By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City — Jaena Valles goes out of her way in a cold December day, before flying to hometown Cebu for a vacation, to talk to me about her family’s not-so-little baby project, the AppleOne Banawa Heights in Cebu.
Being vice president for International Operations, she has reached out to Filipinos in the east coast to invest in the prime development in the heartland of the Philippines, the province of Cebu. AppleOne was recently awarded the Best Condo Development in 2015, a boost in the highly competitive real estate boom in the south.
The certified public accountant, who possesses a sweet and unassuming demeanor, is doing a great job for the family business, for sales from the international market, particularly New York, has reached 80% in sales.
Appleone Properties Inc. was established in 2008 by Jaena’s siblings in Cebu. Its construction and hotel development started in 1991. She helped set up the accounting and international marketing aspect for the company, aside from having the bragging right for naming it AppleOne.
Jaena has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Cebu’s University of San Carlos and Queens College in New York. She juggles her time for her husband Nelson and three children, Stephanie, Justin, and Jaeson, and running her accounting firm in the city.
1. Congratulations on your recent award as Best Condo Development in 2015. Tell us what is the edge of Apple 1 among other real estate properties in Cebu and Manila.
AppleOne Properties is a breakthrough developer. Ever since its infancy, AppleOne has been very aggressive in terms of the novelty of its project concepts and its unique marketing efforts. Our AppleOne Tower residential units sold in one month of selling and our office units were all sold and leased in one year. We turned over the units to all our buyers and tenants right on time.
After the completion of AppleOne Tower, we decided to venture into residential vertical development but considering the number of big players in the industry, we decided to give the market a unique condominium concept by introducing the first gated residential condominium subdivision where the buildings look like big houses. There are a lot of new features that we introduced with AppleOne Banawa Heights, which include the private cluster concept—that allows for a maximum of only 6 units in a floor, 5 swimming pools within the subdivision, 3 product types that are low density developments, use of the keyless access control in all our front porches, architectural design inspired by San Francisco Bay Area’s Pacific Heights, Victorian-inspired interiors and even amenities like our gazebo which serves as our clubhouse, underground electrical system, 12-10 meter road network, exclusive gate for the Mansionette, three major access roads and other features that add great value for money.
2. What is the design concept for Apple 1 and what makes it unique from the rest of real estate development in Cebu?
It is the first distinctly themed gated residential condominium subdivision in Cebu. The cutting edge concept and design inspiration is San Francisco Bay Area’s Pacific Heights’ Victorian houses, where condo buildings look like big houses. It is composed of three product types in one gated community: The 12-storey Tower, the 4-storey Villa and the 3-storey Mansionette, all of which are low density, low-rise condos. This unique concept is unlike any other condo development in Cebu since it uses the private cluster concept, which allows for a maximum of only six units in a floor, which provides for more privacy and exclusivity. Each private cluster has a separate lobby entrance and elevator, with keyless access control. There are no long hallways and corridors typical of ordinary condominiums. Each floor is a square configuration with a center lobby area.
It is truly a spatial project with the Cebu feeling in it. Hayahay, as we say, a combination of easy and breezy.
Seventy percent of the land is used for open space, to include 12-10 meter road network, a central gazebo, pocket parks and garden. There are a total of 5 swimming pools in the subdivision, one for each product type. The novelty of the concept has greatly contributed to the brisk sales.
3. What were the things you as a company factored in, in choosing Cebu, the levels of market/clients, and the environment?
Banawa is known as the “New Manila of Cebu”, which is a highly prestigious residential area. The more affluent families of Cebu live in Banawa. Properties within the area are considered very prime and are being sold at a very high price. Cost of raw land is anywhere between P10,000 to P15,000 per square meter. The beautiful landscape images and reputation of Banawa have endeared most Cebuanos to the place. Locals consider the location as one of the most preferred prime areas for a residential address.
AppleOne Banawa Heights is located 200 meters away from the main R. Duterte highway so it is very accessible to public transportation. There are two access roads leading to the project. It is located in the heart of Cebu City and conveniently close to schools, banks, supermarkets and public market, restaurants, churches, hospitals and government institutions. With this strategic location, residents of the project are a stone’s throw away from access to their basic needs. The place is not congested with tall buildings. Although the site is in the center of the city, the location has preserved its beauty as a quiet residential sanctuary far away from the noisy streets and the hustle and bustle of city life.
4. What is your target clientele?
We are targeting both end-users and investors who are equally looking for great value for money. For the end-users, these are current renters, first-time buyers or those who are buying the unit for their children. The investors are smart individuals who know how to take advantage of our current pre-selling price at P58,500 per sq. m.— the lowest ever in Cebu.
Knowing the value of property in Banawa, these investors are aware that they can run anywhere between 20-25%% return on investment per annum on their unit purchase. Where can you find an investment which will give you that big return, without necessarily putting in a big chunk of money? Only in AppleOne Banawa Heights! Smart investors know it. They also know that since AppleOne is being positioned as a residential community, the value goes up fast.
To date, the whole project, which is a total of 1,322 units, is 80% sold. Tower 1 was turned over on June 30, 2015. Tower 2 and Villa 1, are currently being constructed for a target completion date of December 2015.
5. How are you going to keep up with the challenges of competition and advancement? Are there any expansion plans?
AppleOne Mactan, Inc., a subsidiary of Appleone Properties Inc., has signed up with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: HOT) for Sheraton Mactan Resort, a new build property comprised of hotel and branded residences on the exotic coral island of Mactan in the Philippines. The signing leverages the Sheraton first mover advantage in the region and meets increasing local demand. The new Sheraton Mactan hotel will open in 2019, followed by the opening of the first ever hotel-serviced residences in 2020.
We are continuing to grow.
Visit AppleOne for more details www.appleonecebu.com or call Ms. Jaena Valles at 1.516.643.4252 in the US