Menarco Development Corp. is spending a little over P2 billion to develop its maiden office project, the first building in the country to register for a WELL certification, the boutique property developer said on Friday.
In a press briefing, Menarco managing director Carmen Jimenez-Ong told reporters the Menarco Tower in Bonifacio Global City is “healthiest building” in the country today.
The 32-story project is in the process of acquiring two environmental certifications from international organizations, the company said.
It is the first building in the country to register with the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) for a WELL certification. Menarco Tower has also been pre-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for a LEED gold certification.
The construction phase began in 2014, and is set to be completed in the first quarter of 2017. Menarco will top off the building next week, Ong.
“Because this is our first building, while we could charge around P1,200 per square meters or even more because of our new features, because we are also a new player in the market, our leasing group has advised that we start at around P1,100 per square meter,” Ong said.
At present, the firm has not yet leased out the office spaces as it is selective in choosing its tenants and wants the building to remain a corporate tower, Ong said.
“The family has approved of the recommendation to keep it as a corporate tower, to be selective, meaning, we really need to select our tenants to make sure that they also have similar values, in the same way that we also selected our contractors,” Ong added.
The greenbuilding features of Menarco Tower would translate to higher development cost, said Darniel Perez, country director of Arcadis, the LEED and WELL consultant for the project.
“The premium for the development cost, I would say five to six percent of the construction cost, which if you convert to the baseline payback period is seven years,” Perez said.
Perez noted the project baseline was higher because it started with the Gold level of the LEED certification.
The Menarco Tower sits on a 1,790 square meter lot along 32nd street in Bonifacio Global City.
Ong noted the firm has another property in the area, which may be developed into a similar project.
“We have a lot on 5th street in BGC that we’d like to create something like this. It’s a bigger lot, so that one really needs to be another landmark tower,” she said.
“I think it’s really early for us to work on that right now, because first we have to do this, being our maiden project. Learn from it then do the second one and recreate something spectacular,” Ong added.
Asked if the firm would also apply for greenbuilding certifications for its next projects, the Ong was positive.
“I think when you go this route, the next should follow too or be better. This is the new standard for Menarco and for the family, and for the industry, hopefully,” she said.
Menarco Development was established in 2014. It’s chairman, Menardo Jimenez Sr., built the GMA Network building from the 1970s until the 2000.