The landscape of Ayala Avenue is beginning to look different—and better—since the 28-storey NEX Tower was opened last week by a property developer, the Nova Group.
The gleaming skyscraper, built on one of the last two vacant lots along Ayala Avenue in Makati City, has been quietly hosting construction activities over the past two years along the street that hosts the country’s most expensive business addresses.
The Nex Tower sits on what used to be a vacant lot between Rufino Tower and the 6788 building, which houses the Philippine office of Standard Chartered Bank.
Incidentally, the last vacant lot along Ayala is situated just a few meters away, on the other side of 6788, and right next to the unfinished Jaka Tower which was acquired by Ayala Land Inc. ALI’s structure, when completed, marks the first time that properties will be fully occupied on either side of the pricey road, that is still considered the center of Philippine business.
Tenants moving in
One may pooh-pooh the Nex Tower’s seemingly relative low height but take note: this building will be taller than 6788 on its left, but slightly shorter than Rufino Tower on its right.
Already, tenants are moving in, most of the multinational companies, financial institutions and a smattering of local firms. “We are already “about 65% leased out,” Ricardo Cuerva, managing director of Nova Group told the Manila Standard.
“There’s a lot of interest ever since we finished the building. And we’re confident that more will be leased out very soon,” Cuerva said. A typical floor area is 1,400 square meters, and the floor-to-ceiling height is three meters or nearly 10 feet. The rent can go for P1,600 per square meter.
Nova collaborated with the international architectural and engineering firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) on NEX Tower. SOM famously designed Burj Khalifa, currently the world’s tallest building, located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the One World Trade Center in New York City.
“SOM is really well known for office towers,” Cuerva pointed out. “We just thought that if we’re building a premium corporate office building, SOM is certainly one of the best companies to work with.”
NEX Tower has a “crystalline” exterior and a “unique slice” that affords wide views of the cityscape. It features common areas landscaped with greenery, multi-level parking for hundreds of vehicles and a vast lobby with a 16-meter floor-to-ceiling height.
Designed to be energy- and resource-efficient, the tower uses highly efficient air conditioners on the market, low-flow fixtures and double-pane curtain wall with low emissivity. It is pre-certified for a gold-level LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Green and closer to nature
When one enters NEX Tower’s lobby, a massive 11 meter living green wall greets you. The wall provides fresh air, natural elements, and grand scale to a city that has become ostensibly detached from nature.
The building carefully manages natural resources, achieving the highest sustainability criteria by using the highest efficiency air conditioning equipment available on the market, and low emissivity, double pane curtain wall throughout the building. NEX Tower is targeting to save at least 50% in water consumption through rainwater collection and low-flow water fixtures. The building is pre-certified at Gold level LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Beyond LEED certification, the building offers multiple landscaped areas for occupants to commune with nature. In addition to the living green wall, there are three other landscaped outdoor spaces within the tower where building tenants can be around plants, including the top floor roof garden.
A better workplace
The Nova Group is confident that the NEX Tower offers the best workplace in the market to serve its occupants, its businesses, and the community around it.
Nova Group advocates “an attitude of engagement with the city and its citizens,” described Cuerva. Indeed, a soaring quasi-public lobby was created inside the tower to connect Ayala Avenue and de la Rosa Street. Distinguished Filipino artists were commissioned to create site-specific artwork, which seeks to enhance the architectural experience and foster a strong sense of place.
“We believe that good place-making is an important responsibility for a developer. Buildings need to integrate with and enhance the community that they are sited within,” Cuerva explained.