Boundless city living

CITY SENSE - CITY SENSE By Paulo Alcazaren () - March 17, 2007 - 12:00am
Living in Manila can get you all mixed up and mangled. This is because people have to live in one place — that is, on the average two hours’ commute-time away from where they work — and another hour or so from where they find leisure. This taxes people dearly in terms of time and travel expenses, and tires them out even before the day ends. Thankfully, there is a trend in real-estate development that solves this three-pronged dilemma — mixed-use development.

Mixing residences, offices and leisure amenities in one complex is the modern solution for urbanites with finite time to spend on work, travel and leisure. Infinity is the limit when a development provides deluxe housing units, office space and boundless leisure all in one package.

"Infinity" is, in fact, the name of a new project just recently launched by NuvoLand Philippines, Inc. — itself a novel partnership of two groups from the largest media and marketing giants, GMA-7 and the Philippine STAR, as well as the maverick real estate developer NW Pacific Holdings Inc.

On the board of this trend-setting company are Menardo and Joel Jimenez of GMA-7, Kevin and Isaac Belmonte of the Philippine STAR, along with Rally Martinez, Ramon Bienvenida and VG Martinez of NWP. Media moguls Menardo Jimenez and Kevin Belmonte are chairman and president, respectively.

I always advise people who are looking for good property options to check out the key personalities behind a project before investing. With Nuvoland’s complement of service-oriented, value-driven and real estate-savvy honchos, such investment is based on solid performance. The first two stand by their preeminence in media while NWP’s track record of development in Bonifacio Global City is enviable.

Who wouldn’t be envious if you lived in Bonifacio? Malls, international schools, airports, Makati CBD, the newfangled Bonifacio High Street, golf courses, and country and golf clubs are all nearby. Location is, in fact, key to finding the best place to live. In the case of Infinity, it’s actually live-work-play in a podium-and-tower package that defines the best mixes of use.

Defining the mix and accommodating by design is the job of the architect. Only a handful of Filipino architects have the track record for this type of structure. Meloy Casas of Recio+Casas is one of them. He and his partner spent over a decade in Hong Kong, the capital of mixed-use developments. All this expertise can be seen in the proposed design for the building. Clean lines frame both the podium and the vertical section, making the 48-story structure classically modern without extraneous decorative fluff.

The first and second floors of the podium are devoted to commercial units. Here tenants will find amenities like a cafe, convenience store, salon and other service establishments. Office spaces are available from the 6th to the 10th level. No units are less than a hundred square meters or over 200 square meters in area. This ensures that office locators are established businesses and none so large that it would crowd the amenities. Locators will be carefully screened. This would be ideal for lawyers’ offices, design studios and advertising firms. Balikbayan entrepreneurs will find Infinity’s combination of residence and office very attractive as a base for ventures in the Philippines (the airport is just a few minutes away).

There is a leisure level on the 11th floor. Amenities include a pool, gym, game room, day-care center, business center and children’s playground. The residential floors follow all the way to the top, which boasts four grand tri-level penthouses.

There are, of course, a variety of residential floor plates: 37, 54 and 85 square meters (studio, one and two-bedroom respectively). Buyers have the option (and many already have) to buy adjoining units as the design allows for infinite flexibility.

The boundless possibilities of the project are best seen in the model units at Bonifacio, where Rally Martinez gave me a guided tour. He says, "There are no limits to taste in ‘reasonable luxury’ development."

Reason and rationality are what the interior designers J. Anton Mendoza and Joseph Sy have brought into the model units. The units highlight several options to the three types with emphasis on style, substance and storage space. I was amazed at how much could be fit in — a must for condominium living.

This flexibility and the well-thought-out layouts allow the buyers to create living spaces to reflect their contemporary identities — enhanced by great views, a truly metrosexual location, and the assurance of a well-built structure courtesy of an industry-proven team.

Infinity will be a choice investment to many also because it is a boutique mixed-use condominium. The scale is contained — not too big to make you feel drowned out in a mega-complex and not too small as to feel less prominent in an already prestigious location. The Infinity is an immeasurable contribution to the city’s skyline — a new template for modern lifestyles, a new typology of architecture that proves urban life can change from mixed-up to mixed-use and marvelous.
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Feedback is welcome. Please e-mail the writer at paulo.alcazaren@gmail.com
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