings."
"Imagine what this redevelopment will do not only to the profile of Makati, but to the whole country," says Melissa.
Ayala Center is about 35 hectares, stretching from EDSA to Ayala Ave., Paseo de Roxas Ave. and Arnaiz Ave. Melissa explains, "There's a misperception that Ayala Center is just Glorietta, but it's actually Glorietta, Greenbelt, and the whole residential district that starts with The Residences at Greenbelt, Park Terraces, and encompassing the hotel row."
Five words best describe Park Terraces: Brighter (because of the redevelopment of the whole area), livelier (because of the amenities), closer (because everything is in Makati), finer (because of the top-grade finishes) and greener (because of the sustainable practices).
Melissa says the master plan for Park Terraces and Ayala Center as a whole was created years ago with various consultants from all over the world, and the architecture was spearheaded by Aidea Philippines. "We master plan years in advance. It was the same with Nuvali. We don't react, it's really about how we foresee life evolving and how we respond to that."
So, what makes the three towers of Park Terraces so special? "Ayala Land is all about making sensible choices in sustainable living practices. We incorporate these in all our developments. Here, we talk about sensible living in a different light. We're very specific about the choices in design. We chose fixtures that allow you to manage water consumption. For energy efficiency, we've included master-switch keycards just like in hotels. When you leave the unit, you take out the key card so the only appliance left running is the fridge. We designed units to have sliding doors to allow for maximum natural ventilation; not only will this have an impact on energy costs but on general well-being. In select common areas, we have sensors so that the lights turn on only when you're walking, just like in the museums of New York. We also have natural breezeways in the corridors, so that you take advantage of the wind versus air-conditioning of the building."
Melissa points out that sustainable living is also about location. The proximity of Park Terraces to business and commercial establishments will encourage people to walk rather than to use their cars.
There are also the views to enjoy. From the spacious balconies, you can enjoy views of the Makati cityscape to the north, Laguna Bay to the east, Manila and Makati to the west and south.
Then there is the space planning. The first tower's units range from studio to one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, and penthouses. In the point tower, units start from one-bedroom of approximately 65 sq.m. (P9 million) to deluxe penthouses (P80 million).
The architecture of the buildings allows open interior planning since there are not many posts in the way so homeowners can design it to feel spacious. "It's really all about how you plan the space. We wanted the rooms to feel light, breezy and bright, so we put in sliding doors to allow air and light to come in. When you live in a condo, the issue is always the feeling of being cramped. Our structural design allows us to not have beams on the perimeter so our windows are higher and wider."
In the two- and three-bedroom floors, each unit is a corner unit to allow multiple exposures and views. In the three-bedroom floor, there are only four units to a floor. The bi-level penthouses are almost 600 square meters, including terraces; it's practically like living in a single detached home.
"ALP is about deeply understanding our market," says Melissa. "People are looking for understated elegance, not fads. It's also about understanding how people live in their spaces. It's not about throwing in everything, but what matters to people. Like the bathroom, even in a unit that's approximately 65 square meters, we designed the bathroom to be big because people spend time and take pleasure in their bathrooms. The one-bedroom units don't have a maid's room because more and more people prefer not to have a maid. And even with just one bathroom in the one-bedroom unit, we planned for dual access so guests don't have to go through the bedroom for access. In the three-bedroom units, we put in a service entrance for those occasions when you're throwing a party and the caterers can discreetly enter through the service entry versus the foyer. Our plans reflect that we understand the lifestyle of our clients."
Park Terraces truly embraces both the outdoors and the indoors - for when you want to enjoy the company of people in a casual or sophisticated setting, for when you want to keep to your fitness routine in the outdoors, and also when you want to cocoon yourself in your own nest.
In the end, that's what luxury is all about - having these choices.
By: Tanya T. Lara
The Philippine Star