With demand outpacing supply and less than 5% vacancy in its central business district, Metro Manila is set to become one of Asia–Pacific’s top hubs for property investment in the coming years. New government policies and incentives have created a steady inflow of both foreign investors and overseas Filipino workers, contributing greatly to the Philippine’s promising 6 to 7% economic growth over the past 5 years.
A small but strong player in this burgeoning property market, Euro Towers International Inc., stands strong in its mission to deliver the ultimate urban living experience. Blending comfort, accessibility and affordability, the business is backed by a competitive team of developers and marketing experts with experience in the hotel, construction and real estate industries. The group currently manages 3 core residential projects: Vivaldi Residences Cubao, Vivaldi Residences Davao, and the Milan Residenze Fairview in Quezon City.
“Although we’re a small organisation compared with many other industry players, we’re a very brave team. Why brave? Because we don’t work on the fringes – we work in locations that are the envy of our competitors – in the heart of the CBD,” says Euro Towers COO Maricar Encarnacion. Over the past 20 years, Maricar has honed her skills in both consumer banking and property development throughout the Philippines and, since 2014, has directed this skill set towards driving results at Euro Towers. “When I joined the company, I saw it was lacking direction in terms of project monitoring and management, so I’ve worked hard to inject a lot of innovation and automation into the business.”
“Although we’re a small organisation compared with many other industry players, we’re a very brave team.”
While Maricar focuses on optimising Euro Towers’ internal processes, Director of Construction and Development Group, Roy Estanislao, looks after its condominium projects throughout Metro Manila and its Davao City project in Mindanao. A licensed engineer with extensive experience in building construction and property development, Roy has handled several mid-rise and high-rise building projects over the past 25 years. “In the past, only the wealthy or those in the high-income bracket could afford to buy condominium units. But now, there are dozens of developments that cater for middle-income earners, who make up a much larger market than the affluent minority,” he explains.
Backed by sustained economic growth, the Philippines’ residential property market continues to perform strongly. According to Colliers International, the supply of new condominiums to Metro Manila will reach 27,200 units in 2018, up from a record 10,200 last year.
A collaborative culture
As one of the newest players in the industry, Euro Towers has accumulated a diverse workforce of property professionals. While this initially brought a wealth of experience to the growing company, Roy says it also created a clash of opinions, work standards and ideas. “We’ve come a long way since then, and we’ve learned to function as a cohesive and supportive team,” he explains. “We jumped right into the deep end with our first 38-storey project, compared with other players that started small projects before venturing to bigger developments.”
“Culture is everything,” Maricar agrees. “You have to listen to your people because they know where the gaps are and where things can be improved. Even as COO, I still like to talk to people and get their feedback.” Roy believes that construction in the Philippines still has a lot of room for progress compared with highly industrialised countries. “It’s vital that all players – developers, project managers, designers, consultants, contractors and suppliers – share the common goal to work together to improve the industry.”
Euro Towers consistently improves on its standards in safety, quality and functionality to reduce its impact on society and the environment. “You have to shepherd your flock,” says Roy. “A good leader should be at the back of his flock during times of success, and at the front in times of trouble. We’re always looking to improve our workforce through mentoring and by sponsoring postgraduate studies, training and seminars. Happy workers with caring leaders will deliver the best results, and my favourite part of the job is interacting and sharing my knowledge with younger, inexperienced architects and engineers.”
From the ground up
Grounded in a culture of innovation, Euro Towers continues to add to its roster of real estate breakthroughs. By creating the Philippines’ first-ever Virtual Reality Showroom, the company allows its customers to experience what their unit will be like in virtual space, using cutting-edge Oculus Technology. The showroom presents its landmark developments in the Milan Residenze Fairview and Vivaldi Residences Davao. “We make sure that every project is better than the last by keeping our eyes and ears open to new products and technologies, while still maintaining our competitive price,” Roy explains.
“We’re a small organisation and this allows us to be faster in adapting to the innovative changes that are happening in the industry every day. We marry real estate and technology, but it’s certainly not as easy as it sounds,” Maricar adds. “Real estate is multifaceted and we have dozens of touchpoints with other industries, from governments and private consultants, architects and banks, to marketing and sales. It’s so complex that when we’re developing a project, we’re sometimes still in the process of planning it.”
Created as a means of bridging the seller–buyer communication gap, Euro Towers’ EVE is the company’s Google Assistant. Activated by voice or text, EVE provides sellers and buyers with answers to common queries and information regarding unit type, floor layout, pricing, and sample computation with real-time information. “All you have to do is say, ‘Talk to Eve’ and you can ask her any question that you’d usually ask your sales agent,” Maricar notes.
Set to become Davao’s tallest building, the 37-storey Vivaldi Residences Davao is also designed to be the city’s safest. It will feature a record-breaking bored pile foundation depth of 59 metres (the deepest in Mindanao), which is equivalent to the height of a 15-storey building. Euro Towers promises that an investment in one of these units is as stable as the building itself, with more than PHP120 million being spent on the foundation alone.
To streamline the buying process and establish a stronger relationship with clients, Euro Towers has created a dedicated Seller’s Portal to provide real-time information on the status of property documents and payments at each stage of the sale. “We work closely with our clients at every stage of the purchase,” Maricar explains. “We’re feeding the information to them, without them having to ask us, and we’ve given them a platform to provide feedback on our customer service.”
Both executives believe that maintaining the client relationship post-sale is equally, if not more, important than the initial transaction. “You have to believe in your product and if the formula is right – with the right team and resources in place – for all products can be copied but you can’t ‘copy’ the customer experience,” says Maricar.
Looking to the future, Euro Towers expects to see a rise in the number and size of central business districts in the Philippines. “This growth will require the attention and expertise of every property developer for many years to come,” Roy predicts. “Right now, we’re working on the 33-storey Milan Residenze Fairview, and the 37-storey mixed-use Vivaldi Residences Davao, set to be the tallest building in Davao. Also, in the pipeline is a master planned development where Apo View Hotel – the Philippines’ second oldest hotel – is currently located in Davao City.”