Sustainability has long evolved from being a catchphrase and something aspirational into a way of thinking and doing things. Ever mindful of our ecological footprint, we have finally become aware of our role as the planet’s stewards and how our activities need to be ascertained for impact.
In the case of Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI), sustainability has long been a driving force for all its developments — even as it continued to sharpen and hone its offerings. In 2016, the full-range property developer identified four focus areas: site resilience, pedestrian mobility and transit connectivity, eco-efficiency, and local economic development — key ingredients to being mindful of both man and nature, their wellbeing separately and with each other.
That’s certainly being realized at a different level and approach through Vermosa — a 700-hectare mixed-use estate in Cavite City that not only integrates all things residential, retail, and business, but also serves up sports and fitness amenities.
In a Property Report PH interview with estate head Jay Teodoro, he describes the development as a master-planned community that thrives in fueling one’s passion for a healthy and active lifestyle. “We wanted to create a complete environment for athletes and health enthusiasts,” says Teodoro. These elements of health and activity will be gleaned in all components of the project “to create a unique and complete ecosystem geared for athletes and health enthusiasts and allow Vermosa to deliver its value proposition.” The property’s name is coined from the Latin words “verde” (green) and “mossa” (movement) to reflect these virtues.
Vermosa planners want people to get out and go around; to work up a sweat, fall in love with the outdoors, and get fit. Of course, because it’s an ALI project, sustainability measures and features underscore the estate’s planning and development.
The estate, which is only a 20 to 50 minute drive from Makati via Skyway, boasts a 50-meter Olympic-size swimming pool with 10 lanes adhering to the standards of FINA (Fédération internationale de natation) or International Swimming Federation, and the only IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations)-compliant 400-meter track oval with nine lanes and a football field at the center, and a complete indoor training facility.
Perhaps most significantly, there’s also a sports science center. Sante Fitness Laboratory operated by Sante International, is meant to serve what ALI perceives is a growing triathlon scene — along with related sports such as running, aquatics, and cycling. “The goal is to use a scientific and technology-based method and approach to help athletes improve their performance and minimize the risk for injuries,” shares Teodoro.
The rationale for such a decidedly strong complement of sports facilities makes sense, maintains Teodoro. “In the past couple of years, there has been a growing awareness for health and fitness,” he shares. “Now, more than ever, people are spending more time and money on physical activities. We want to create an environment that encourages making good health and active living choices.”
In particular, the triathlon, a grueling multisport race composed of three continuous and sequential endurance races (usually biking, swimming, and running) was seen to have been gaining popularity locally. “There are a lot of young athletes who have potential to not just represent the country in international events such as the Southeast Asian games and Asian Games, but to actually win medals in those events,” observes Teodoro. “We noticed that, yes, some of these athletes would train for the cycling portion of the event along Daang Hari. So, we thought that why not give these people a proper training venue. We are really happy to see how it has branched out to triathlon-related sports such as aquatics (swimming and underwater hockey) and track and field, and other sports as well like football.”
Even the location of the estate made it, well, a perfect fit. “We studied the area and observed how Daang Hari is used by cyclists and runners. We wanted to give these athletes a place that was meant for them; a place where they did not have to share the roads with cars and trucks,” continued Teodoro.
To encourage walking and biking in Vermosa, ALI’s master plan ensures that each residential subdivision within the project will have access to the commercial business district or a neighborhood commercial center within a convenient 10-minute window. Dedicated pedestrian and bike lanes, as well as a 14-kilometer greenway, connects parks and open spaces throughout — also discouraging the use of vehicles at least while within the confines of the estate.
This will allow free flow of traffic from residential communities to the urban core reducing reliance on vehicles to move around.
With the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, the executive expects even more attention and interest will go Vermosa’s way. Filipino track athletes were already getting their practice sessions in at the estate, with its pool slated to be the venue for underwater hockey matches.
“We’re extremely proud of the Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub. It’s a world-class and professionally managed sports facility, developed to be the premier training ground of both amateur and professional athletes. We also see it as a state-of-the art venue for national and international sports events in the Philippines, so it’s definitely an honor to be chosen as the venue for the 30th Southeast Asian Games and to be able to give our athletes, in this case our underwater hockey national team, the world-class venue and training facility they deserve,” he said.
Also in the Vermosa pipeline is a multi-purpose training center with indoor basketball and volleyball courts to further widen the breadth of sports offerings.
But to be clear, Teodoro says that Vermosa is not only for sports and fitness enthusiasts — although it wouldn’t hurt to get people into the scene. “The idea is to essentially provide a space for active living for more people to choose a healthy lifestyle. The objective is to promote an active lifestyle within the community of Vermosa,” he explains.
ALI is making this kind of lifestyle available to a greater breadth of markets by incorporating four of its residential brands (Ayala Land Premier, Alveo, Avida, and Amaia) within the ambit of Vermosa. As the real estate giant’s fourth-largest mixed-use estate, Vermosa is projected to become home to some 6,000 households. Depending on the brand, Vermosa will offer packages ranging from P2.5 to P30 million.
“We limited the sizes of each residential development to about 30 to 40 hectares. Brands are also segregated to cater to different market segments,” reports Teodoro. And just like Ayala Alabang, ALI integrated elements essential to creating a fully-functioning community: a central business district, diverse residential offerings, commercial and retail developments as well as institutional components.
Vermosa will also house what ALI calls a “super-regional mall” almost double the of Ayala Malls Solenad in Nuvali. “For the first time, about 1/3 of the spaces will be allocated for health and wellness merchants/locators. This will also provide the differentiation we need to be able to compete in a highly saturated retail environment,” submits Teodoro.
While Nuvali in Laguna is meant to be the first and largest “eco-city” development in the country, ALI is positioning Vermosa as a “modern suburban community.” The latter is expected to cater to Calabarzon market, and Teodoro notes that accessibility should not be an issue. “It is accessible from the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway (MCX) and Daang Hari. With the government’s ongoing Build, Build, Build program, we expect more infrastructure projects to make Vermosa an even more convenient destination.”
The ultimate vision for Vermosa is for it to evolve as a growth center owing to a curated mix of residential, educational, retail, business, and, of course, sports elements. “We want it to be a catalyst for a heightened lifestyle for jobs, businesses, and growing families who we trust will find it as an ideal work-play-study-live destination,” concludes Teodoro.