ITALPINAS DIVERSIFIES PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO

Boutique property developer Italpinas Development Corp. (IDC) is bracing for a bigger role in the Philippine property scene by diversifying into “micro-township” estates development, subdivision or horizontal housing and building commercial property assets.

As part of its expansion program, IDC—which distinguishes itself from peers by integrating renewable energy into its design philosophy—has unveiled Miramonti, a mixed-use project in Sto. Tomas, Batangas and the first high-rise development in the area.

The project will have three 21-story buildings to be constructed in two phases, offering a mix of residential, commercial and office space. The first phase offers 374 units with sales value of P1.3 billion, company officials said in a briefing last week.

“The site itself is very exciting and unique because it’s emerging as a hub for the Southern Tagalog region. Another interesting thing is we believe the definition of Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog is going to get more and more vague as the Metropolitan area grows and as Metro Manila outgrows itself. Based on living memory, Alabang was a frontier then and it kept on moving south,” IDC president Jose Leviste III said.

“Apart from that organic growth, infrastructure is really key for Sto. Tomas emerging as a center. The existing expressway is already there. The exit joins our property. We hope to be the landmark at this crossroad of existing expressway and the extension to Quezon,” Leviste said.

IDC chair and chief executive officer Romulo Nati, an Italian architect, said that for this project, IDC would still target the middle income market. This means offering residential units at between P2 million and P5 million.

Nati said IDC had studied the property market of Sto. Tomas as early as 2013 and found out that with so many industrial parks, occupancy rate of hotels was very high at 90-95 percent. At the same time, he said there were many expatriates working in the area as many of the industrial locators were foreign-owned. Some live in Alabang and travel every day to and from work as there are no serviced apartments in the area, he said.

The entire project will offer a total of 1,100 units and have a gross floor area of 55,000 square meters.

Moving forward, Nati said IDC would also explore horizontal or subdivision developments. “We’ll keep on doing vertical but we want to explore horizontal,” he said.

“We will expand the company, not anymore developing one single building but building micro township or mini-township,” Nati said.

IDC is now in advance negotiations with property owners to buy large tracts of land to develop such “micro-townships.” “The strategy is to go bigger,” Nati said, adding that in the Visayas, IDC was targeting to enter Dumaguete while in Luzon, it would like to build in Subic and Lipa. By / Business Inquirer.