Thursday, 14 July 2011 00:00 Rochelle C. Pangilinan | AJPress Manila
IT is safe to say that anyone who has worked for at least ten straight years have envisioned one way or the other how he is going to spend his retirement years.
It may include finally settling in a dream home which is far from the hustle and bustle of the city, spending more time with family and friends, traveling to places he’s always dream of going to, establishing a dream business or accomplishing any other task that was elusive during the years spent working: maybe perfecting a long-lost recipe, learning how to paint, finishing the music and lyrics to a love song or learning a foreign language.
For Francisco Licuanan III, however, his retirement plan turned out to include leading a new company to success.
Licuanan was the founding president of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) in the late ‘80s where he was a leader for close to two decades. When he retired from ALI in 2005, it looked like he was on his way to finally enjoy the fruits of many years of hard work. But then as they always say, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. In the middle of 2007, led by Licuanan, a new player in the real estate industry emerged: Geo Estate Development Corp.
As chairman of Geo Estate, it was Licuanan’s vision and design for The Beacon which formed the company’s foundation as a “residential resort.” With Licuanan at the helm, president Miriam Katigbak and a team of experts and EEI, a multinational construction firm, building The Beacon was, well, a walk in the park.
Licuanan emphasizes that what makes The Beacon different from the other vertical developments is that it offers an upper income quality of living which the middle income market can afford.
“From location, to architecture, to design, to appointments, to costs, we’ve managed everything to make sure we satisfy the demands of both prospective investors and would-be residents,” he says.
Working with the architectural and engineering firms which Licuanan also worked with while he was with ALI made working for The Beacon feel like a reunion. And it is this camaraderie that they have shared from previous projects that is also expressed in the harmonious design and architecture of The Beacon.
In just 4 years and with already three high-rise condominium towers in the market, GeoEstate definitely has made its mark in the real estate industry. The Beacon, which stands at the corner of Don Chino Roces Ave. and Arnaiz Ave., also has the advantage of having a prime location which allows accessibility to the Makati Central Business District, major schools, hospitals, and lifestyle districts like the Greenbelt and Glorietta areas.
The Beacon offers amenities that people usually find in first class resorts and five star hotels: a 450 square meter resort-type swimming pool with 50 meter lap lanes, a kiddie pool, a 300-meter jogging trail, spacious gardens which are perfect for those who seek an oasis, a gym, massage rooms, daycare center, clinic, exercise studio, private theatre and even a Sky Lounge where residents can hold parties or intimate get-togethers while at the same time enjoy the magnificent view of the Makati skyline.
The first tower of The Beacon, Roces Tower, offers studio, two-bedroom and loft units while the second tower, Arnaiz, offers studio units which can be combined to form one, two or three-bedroom units depending on the residents’ needs. The first and second towers are almost sold out, while the third tower, Amorsolo Tower is now available for pre-selling. “Our prices are competitive, so even with the competition from other companies, we are doing very well,” he says. He also adds that being in Makati is definitely an advantage as most of their buyers still prefer to own properties in the area. Residents also save a lot of time, energy and gas and toll money as most of them work in the Makati area anyway. “If you work in Makati and you live in the South, how many hours do you spend traveling to your office?” he asks. “You have eight hours working, eight hours to sleep, so you don’t get to have much time of your own.”
Aside from saving time, Licuanan also notes that one can save enough to buy their own unit if they get to save on gas and toll money.
With regard to their foreign buyers, he says he noticed that they are more concerned with property management. At The Beacon, unit owners are provided with services like laundry and house cleaning. Geo Estate is really about making it as convenient and comfortable for the residents as much as possible.
Even with their growing success, Licuanan says that he intends for Geo Estate to stay as a medium-sized company as this will allow them to fully focus their efforts on ongoing projects.
“Being a medium-sized company enables us to produce the products we have with attention to detail that our customers really want and making sure that we give those to them,” he says. “With large companies, there is a tendency to churn out projects like they do in manufacturing factories. I don’t mean that as negative because that’s just the way it is. In a small company, you can focus on your projects.”
Licuanan says that he often stayed away from the press when he was still with ALI, but now with Geo Estate, he is at the forefront of publicity for current and upcoming projects. “Now they sell me,” he says laughing.
Geo Estate has additional projects on the design stage at this time. To maintain balance, Licuanan says they are looking into house and lot packages for their next project and they are determined to stay within Region III, Region IV and Manila areas.
Geo Estate, through Edwin Siongco, Vice President for Marketing and Sales, is all geared up for their upcoming road shows in the US which will include stops in LA, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, New Jersey, Baltimore and Chicago. Road shows allow them to touch base with those who have already bought units from the company. Furthermore, it also allows them to attract potential buyers.
Both Licuanan and Siongco attest that the majority of their offshore clients eventually intend to live in their units. However, as they are still working, they rent their units out first. It is definitely an investment that pays off. And to think, Siongco says, all that a typical Fil-Am family has to do is forego eating out even for just once a week (which usually amounts to $200), and they will already have the monthly amount to pay for their unit.
“They really get a better value for their money if they buy property here,” Licuanan says. “A lot of them still want to maintain a presence here. There may be greater opportunities abroad, but it’s still nicer living here.”
To know more about The Beacon, please visit their website at www.thebeacon.com.ph