It’s back to basics with Italpinas
Jennylei D. Caberte (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Urban city life offers one a plethora of economic and many other opportunities but none of the finer quality of a meaningful life. This is something that makes many Filipinos in metropolitan centers consider  the option of going back to their roots in the provinces.

Regrettably, in Manila-centric Philippines, living in secondary cities may prove to be difficult due to the inadequacy of urban amenities that are at par with those available in Metro Manila.

One of these amenities, quality housing, is what Italpinas Development Corp. (IDC), a sustainable real estate firm, aims to provide their clients desiring life in secondary cities.

Significantly, this option is not only a means to address the growing demand for quality living spaces in secondary cities but also a way to help decongest Metro Manila.

Giving people the option to relocate from the concrete jungles of Metro Manila without making them feel detached from modern contemporary urban life is the culturally sensitive objective of Italpinas.

“One way to decongest Metro Manila is to develop the provinces. People live in a crowded city because developers usually build properties in the Metro, but if you put your buildings in the provinces, people will also invest and live there,” Romolo Valentino Nati, IDC executive chairman and COO, emphasized.

“Supporting the growth of viable and attractive cities throughout the Philippines would not only reverse urban migration, but also spread commerce and resources more broadly to millions of Filipinos across our archipelago,” Jose “Jojo” Leviste III, president of IDC and renewable energy company Constellation Energy Philippines (CEC), stressed.

Italpinas’ inspiration on this ‘missionary’ corporate objective is the modernized concept of the Filipino traditional ‘bahay kubo’ or nipa hut.

Reintroducing urban dwellers or even those working abroad back to the provinces where their roots are would certainly not be difficult if they are provided convenience amenities that are familiar.

Nati, an Italian architect, pointed out, however, that it doesn’t need to come at a price that compromises the environment or traditions and culture. The key to sustainable living, he noted, is achieving the triple bottomline — economic, social, and environmental considerations.

Toward this viable societal goal, Nati said Italpinas finds the traditional Filipino bahay kubo an inspiring template for a “perfect sustainable city life.”

The bahay kubo prides itself of locally-sourced materials such as nipa and bamboo. This allows owners to enjoy natural light for ventilation and free flow of cool air or breeze for comfort. The bahay kubo, Nati added, can also be made flood-resistant because it is built on wooden stilts and can easily be transported to higher ground, if necessary.

In the same way, Nati said Italpinas’ housing projects have features that natural light illumination and ventilation with all units having options to open windows on both sides that facilitate the free flow of natural fresh air and soft breeze.

Italpinas buildings and housing units, he added, are also fitted with solar panels that allow them to generate electricity and help save at least 20 percent of power costs.  Its residential units can also be made reasonably adaptive to floods by having floors that are elevated from the ground.

“Bahay kubo is a perfect example of sustainable housing development. It is built with materials native to the place; its floor can be elevated from the ground which make it not easily susceptible to flooding. With floors made of properly cured and processed bamboo, air can freely flow vertically and horizontally. It’s perfect. It may not stand strong typhoons but can be rebuilt right away. In Italy, we have a saying: We are not inventing anything; we are just discovering what we forgot,” Nati explained.

Italpinas sees the potential of bahay kubo-inspired residential units in emerging and not highly urbanized Philippine cities and regions, despite discouragements it gets from other real estate players.  One of the reasons why developers focus on Metro Manila is the capacity of clients to pay. Nati and Leviste, however, are not inclined to suit up to such mindset.

“We are interested in emerging Philippine cities. We think there are opportunities out there. We find Metro Manila too overcrowded, aside from the prospect of supply-demand downturn in the metropolis. In the provinces and emerging cities, there is a lack of the kind of real estate we can provide well ahead of the others,” Leviste further explained.

Italpinas projects

Italpinas started construction of its debut project in Cagayan de Oro City in June 2010. The project, the Primavera Residences, consists of two mid-rise towers, the first of which was completed in August 2012. The second tower is due for completion in the third quarter of 2015.

Primavera Residences in Cagayan de Oro is located in Pueblo de Oro Township, a world-class master-planned community in flood-free uptown area of the city, adjacent to SM City CDO, schools, offices, churches, and a golf course.

Primavera Residences is situated inside the Pueblo de Oro Business Park, an export processing zone registered with the Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA).  Italpinas has established itself here as the “first-mover” in introducing condominium living in Cagayan de Oro City.

The project showcases green features which both save and generate energy. Façades are shaded by cantilevered ledges that protect windows from direct contact with the sun’s rays during the hottest times of the day.

The dimensions and placement of these ledges are optimized by the use of parametric design software, taking into account the exact path traveled by the sun through the sky, each day throughout the year, at the building site’s precise latitude on earth.

Apart from Primavera Residences, Italpinas will soon begin constructing Primavera City, a seven-building cluster to be developed in four phases.

Phase 1 will consist of the first and second buildings; the third and fourth buildings will be under phase 2. Phase 3 will cover the fifth and sixth buildings, while phase 4 will be a single high-rise structure. The seven buildings will be situated on as many contiguous lots.

The high-rise structure will be a 13-storey mixed-use building. It will devote one floor each for floor basement parking, ground level parking,  and commercial facilities; two floor for offices, and eight floors for  residential spaces. It will have a roof deck that will feature various amenities including a swimming pool, a gym, a multipurpose function hall, and a roof garden.

Each building of Primavera City has been planned to feature an array of photovoltaic panels that will generate energy for the building’s use.  In addition, the passive green features of the building’s design will reduce significantly the energy required for airconditioning.

Construction of Phase 1 is planned to commence by the fourth quarter of 2016 and is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2018. Its marketing scheme includes sale of every completed phase ahead of the next.

With its sustainable design, Primavera City has been awarded by the Climate technology Initiative Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI- PFAN), as among the top 10 “Most Promising Clean Energy Investment Opportunities” projects in a competition held in Singapore on Feb. 22, 2013.  CTI-PFAN’s funding partners include the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Apart from its Primavera Residences and Primavera City projects, Italpinas has also set its sights on other locations such as Lipa and Santo Tomas in Batangas, Dumaguete City, and Mindoro, among others. The company is also set to go public this year.

Italpinas aims to offer 57.62 million shares to the public at up to P4.20 per share, to raise up to P242 million by listing on the small, medium and emerging (SME) board of the PSE.

IDC will have an investors’ briefing on Nov. 16 at Dusit Thani Mayuree II Ballroom, Makati City to promote the company as part of the IPO process. Leviste will discuss IDC’s vision and mission as well as the business model while Nati will elaborate on the company’s logic, its value proposition and discuss IDC’s milestones and achievements, among others.

Unicapital Inc. managing director for Equity Capital Markets Leonardo Arguelles Jr. will present the IPO offer and timelines as the Issue Manager and Lead Underwriter for IDC’s initial public offering.  Unicapital Inc. is currently the country’s leading and most active full-service investment house. With the approval of both SEC and PSE, IDC expects to be listed on Dec. 7 after meeting all the requirements of the IPO process.

ACIRC CITY IDC ITALPINAS LEVISTE METRO MANILA NATI NBSP PRIMAVERA PRIMAVERA CITY PRIMAVERA RESIDENCES
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