Real estate companies take steps to adapt to the times

Published July 25, 2020, 3:00 AM

by Johannes Chua

A new way of doing business emerges in the property development sector

Developers, from established ones to newcomers, are now facing a different world. Like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie, they have to adapt to the times and “flip” their previous plans for marketing, sales, and operations. It can’t be business as usual, even if restrictions are finally lifted. 

Whereas before developers try to gather as many people in one room for their events, they now have to make do with “online launches.”  Sales presentations are now also done via Zoom. Their properties, whether these are residential villages or high-rise condos, look similar to a medical facility with all personnel in face masks or hazmat suits. And spaces intended for recreation and community bonding are now filled with signs encouraging physical distancing.

Manila Bulletin Property checked four real estate developers on how they plan to operate and sell their projects in the new normal. 

Boosting online presence 

New San Jose Builders Inc. (NSJBI) stepped up its communication efforts as it recently launched a redesign project for its website (www.nsjbi.com.ph). 

Built around customer feedback, the website promotes seamless digital and contactless home-buying with its streamlined, user-focused design that guides clients to the information and services with ease.

“NSJBI is now ready for contactless buying of properties. With this website update, we are giving our buyers another way of doing business and make things easier for all our clients. An access to our site and a tap on their phones will give buyers the option to reserve their future home wherever they are,” says Leo A. Barrosa, senior vice president.

On the homepage, a video montage features the company’s properties and its condominium projects to give a quick idea of what the brand is all about. Vital security enhancements were also placed to provide protection against fraud, unauthorized access, and identity theft.

Living in a breathable environment  

In the pandemic, people are realizing that home is a sanctuary. It is where you feel most safe and relaxed. 

“Having no choice but to stay home during the community quarantine has made many people recognize the importance of having ample spaces to move around,” says Arlene Jacosalem, assistant vice president for marketing and business development of Amiya Raya. 

Amiya Raya, which means “a view that delights the senses” in Hindu-Sanskrit, is a community east of Quezon City. 

Scenic views are ideal, both for working from home and for relaxation

“The crisis also showed us the importance of having a safe retreat for our family: one with big open spaces to make physical distancing possible, a breathable environment to move around, and scenic views that are ideal, both for working from home and for relaxation,” Jacosalem adds. 

The community is an exclusive, Asian-themed, residential enclave that features a 270-degree view of the city, Laguna de Bay, and the Rizal mountain ranges. Last February, Amiya Raya launched the fourth phase of its development, which has a limited number of residential lots and cuts ranging from 250 to 755 square meters. With less than 50 percent remaining in inventory, this phase offers a more exclusive neighborhood, with lots having some of the highest peaks and best views.

One of the homes surrounded by nature at Amiya Raya

The homes at Amiya Raya allow residents to live with nature, an experience for the soul and the senses. Its home designs are inspired by various Asian architectural concepts—modern, minimalist, and Zen.  It boasts of spit-level structures that enhances the use of ground space and opens interesting visual perspectives around the living area.

Highlighting green practices 

A design-driven real estate development company engaged in green buildings has taken important steps to make it more relevant in the post-pandemic period.

“We are now taking steps to stay abreast of market sentiment, so that we can continue to finetune our product offerings and be relevant to the market than ever before,” says Italian architect Romolo Nati, CEO of Italpinas Development Corp. (IDC).

“Since its inception, IDC has always focused its development on the provinces and leveraged the growth potential of well-chosen sites outside Metro Manila. Considering the recent scenario, and the projected reverse-migration from congested urban areas, IDC’s strategy has become more relevant,” says Nati.

Common area in one of IDC’s developments

Apart from its geographic positioning, the company’s existing products would also increase in relevance in the post-Covid market. IDC is a design-driven real estate developer, and all its products feature sustainable, green design.

“All our buildings are certified green by EDGE (Excellence in Design for a Greater Efficiency),  which is a green rating system. The use of passive green features, such as increased natural ventilation and shaded facades, together with the production of renewable energy and water recycling, make it possible to deliver to end-users greater comfort, and a lighter energy and water footprint consumption,” he explains.

Nati thinks that in the post-Covid scenario, developers should start to think differently and be ready to leave their comfort zones to become more creative and provide livable properties. 

Maximizing air circulation in its buildings 

Long before a new normal lifestyle came about because of the pandemic, health experts had advocated for a change in living conditions to reduce the risk of contracting diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also underscored the importance of natural ventilation in living spaces to reduce lung-related illnesses by up to 20 percent.

For DMCI Homes, its condo units are designed to maximize the benefits of natural air and sunlight. As early as the late 2000s, the developer had started implementing a design technology for high-rise buildings that allows sunlight and cross ventilation inside condominium units.

This design innovation, called Lumiventt Design Technology (from the words lumen meaning light, and ventus meaning wind), takes advantage of natural light and air by having three-story high openings dubbed as Sky Patios as entry points to make this possible.

DMCI Homes projects feature landscaped atriums where wind passes through freely

With this design technology, natural light and air enter the sides of the building and pass through a landscaped atrium built on every floor of the building.

Winds passing through and around the structures, with the help of breezeways and vents in both sides of the building, create areas of positive and negative pressure, thereby supplying fresh air to the units while pushing stale or hot air outside of the structure.

 
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