NASUGBU, Batangas—At just 40 years of age, Filipino entrepreneur Century Properties managing director Robbie Antonio is cementing his reputation as one of the most innovative real estate developers in the country, with his latest venture, ’Batulao Artscapes’, billed as the world’s first ‘livable art park’ in Nasugbu, Batangas.
The Century Properties group, is the developer of Batulao Artscapes. It partnered with ’Revolution Precrafted’ where Antonio is the CEO, to build a new 346-acre town 50 miles south of Metro Manila. The project, which was launched in last December, is enjoying brisk interest, and expects some P13 billion in presales proceeds as it pushes through with the second phase of its development.
“This project will become an expansive, neo-residential art and leisure community with cutting-edge public and private access amenities for various life pursuits,” Antonio told the Manila Standard last week. “The project will be a first of its kind, an art cum adventure destination, which will offer an exclusive mix of sport and art parks, museums, a man-made lake with floating chapel, a sprawling man-made beach, and designer villas by Revolution Precrafted.”
Antonio revealed his vision to use Batulao Artscapes to bolster culture in the Philippines, and Southeast Asia, at large. “Revolution will be doing four distinct museums done by Pritzker prize firms,” he said. “The first museum is on paintings and sculpture; the second for architecture and design; the third for performance art, and finally, one dedicated to art +technology.”
Century Properties is just as excited over Batulao Artscapes’ fast exit off the starting blocks. “We are excited to offer approximately 1,700 residential units, as part of the next phase of presale for Batulao Artscapes,” said Tim Hallett, president of Century Properties Leisure and Hospitality Inc. (CPLHI). “This inventory represents the biggest bulk of the project. We will start the presale for the second phase in a few weeks,” he confirmed.
Batulao Artscapes is located within an expansive 142-hectare artventure community that boasts designer homes and world class amenities. It has four villages: Cluster, Commune, Collection and Curated. The project is primarily positioned for active retirees and established families looking for design-driven homes outside Metro Manila.
Of the first 306 homes from the various collections that it offered to the market, Century has presold 74 percent with a sales value of Php 1.2 billion within six months of launch.
Visiting the site during a media tour organized by Century Properties, the Manila Standard saw a project deep in construction amid sprawling farm lands.
But Antonio said much of the work here is taking place elsewhere. “Most of the 6,000 homes in the development will be prefabricated—built in factories and then transported to the site,” he explained.
Expected to complete by 2020, the masterplan comprises 12 different styles of home set across four “villages.” Prospective residents can choose from prefabs designed by notable creatives, from artist David Salle to the musician-turned-interior-designer Lenny Kravitz. And while the homes will be constructed in a factory, they were designed with the Philippine climate in mind.
Ed Calma, Kenneth Cobonpue, and Budji Layug and Royal Pineda Budji+Royal Architecture+Design are the local architects and designers who will participate in the Batulao Artscape development.
Revolution Precrafted will be at the forefront of the development, using the latest in precrafted technology and the highest quality controls partnered with celebrity design philosophies for every structure in the project.
Antonio, the company’s founder, explained that the application of the prefab/precrafted concept of building addresses the hassles of traditional real estate development. It enables them to create some of the best designer homes at competitive prices, and is completed in just a few months.
“With our vision of becoming the world’s largest supplier of homes, we will use the latest technology to reimagine how a home is built. We don’t own land, we sell globally, and our homes are built and sold within months instead of years. But more than being a disruptor in the real estate industry, Revolution Precrafted is all about design democratization,” Antonio said.
This rationale may apply at the lower end of the development’s offerings -- the cheapest homes are being sold for P2.5 million. But with the most expensive units expected to go for P26 million, the project also reflects a growing market for luxury prefabs.
Attitudes towards this once utilitarian form of housing are changing, according to Antonio.
“It’s just a much better way of building,” he explained. “Now, people are building not only inexpensive homes, but designer houses. The most important thing is that you can have your house more quickly. You don’t have mold and a lot of the problems that you would have with wood that has been exposed to the elements.
Surrounded by art
In addition to high-end prefabs, Batulao Artscapes is offering extensive public art facilities designed by the likes of Pritzker Prize-winning architects Christian de Portzamparc and Jean Nouvel, the man behind the Copenhagen Concert Hall and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Revolution Precrafted claims that it is offering people a rare chance to live in a home designed by a leading architect.
It also hopes to create a community of likeminded people. “The residents will all share the same DNA of people wanting to live in beautiful homes and beautiful structures,” he pointed out.
A keen art collector who once commissioned Dutch ‘starchitect’ Rem Koolhas to design his Manila mansion, Antonio says that he was inspired by public art spaces like Naoshima, Japan’s “art island.”
“There was no real master plan for the world’s first livable art park,” he confided. “To be surrounded by this (art) and beautiful homes is not present anywhere in the world.
“I’m going to personally curate everything, so that’s an integral part of the business plan,” he said.
In line with the project is the Revolution foundation- buy a home- give a home campaign, Antonio told the Manila Standard that a portion of the sale of a home purchased from Revolution Precrafted will be used to build homes for disaster-stricken areas in the Philippines.
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