Rockwell SkylineDespite its unassuming moniker, the Garage in Rockwell Center is a hub of activity, but not of the automotive kind.
Prospective sales executives in spiffy business attire wait to be called in for their appointments. Staff in uniform dress shorts and polo shirts flit around preparing the conference rooms and looking after guests. In the inner offices, twentysomethings type away at their computers. Even big boss Miguel L. Lopez, Rockwell Land Corporation senior vice president and director and treasurer, dashes in for several meetings.
The buzz and busyness of the Garage might well be a microcosm of Rockwell Land, the Lopez Group company that rose from the bones of a defunct thermal plant in 1995.
The bell rings for Rockwell at the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2012Almost 18 years ago, Rockwell wowed Manila by building four highrise residential towers at the same time: Hidalgo Place, Rizal Tower, Amorsolo Square and Luna Gardens. Today, the luxury property developer is out to astound again as it reveals its expansion with the “New Generation” Rockwell Center.
Fittingly enough, at the forefront of the New Generation Rockwell is a development called the Proscenium.
For months, Rockwell had teased Manila with a series of billboards bearing the image of Carlos Ott and his trademark white mane. The “starchitect,” an Uruguayan based in Canada, first burst onto the world stage in the early 1980s after winning the competition to design the L’Opéra Bastille at the age of 37.
Pete Pimentel and Ronnie Simbulan of PRSP Architects, Rockwell SVP Miguel L. Lopez, chairman Amb. Manuel M. Lopez, Maritess L. Lopez, Rockwell president Nestor J. Padilla, Aisa Mercado of IPM Construction, First Philippine Holdings Corp. VP Benjamin R. Lopez and Arch. Jun Rodriguez of PRSP at the groundbreaking of 205 SantolanIn early 2012, Ott signed up for his first ever project in the Philippines, a major coup for Rockwell Land president Nestor J. Padilla who hurdled flight delays on the way to their meeting in New York, according to Ott himself.
While it does not bear the names of renowned Filipino artists as does most of its neighbors in Rockwell Center, the Proscenium nevertheless is suffused with artistic and cultural inspiration. Not only does its name derive from a performing arts term—Latin for “in front of the scenery”—but it will also have an actual, 600-seat theater and a performance hall.
The market response to the Proscenium’s first two towers, Kirov and Sakura, was very encouraging, said Rockwell Land senior vice president for Sales and Marketing Valerie Soliven.
“Interest is very high and sales are brisk. We just launched our third tower which will have the smaller cuts…and we’re quite happy with the take-up as well,” she said.
Lincoln, the third tower, offers studio units, and one-bedroom or two-bedroom units.
Employees treat the stock exchange to a flash mob dance at Rockwell’s listingMeanwhile, the company’s other projects are coming along swimmingly, a testament to the “Rockwell magic” at work: an amalgam of “superior attention to gorgeous aesthetics, character and charm of the community, groundbreaking tower features, function and detail, [and] the great and personalized customer service to its residents, tenants and unit owners.”
Construction work on Edades Tower and Garden Villas is now on the 48th floor with the top off slated for this month. Soliven reported that the 50-story residential tower across Amorsolo Square has been sold out since last year.
The Grove, billed as “the elegant address for emerging professionals, newlyweds, starting families,” is another premium development along C5.
“The Grove is now 70% sold,” Soliven said. “If we maintain our sales momentum, we will be almost sold out by the end of the year. We’re now turning over the first two towers and clients are beginning to move in.”
Executives pose by a bulldozer at the groundbreaking of 205 SantolanThe SVP added that the Grove, which broke ground almost five years ago, is shaping up into a “very nice community, with most of the amenities in place and the retail area starting to buzz with activity.” “It’s quite exciting,” she observed.
205 Santolan is also a milestone project, being Rockwell’s first horizontal community as well as its first venture in Quezon City. Launched only in 2012, 205 Santolan’s 105 spacious units spread over two hectares are 90% sold and will be completed in the third quarter of 2013.
“They’re at a life stage wherein they’re starting their homes and climbing the corporate ladder. They could be a young couple with a child or two,” said Malou Pineda, Rockwell senior vice president for New Business, of the new Rockwell brand Primaries’ target market.
Pineda herself also treads novel ground as she takes on the twin challenges of, first, launching the Primaries brand, and second, targeting a completely new market segment.
While she is best known for leading the posh Power Plant Mall team as its longtime vice president and general manager, the mother of two grown daughters jokingly described herself as a “jologs” who “watches all the teleseryes.” She said she sees a “paradigm shift” as her team pushes “a nice Rockwell product that’s within reach.”
“We put ourselves on the map serving the high-end market, so if we’re able to practice the things that we did to excel, why can’t we do it for a broader segment?,” Pineda said.
Padilla, Maritess Lopez, Amb. Menashe Bar-on of Israel and Amb. Lopez at the Rockwell Cup charity dinnerSoliven and Pineda both bank on the support of their kapamilya, especially with the Lopez Group’s headquarters soon to permanently locate at the Lopez Tower.
“We’re quite excited to welcome most of our colleagues in the Lopez Group,” Soliven said of the future Rockwell denizens. “Synergies would be so much easier to achieve if we’re all under one roof.”
For the SVP for New Business, her kapamilya—Rockwell employees in particular—are not only “walking sales ambassadors” for Rockwell developments; more often than not, they also become her first clients. “They would ask, ‘Is it all right if I buy a unit there?,” she laughed.
With its portfolio of prime developments, A-list clientele and a reputation for aesthetics coupled with top-notch design, the company looks set to be a “Rockwell of ages.”
“Our economic fundamentals are very solid and demand remains strong. Of course, we keep a watchful eye on the market at all times to make sure that we don’t miss any indicator of a possible slowdown,” Soliven said. “I think our market has always appreciated that we always deliver what we promise, both in terms of quality products and quality service.”