Jeffrey Ng saw the potential of Cavite and Laguna as far back as 30 years ago but it was not until 2003 when he started the development of his first project in the area, South Forbes Golf City through Cathay Land Inc.
Fifteen years after, Ng is more optimistic “more than ever” of the growth of the provinces.
From 250 hectares in 2003, Cathay Land has doubled the size of its flagship project South Forbes Golf City, one of the first townships in the Cavite-Laguna corridor.
Today, Cathay Land is building three other townships in various stages of development and is eyeing to put up two to three more, on a landbank of more than a thousand hectares in Dasmarinas, Silang, Carmona and Tagaytay.
“We have always focused in Cavite which has become the bedroom of central business districts in Metro Manila. This corridor, one of the fastest growing region, is becoming part of mega Manila,” Ng said.
Massive infrastructure projects such as the Cavite Expressway, Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX), Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway (CTBEX) as well as the Light Rail Transit 1 extension to Cavite only heighten the attractiveness of Cavite and Laguna. A moratorium on the approval of economic zones in Metro Manila will also spur the development of office buildings and even more factories in Cavite and Laguna.
If there is any project Ng is proud of, it is South Forbes Golf City. This 500-hectare township has been meticulously master planned, with boutique communities that boast of world-class design. Its18-hole South Forbes Golf Club has won many awards in the past years.
Ng envisioned South Forbes Golf City as a self-sustaining township with world-class amenities and where one can play, work, study and live within its boundaries.
“We are opening more subdivisions, mid-rise condominiums, commercial areas. Soon, South Forbes City will also have an office building and maybe a regional mall,” Ng said.
Nine months ago, Cathay Land opened a retail property project, Acienda Designer Outlet mall to prime the area for commercial development within its other township, the 100-hectare Acienda City.
At the Cavite Light Industrial Park, Cathay Land is developing a 120-hectare community, Mallorca City.
Both will host residential, commercial, office and hotel developments.
“ Everything is integrated within these townships, each one to complement the other,” Ng said.
Acienda City is anchored on retail while Mallorca City was jumpstarted by the industrial park.
At South Forbes City, the golf course was a magnet for residential buyers as they get access to this facility.
“Each (township) has its own way of priming growth,” Ng said.
With still 1,000 hectares in its landbank, Ng said Cathay Land will be coming up with new concepts that would stir its expansion.
Concepts are nothing new to Cathay Land. Its themed subdivisions in South Forbes City — from Mediterranean to Asian-inspired designs with generous cuts of 150 to 400 square meters (sq.m.) — have always been a selling point.
Ng said when the Mediterranean villas were first launched 15 years ago, the prices have surged five times from P6,000 per sq.m. to P30,000 per sq.m. today.
Ng said Cathay Land’s residences and condominium units appeal across markets, from starting families, to empty-nesters, yuppies and expatriates of nearby multinational companies. The options are varied in price and size but all provide the comfort of living in an integrated community.
South Forbes City now has eight subdivisions and three condo projects, and two more buildings under construction.
Acienda Designer Outlet is another innovation. Touted as the Philippines’ first true international outlet mall, Acienda Designer Outlet does not ,have competition in the sense that other outlet malls or clusters don’t provide the Outlet experience similar to what shoppers will experience in Outlets overseas.
Cathay Land also launched the second phase of its industrial park, also in Silang as demand for industrial lots picked up dramatically last year due to the government’s build-build-build program and locators leaving China due to the ongoing China-US trade war.
“We saw the potential of Cavite 30 years back and we have invested heavily the past 15 years in developing these properties. It took some time to prime the developments but now we are ready for the tremendous growth these offer. In the next five years we will be moving faster on all these townships,” Ng said.
Ng sees its Silang development as the most promising among its projects, as this will access to seven exits of CALAX and CTEBX.
“We don’t have a huge land bank in Metro Manila, so we started buying relatively
inexpensive land south of the metro with the plan to build these to new cities – these now include our pioneering project South Forbes Golf City, Acienda and Mallorca City. All are located in the up and coming town of Silang, Cavite,” Ng said.
Ng considers Cathay Land as not quite among the “big boy” developers, but is definitely not a small player given its range of township projects.
Cathay Land has also been forming strategic alliances. It has an existing tie-up with the Del Rosario family of PHINMA to run and operate Microtel Hotel in South Forbes Golf City and has partnered with Freeport Retail from the UK for Acienda Designer Outlet.
Cathay Land also partnered with the Ayala Group to develop the Westborough Town Centre, a new commercial center which will mainly serve residents and locators of South Forbes Golf City and the homeowners of Ayala Westgrove Heights.
The company also recently with Ayala Land Premier and Alveo Land for a 200-hectare development o new residential projects.