Rockwell bullish on niche pocket communities strategy

Business Mirror
Written by Miguel R. Camus / Reporter 
Sunday, 06 December 2009 21:03

ROCKWELL Land Corp., the high-end real-estate developer of the Lopez Group, remains bullish on its strategy of building niche “pocket communities” in Metro Manila, revealing that it wants to acquire additional properties to support growth in the coming years, a top official has said.

Part of this optimism stems from the strong buyer interest for the initial phase of its 5.5-hectare residential project The Grove by Rockwell, where president Tong Padilla said sales revenues are estimated to hit P14 billion over its seven year development plan.

“I think despite the uncertainties during the first half of the year, [sales] turned out okay. The first two towers are now 50-percent sold and we expect them to be fully sold out middle of next year” said Padilla in an interview with the BusinessMirror on Saturday.

He added that construction for succeeding towers will commence after that.

Towers one and two, at 24 floors each, will offer a combined 591 units.

The entire project, estimated to cost between P10 billion and P12 billion, will have a total of six residential towers offering 2,000 units as well as a retail component and a wellness center.

Turnover of units for Towers 1 and 2 is expected by 2012. Units range from studios costing about P3 million to larger three-bedroom units for up to P12 million. The towers also offer loft-type units.

The Grove by Rockwell is the company’s first development outside its flagship Rockwell Center in Makati City, a 15.5-hectare site which is now a “self-contained” mixed-use community.

As such, Padilla said the company is preparing a multibillion-peso budget next year to expand its land bank in line with its core strategy, but he declined to give additional details.

“We really want to concentrate on what we do best which is self-contained inner city developments,” said Padilla.

To pay for Rockwell Land’s future budget requirements, Padilla said the firm remains open to raising funds via an initial public offering (IPO).

The firm had planned on proceeding with this in 2008, but volatile conditions in the equity markets forced the developer, along with several other companies, to defer the move.

Padilla said the company will need to raise about P3 billion should it proceed with an IPO, though he declined to give a specific time frame as this will depend on market conditions.

“The credit market is also very attractive so we can proceed with our plans even without an IPO,” added the company executive.

The company recently launched residential condominium Edades Tower and Garden Villas in Rockwell Center, Makati City, which will stand at over 50 storys. Other residential projects located in the Rockwell Center area are Armorsolo Square, Rizal Tower, Luna Gardens and Hidalgo Place.

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