Alphaland's The City Club is future perfect

02/17/2011 | By: Mary Ann LL. Reyes, The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – “We will never be all things to all people,” says Roberto V. Ongpin, Alphaland Corp. chairman, “but what we do will be unique, and will definitely be done well.” That is what the members of The City Club, Alphaland’s latest development in the Makati Central Business District, can bank on.

Set to open at the end of 2012, it is unlike anything before seen in the Makati Central Business District, or the rest of the country for that matter.

“It’s got everything The Polo Club has except the horses,” according to Alphaland president Mario Oreta. It is ambitious, but behind it is a company that, while relatively new in the Philippine real estate industry is nonetheless backed with strong financials, and more importantly, great experience.

Alphaland’s net asset value is estimated at P15.87 billion, and its debt to equity ratio stands at 20 percent making it in the scheme of things one of the country’s financially strongest – and more liquid – real estate development firms.

In addition, a 40 percent ownership stake by Ashmore Investment Management Limited (Ashmore), one of the world’s largest investment managers with funds under management of $50 billion, places Alphaland’s financial muscle beyond any doubt, and its capacity to complete its projects, beyond question.

Future, feature-perfect

The unquantifiable advantage lies in Alphaland’s strong management team. It begins with Ongpin, who focuses on creating developments that he likes to call “unique.” In another time and place he, together with Oreta, current EVP/COO Ding Santico, EVP for sales Belinda Herrera and vice-president for planning and design Kenneth Go built the landmark Tagaytay Highlands. Testament to it, and the team’s, success is the number of other developer’s projects that have copied the original.

Unique is an approach they also used on a property on the corner of EDSA and Pasong Tamo. Derelict for 25 years, what now stands in its place is the Alphaland HQ, Southgate Tower. This one hectare, P2.4 billion environment-friendly or green development, now features 20 storeys, the metro’s largest electronic billboards, a mall, direct MRT access, energy efficient air conditioning, and triple redundant broadband access. This of course illustrates how one management team’s definition of the unique is easily another’s description of the spectacular. In reality Alphaland’s projects are focused, fully integrated systems that anticipate present and future client needs. The term “future perfect” may just sum it up. The City Club is a case in point. On paper, The City Club offers amenities catering to the business and leisure requirements of its members. But with Alphaland’s singular style of integrated development, the sum of the parts comprise a much more comprehensive – and one-of-a-kind – whole.

Merely its location speaks of that signature integration: while an independent entity, it resides on the 4th, 5th, 6th and topmost floors of the P5 billion Makati Place, another one of Alphaland’s iconic developments. There, 20,000 square meters of purposefully crafted space meet everything members expect of a club – plus many they probably wouldn’t. To hint at a very long list, three swimming pools, covered badminton and tennis courts, a huge gym, and six studios devoted to yoga, Pilates, dance, and martial arts, and a juice and salad bar are among the many amenities dedicated to the pursuit of fitness and an active, healthy, lifestyle.

Although located in the CBD, The City Club provides a “kid friendly” environment, and amenities that seemingly look out of place in anyone’s definition of a club exist here. There is no element of chance at play, so to speak, and facilities like the Wii room, the internet stations, the KTV rooms, the daycare center, and indoor and outdoor play areas, keep the children entertained, and their parents, less distracted.

Business Style

But that describes just one side of the project. “The quality of our interiors and finishes are at the level of a five star hotel,” says Oreta, about the level of appointments that greets its members. It is again deliberate and the luxury within, planned and designed by architectural firm Wong & Ouyang (who did the Pacific Place in Hong Kong, The Shangri-La in Chengdu, and The Bellagio in Macau), is meant to exceed members’ business needs. For who decreed that a club in the city must be dedicated wholly to sports and fitness?

Elegance merges with purpose in The City Club, embracing such features as the seven specialty restaurants, the Cigar Divan, private wine cellars, the business center, function halls, and business meeting facilities that ensure privacy and seclusion; suggesting perhaps that business and pleasure need not necessarily remain isolated, and a new definition to the term business style.

The initial selling price which is good only until the end of this month (February), is P500,000 per membership share. Two payment forms are possible: a cash payment which would entitle the buyer to a 10 percent discount and thus a net of ?P450,000 or; a deferred payment plan with a price of P510,000 requiring a 10 percent downpayment and 23 payments of P20,000 per month. The first phase of Makati Place, which consists of the club and the mall, will be ready for turnover end of next year.

As with all Alphaland developments, membership selling prices are increased periodically as the club nears completion.

This level of integration, this uniqueness, certainly raises the bar for all comers, Alphaland foremost among them. But it is characteristic of all their developments – from the 424-hectare Balesin Island Resort in Atimonan, Quezon with its own airfield, the 500-hectare Boracay Gateway in Caticlan which will have its own polo field, to the Alphaland Bay City and its world-class marina and yacht club. With this level of integration and sophistication, the less opportunity inclined might just choose to wait and see. By that time, with The City Club, it could be too late, officials said.

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