It was once just a vast cogon land, that sprawling patch of earth in Makati where the country’s premier financial center now exists. The Ayala family, the name behind the country’s oldest conglomerate, spearheaded the real estate boom in Makati.
First, it was Forbes Park in the ’50s then Ayala Alabang in ‘80s. Before that, Manila’s elite lived in Malate but when the Ayalas developed Makati, they followed.
Thus, Makati became the launchpad for Ayala Land Inc.’s (ALI) growth. It marked the first time that Ayala went into real estate. Makati became very successful and it would inspire Ayala to replicate the success elsewhere such as in Alabang, a generation later.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
ALI was established in 1988 as the real estate arm of Ayala Corporation. At the time, it was focused on building business districts like Makati in various growth areas across the country. After Makati and Alabang, it also began building Cebu’s own business district. The success of its first three business districts, not only in terms of master-planning or infra development, but in building communities became the impetus to future strategies and developments.
It believes that to enhance land, it must also enrich lives and so developments are made to become platforms for diverse enterprises and for connecting people.
After the three business districts, ALI’s next big moves came with the development of Bonifacio Global City and Nuvali in the early 2000s. Over the past 10 years, ALI has expanded what it calls its sustainable mixed-use estates to 25. These are located in various parts of the country. It has also introduced new products to reach new markets, such as Amaia, BellaVita, Seda, and Lio Tourism Estate. Now, ALI has become a mammoth real estate company that has transformed idle lots into prime developments.
Today, the company celebrates its 30th anniversary and is ever more determined to “co-create the future.”
HOW DOES AYALA LAND DO IT?
“We are grateful to have individuals in the organization who share our deep commitment to create a positive, lasting impact on society. They strive to constantly reinvent the way we do things and come up with game-changing products and services that enrich the quality of life of our communities,” said ALI Chairman Fernando Zobel de Ayala.
“We are fortunate to have been able to deliver a wide range of products to our customers over the past 30 years. We fully understand the responsibility that goes with this,” Zobel added.
ALI is guided by what its communities need. In a recent interview, ALI president and CEO Bernard Vincent Dy said the company engages its stakeholders in co-creating developments that will not only be relevant today, but also in the future.
“We always keep our customers in mind. We strive to ensure that we are responsive to their needs and aspirations,” Dy said.
In all, the company builds estates that are sustainable, connected to transport areas, environment-friendly, energy efficient, and provide economic opportunities for people to fulfill their dreams. “We try to make it easy for people to live sustainably through our developments and, as an organization, we challenge ourselves by setting specific targets to ensure that the communities we build thrive and create a positive impact on society,” he said.
Co-creating the future sounds too bold and too big a responsibility but for ALI, it’s doable. “We are in constant collaboration with our customers. We develop communities that address their needs and life goals. How they live inspires how we build,” Dy said.
Another important consideration for ALI in building a community is that it can be redeveloped. Dy said part of future planning is to allow for redevelopment. “It’s hard to foresee what people will need many years from now, but our culture of innovation and progressive mindset give us the confidence to create products that our customers will value over time. This is also why we maintain areas for redevelopment. It allows us to constantly evolve our estates and introduce new products that revitalize the community,” Dy said. At present, the company has 25 estates master-planned with quality, diversity, scale and long-term commitment. Yet the development of these estates continues. “When we talk about co-creating the future, we highlight the importance of engaging our stakeholders to build our communities. We’re not doing this alone. We do things in partnership with landowners, government units, suppliers, customers and employees,” Dy said.
In creating communities, ALI keeps in mind the environment and the need for sustainability.
ALI is committed to contributing to one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which is to establish sustainable cities. Doing business responsibly and using technology to construct its developments in an eco-friendly manner are standard operating practices.
Toward this end, ALI has identified four sustainability focus areas and in doing so ensures that its estates adhere to high standards in sustainability. The four sustainability focus areas are site resilience, pedestrian mobility and transit connectivity, eco-efficiency, and local economic development.
And it’s not all talk for ALI. For 2017, it reported P114.7 billion in economic value distributed to stakeholders and over 200,000 jobs created through its projects. It is the first Philippine property developer to target carbon neutrality. By 2022, it hopes to offset increasing carbon emissions from its commercial developments. It has initially dedicated 450 hectares of land as carbon forests.
THE FUTURE FOR ALI
Moving forward, Dy said ALI would continue to develop and redevelop new products and offerings to remain relevant and that it would constantly strive to provide only the best for its communities. “Our vision is to enhance land and enrich lives for more people. Expanding our presence across the country allowed us to reach out to more Filipinos,” Dy said. “In the years to come, we will stay true to our vision and values as a company through constant reinvention and innovation. Our role as leaders in the company today is to continue to build on the work of leaders before us who endeavored to exceed customers’ expectations and ensured that our communities continue to be relevant over time,” he added.
Indeed, for generations and generations of Filipinos, ALI has provided new places, new homes and new communities. Guided by its vision, there’s no stopping the company from moving to even farther corners of the country to build more estates and hopefully enrich the lives of the people in these communities. Perhaps, there will be another 30 years more and so on and on because that is what ALI strives to do — to partner with Filipinos in their continuing journey to building their homes and finding the perfect community for them.