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Asia’s property pioneers

Rapid urbanization poses major challenges for Asia’s developing economies, particularly those lacking government investment. Enterprising Asian developers are now bridging the infrastructure gap alone, creating communities from scratch and reaping handsome rewards in the process. Chris Leahy reports.

Building brands

Monetizing dreams

“It was a very dilapidated area but the golden rule of property development is location, location, location. Taipingqiao was such a prime location that I was very confident” Vincent HS Lo, Shui On

METRO MANILA’S URBAN sprawl is at its neatest and most orderly in Makati City – and for good reason. Almost single-handedly, Ayala Land, a local property developer established after World War II, has planned, designed and built the city from the ground up, without a cent of government money. There is concrete evidence of this achievement on Makati Avenue, one of the two key city thoroughfares along with Ayala Avenue. Squeezed between the glass-fronted skyscrapers and office towers sits a modest two-storey block. Formerly a control tower and now a protected building, it is the only visible evidence that Makati was once an airport and Makati and Ayala Avenues its runways.

“The vision of the company was to move the centre of commerce from old Manila, which was ravaged by war,” says Jaime E Ysmael, senior vice-president and chief finance officer of Ayala Land.

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