By Tessa Salazar
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—If you can afford it, you’ll have all the space to live and play with in this 70-hectare sprawl reserved for only 380 families. And no amount of stone-throwing will land anywhere near your neighbor.
Ayala Land Premier is setting a new standard of living that is seen to surpass those of Forbes Park, Ayala Heights, Ayala Alabang and other high-end Ayala subdivisions.
The lot sizes alone give a hint of the quality of life this ultra high-end residential development is poised to provide. Falling within a tight range of 800 to 1,200 square meters and distributed at a ratio of only five units per hectare, these dimensions, according to Ayala, would help ensure that the homogeneity of the community is preserved and that residents are able to maintain control over access to their private lives.
Low-density premium subdivision
Abrio, a low-density premium subdivision of Ayala Land Premier in Santa Rosa, Laguna would cater to 380 families carved out of a total land area of 70 hectares.
Its road network would be as wide as Ayala Avenue, with pedestrian-friendly walkways, tree-lined streets and bike lanes.
A linear park that goes around the entire subdivision would serve as the perimeter. Fifty percent of all of the land would be open spaces. These open spaces would be unsold, but open for residents to use and accessible from the main roads, open lawn areas, walking trails, bike paths and parks.
Bike paths and walkways would be built into the road networks to reduce dependence on motor vehicles, and a dual piping system enables more efficient use of recycled water. Bioswales would direct the flow of rainwater for irrigation and to naturally resupply underground aquifers. (A bioswale is a shallow depression created in the earth to accept and convey stormwater runoff. It uses natural means, including vegetation and soil, to treat water run-off by filtering out contaminants being conveyed in the water.)
Specifications provided by Ayala Land Premier to Inquirer Property showed stringent standards to ensure the low-density profile of Abrio.
For instance, all lots are exclusively for residential use. Each lot would be used for a single residence only. Each residence, in turn, would have to be occupied by only a single family.
The minimum construction cost for each home is estimated at P10 million. And the height of the houses is limited to a maximum 9 meters from the highest original ground level of the lot to the highest point of the building.
“Imagine Ayala Avenue designed to support enough traffic for a central business district. In Abrio our main road is almost as wide as Ayala Avenue for 380 families. So it is so much more than we’ve ever done in any kind of subdivision before,” said Thomas F. Mirasol, assistant vice president of Ayala Land Premier.
He added that from the edge of the road to the start of a resident’s property would be an extra green, tree-lined space of anywhere between 7 and 9 meters (On the main road the distance is 7 meters. On the secondary roads the distance is 9 meters.).
Rex Mendoza, senior vice president of Ayala Land, said: “There’s so much land that we didn’t even sell, that we have left open for children to play in; we even say there’s no perimeter lot in Abrio.”
Abrio’s amenities include the classic park, clubhouse, multipurpose hall, a gym, covered multipurpose court, a natural playground, infrared security fences, Wi-Fi/WiMax and underground utilities.
Abrio would be part of Ayala’s urban hub Nuvali, hyped to be the new gateway of Region 4. The magnitude of Nuvali itself—a planned mixed-use hub that would utilize urban designs and “green” developments—is almost impossible to ignore. It is eight times the size of the Makati Central Business District at 1,600 hectares.
The centerpiece of all this will be the residential companies of Ayala Land—Ayala Land Premier, Community Innovations and Avida.
‘A long driveway’
There would, indeed, be so much space to spare in Abrio. “Imagine your garage starts 5 meters (the minimum setback from the edge of your property line). That means the edge of the road to the door of your garage can be 14 meters. That’s a long driveway and very grand when you come in,” described Mirasol.
He said that this will be the case for lots located on secondary roads: 9-meter buffer zone, plus a minimum setback of 5 meters from the property line of the lot.
He added: “Imagine houses that don’t start until about 14 meters from the curb of the road. When you’re driving down the street with all of the trees that eventually will be built on both sides, you might not even see the house. Actually, that’s the design-privacy.”
Mirasol said a key attraction of Abrio was the sizes of the lot cuts: Up to 1,200 sq m (with most lot cuts at 924 sq m, and the smallest at 800 sq m).
He added that Ayala had to come out with a policy limiting the number of lots that buyers could purchase to three, observing that some interested parties were intending to purchase multiple lots.
Mirasol explained that in December 2007 Ayala Land Premier made a new class of lots called Park Place Lots available for sale. These lots were sold at P15,000 per square meter, inclusive of VAT. This new price, when compared to the average price when Ayala first launched it in late September 2007 represents an increase of 50 percent.
Mendoza revealed that the market reaction to the project was something Ayala had not experienced before. “Not in that kind of magnitude,” he said.
“And I guess it’s perhaps a lot of people are thinking that Nuvali is a new way of life, and the reason a lot of them are getting two or three lots (in Abrio) would be for their children. This is going to be the standard of living for the future. They’d rather have their kids living here than elsewhere,” Mendoza explained.
New Forbes Park?
Mirasol said Abrio’s tag “new Forbes Park” was not official, and only came from the people who looked at it and concluded the place had the makings of a “new Forbes Park.”
“Actually, there are quite a few similarities such as large lots, small number of total lots and it’s at the edge of what will be the central business district. If you look at Forbes Park now in relation to the Makati business district, Abrio is also near the CBD.”
Mendoza countered, however, by saying, “All through the years, there have been a lot of developments so we’ve improved on so many things in Abrio.”