Anchor Land continues to focus on underserved markets in emerging areas
ON the view deck of the 29th floor of the Admiral Baysuites on Roxas Bvld., you are transported to another place, another time. You see the serene, open expanse of the Manila Bay, interrupted only by the occasional ship setting out to sea. Training your eyes to the lower-left corner of your field-of-view, you see the yachts berthed orderly. You can’t help but think of how life must have been like in this part of town back then, before business and busyness moved further inland. But strain your sights farther up and left, and you’ll surely see signs of commercial resurgence along the reclamation area, fast filling with locators and new residents.
You will then understand why Anchor Land Holdings had bet big on the Admiral Baysuites West Tower—and why it has sold out quickly. The young, publicly-listed property firm positioned this project as a suburban dwelling space, near enough to the emergent Bay Area Business District—in the vicinity of Entertainment City and SM Mall of Asia, yet far enough to afford a bit more quiet environment—and as homes for the upscale yet, apparently, underserved Filipino-Chinese and foreign customers segments in the area.
They have been relatively quieter than their peers, but since the early 2000s, Anchor Land has carved a niche for itself in the market by doing just that: focusing on underserved markets in emerging areas, and uplifting the conditions of their clients there.
In the pipeline
And Anchor Land hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down. Already, it has signaled some intent of breaking its own record with Anchor Grandsuites, a 63-story development along Masangkay St., in Binondo, a district in Manila known as the world’s oldest Chinatown. The building, upon completion, will tower over Anchor Skysuites, promising to be the tallest building not only in Binondo, but also in all the world’s Chinatowns. At a nearby Quintin Paredes Rd., Anchor Land is building the 49-story Princeview Parksuites, as well as the Eight Alonzo, along Alonzo St., for those who are starting to build their families.
On Roxas Blvd., originally built by the Americans on a reclaimed area along the Manila Bay, Anchor Land is likewise upping the ante; this time, sideways, with the 43-story Admiral Grandsuites, an architectural nod to the old Admiral Hotel that will offer only 51 units—many of which full floors—to afford a 360-degree view of the priceless Manila Bay sunset. At the Bay City, meanwhile, the company is set to unveil Monarch Parksuites, its largest residential project to date: four towers on a sprawling 18,000-square-meter property right beside the casino complexes of the Entertainment City. Not too far away, on Macapagal Blvd., Anchor Land is also constructing Copeton Baysuites, a three-tower project right beside the City of Dreams Manila across Ayala Complex.
Beginning with Binondo
When the company started operating in the early 2000s, says Anchor Land Director and President Elizabeth Ventura, its luxury segment in Binondo was on the lookout for better conditions in terms of condo living. To meet this need, the company unveiled its maiden development, Lee Tower, a 150-unit project in the heart of Chinatown, offering exclusivity and space—an uncommon proposition then. The market was sold to this promise, and quickly bought the units, setting Anchor Land on a successful building spree in Binondo that would later include the Mandarin Square, on Ongpin St., Wharton Parksuites, on Masangkay St., and Oxford Parksuites, also on Masangkay and on La Torre.
While Anchor Land had been relatively quiet on its development projects, it truly has been riding on the ever-dependable word-of-mouth sort of marketing strategy. Each of its new development that gets launched, therefore, draws back those who had previously purchased units for themselves or for their own homes—this time, however, it would be to transact for investment. Saying the company now pitches its new properties first to existing clients, Ventura reveals these customers have continued buying units. This has now made Anchor Land’s clientele as more of investors rather than as merely looking to occupy some units.
The company’s crowning glory, meanwhile, rests on Anchor Skysuites, which, with its 56 stories, is the tallest building in a Chinatown anywhere on Earth. Accommodating only 346 condominium units, it was conceptualized as a tribute to the diligence and success of Filipino-Chinese business folk, bringing together the top names in the industry to ensure quality in every aspect, including structural engineers Jose “Boy” Sy and Naveed Anwar, of the Asian Institute of Technology, and Europe’s Lemmens for water- and wind-proofing. So it’s a chockful of amenities, and takes into consideration the lifestyles of its residents. Anchor Skysuites has been named “Best Condominium Project in the Philippines” by the Southeast Asia Property Awards.
Marketing to luxury segment can be relatively easier, Ventura explains, because they know what they want. “They can be very critical, but they appreciate value, and they understand the growth in the area,” she says. And it certainly helps that Anchor Land’s owners know the Filipino-Chinese market intimately, and that they themselves are end-users of their properties.
Expansion by the bay
Moving out of Binondo, Anchor Land extended its footprint along the shoreline of Manila Bay: the 33-story Mayfair Tower, in the Manila district of Ermita, and the Solemare Parksuites, farther on in the Bay City area and in between the Mall of Asia and the Entertainment City. Its flagship property outside of Binondo is the already-iconic 53-story luxury residences project, Admiral Baysuites, built around the soon-to-be-reincarnated Admiral Hotel, on Roxas Blvd.—a storied scene of many of the old Manila’s memorable meetings and events. Reimagined as a boutique hotel, the fabled landmark will be the Philippines’ first five-star, white-gloved serviced property under the Sofitel Collection brand of the property operator, Accor. Admiral Baysuites itself will have two wings: the spacious and private West Tower, and the more practically apportioned East Tower—both of which will have access to the facilities and services of the hotel. Admiral Baysuites was honored the Best Luxury Condo Development at the Dot Property Philippines Awards.
Anchor Land has also diversified its offerings, with retail and commercial rentals at One Shopping Center and Two Shopping Center, both in Paranñaque City’s Brgy. Baclaran; and with warehousing facilities and office spaces at One Soler, in Divisoria, a commercial center in Manila’s Tondo district, and One Logistics, also in Brgy. Baclaran.
And the company has been ramping up the diversification of its offerings. Building on its successful One Soler warehousing facility in Binondo, it is introducing Juan Luna Logistics Center, on Juan Luna and Chavez Sts.—an acknowledged center of trade in Divisoria. The diversification is even more pronounced at the Manila Bay area. Consider, for instance, the two-tower, 12-story Anchor Land Corporate Center, at the Aseana Business Park; as well as the nearby Baylife Venue, a Chinese seafood restaurant that promises to be the country’s largest in terms of seating capacity and product offering, and the Admiral Hotel, along Roxas Blvd. The last two are testament to the company’s seriousness in investing in tourism that will soon include hotel and resort developments on the world-famous island-resort of Boracay, in the central Philippine province of Aklan, and in Coron, Palawan.
In the neighboring Pasay City, Anchor Land has committed to cater to the underserved market segments, taking an interesting twist with Cosmo Suites, a specially designed bed-space facility for workers and transients in the Bay Area.
The property developer is also continuously eyeing other emerging areas. It has invested, for instance, in Davao City with the 202 Peaklane, a residential property development strategically located across the Ateneo de Davao University.
In 2008, a very young Anchor Land Holdings was already cited by Forbes Asia as one of its “200 Best Under-A-Billion,” a list of Asia-Pacific companies with revenues under $1 billion. Ten years later, it is acknowledged as a major player in the industry, building a business by addressing painstakingly the needs of underserved market segments in the emerging areas.