Golden Bay Land’s COO: Aspiring for change

In recent years, the Bay Area has been booming with new developments in residential, business, commercial and leisure segments. Before this, it had very few buildings and one of them is the Golden Bay Fresh Seafood Restaurant along Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard.

The restaurant was the brainchild of a group of friends led by Bong and Cely Wong, who wanted to showcase Chinese culture, tradition and cuisine. After a successful run, the restaurant paved the way for other businesses, including Golden Bay Land Holdings. What was once operated from a 30-sqm. former function room with three employees, the realty firm has grown to become one of the fastest-growing developers in the country and is making waves in the industry today with their maiden project, Aspire Corporate Plaza.

Aspire Corporate Plaza is an 11-story office building located behind the iconic restaurant. It was the first office development that offered units for sale, rather than units for lease. At the helm of this operation is Golden Bay Land’s chief operating officer Jardin Wong.

“When we started Aspire, the Bay Area was generally known for residential. We thought to ourselves, ‘Where will these people have their offices?’ because if they go to BGC or Makati or even in Binondo, they have to travel back and forth. But with Aspire, we are providing a solution in the Bay Area where they can live and work. Its really a game changer,” he says.

Age Is Not A Factor

At 29, Wong has proven himself as a leader despite his young age. “I started working in our family’s fruit stand when I was six or seven years old, and on Saturdays I would help out at my family’s seafood exporting business. A lot of the essences of business were ingrained in us — my siblings and I — at an early stage. So I think that helped us a lot with adjusting to the real dogma of the business world,” he shares.

“I view being young as an advantage because when you’re young you are quick to decide on things that normally takes longer when you’re dealing with bureaucracy. Young people are quick learners and they make informed decisions. And we’re more open to new ideas — though these may not necessarily be good ones but at least to be able to be open and curious about implementing these ideas,” he adds. “Another advantage to being young is the ability to do multiple things. For example, I can find myself doing quick meetings in other countries, sometimes less than 24 hours, while micro managing office works remotely through the web.”

But he is also quick to admit that being young has its disadvantages, such as lack of experience, patience, and the trust and confidence of the market. “People generally view experienced executives as being more competent than younger ones. For me, it’s a balancing act. I try to listen to the advices of the board and they provide guidance, understanding and support in whatever I do.”

Aspiring To Become A Game Changer

Aspire Corporate Plaza is generally aimed to provide a solution to what Golden Bay Land views as a perpetual problem in most family businesses: that they don’t have their own office space that matches the standing of their companies. “We offered Aspire to businesses that are successful but want to have a legacy office, so we provided them an opportunity to own their own office at the fastest-growing central business district (CBD) in Metro Manila,” says Wong.

For him, it was especially important to offer an office development in the area. “It’s very important to have a legacy office because you see a lot of up and coming second generation business leaders that want to level up their operations. For us, Aspire is a catalyst, just like how Golden Bay seafood was a catalyst when we started building it. Back then our restaurant, together with Mall of Asia and Blue Wave, was the only notable establishments on Macapagal. We’re considered a pioneer, as well as a game changer. And Aspire exudes those qualities in terms of office ownership and office usage.”

So how is Aspire different from other office buildings in the area and in other CBDs? As a Grade-A office building, it follows the strict standards of the BPO industry. It offers large-cut sized offices that are column-free for maximum usage. “So for office users — whether you’re buying, leasing or you bought a unit to lease it — the value for money is there because the space can be utilized and used for different scenarios, thereby creating possibilities for our clients and partners. And that’s an advantage compared to other office buildings,” Wong shares.

Future Projects And Plans

One of the projects Golden Bay Land Holdings will be launching soon is the Garden City — a six-tower mixed-use development that incorporates the live, work and play scheme. “We envision Garden City as a mini-city, a community for everybody. It will be located along Alabang-Zapote Road. With the advent of different infrastructure projects happening such as the LRT-Extension, the Cavite-Laguna Expressway, the Muntinlupa-Cavite Expressway, and the continuous advances in the Build, build, build program on that area, we are confident that this project would create a lasting impact not only with the customers but also the community,” says Wong.

Wong also shared that the 1.4-hectare property will have special amenities including a library, two swimming pools, a theater room, café and themed gardens that are inspired by the mandarin orange and mahjong, a favorite pastime of people worldwide.

“We are proud to say that we were able to think about these concepts deeply. If things go well, we’re also drawing another office building in Macapagal, as we speak. But this time, the offices will be for lease only,” Wong shares.

For the future, Wong is hopeful of Golden Bay Land Holding’s placement in the industry. “We have big dreams. We have big aspirations for the company. We want to be a public company, we don’t know how long the process is going to take but for us the key is to build the fundamentals of the company and to ensure that we are prepared to take the next steps. The goal is there, we understand that we are not inclined to be a public company yet but what’s important is to circle that goal, take it day by day,” he said.

“We want to be a full-service real estate developer, offering residential, leasing and retail developments. But we want to make it by doing the right way, no short cuts. We will continue to improve our products, to innovate and to offer value for money investments.”