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Laying the groundwork at Capitol Commons and Ortigas East

As the COVID-19 pandemic would drastically upend economies, governments, business and individual lifestyles, it just as also swiftly shifted priorities and reshaped preferences.

The increasingly discerning eye of customers may have kept many businesses on their toes over the last several years but this health and economic crisis has offered a new perspective on how companies can and should further exceed expectations. There’s a growing appetite for an even higher quality, a more efficient system, and a better delivery of obligations, preferably beyond what was committed—all of which should comprise the new minimum.

In the real estate industry for instance, the last decade saw many developers flaunting the benefits of a mixed-use community, highlighting the presence of several components that allow you to live near where you work and where you can relax, dine out and unwind after a long day.

Focus on “more”

But as the COVID-19 pandemic hits the country and throws everyone off course, many are now looking for more, more and more: the so-called “essentials” should not only be near, it should also be just a stone’s throw from where you live (read: walkable); a medical facility should at least be within convenient reach; and the building should adhere to established green standards.

There’s been a shift in one’s priorities, too: beyond location and amenities, there is a growing interest on communities that can foster health and wellness amid the ongoing threat of the new coronavirus, can provide bigger open spaces as social distancing measures now become a norm, and most importantly, have an efficient property management team that can aptly and immediately respond to the crisis at hand.

Responding to COVID-19

A series of articles by global design and architecture firm Gensler has sought to explore “how design is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.” One of these articles, in particular, looked at what has to change for mixed-use developments to be both safe and vibrant.

The piece authored by J.F. Finn III and Duncan Paterson cited “a renewed focus on making our spaces and places healthier and safer.” It noted that “healthy building standards will come to the forefront” with focus on ensuring safer interchange of clean air in our built environments and help to address “air-hygiene.” The introduction of outside air will also become a greater part of new-builds, according to the authors, as the “introduction of fresh, clean air not only helps maintain healthier environments, it can help dilute the human-to-human passage of airborne elements.”

Another article in this series highlights the critical role that technology will play in creating a touch free environment—facial recognition technology; digitally controlled temperature scanners; LED lights that can provide visual cues as to where people should stand safely away from others; integral technology that darkens the panels based on the path of the sun, eliminating the need for shades or blinds; and sensors that can track optimal weather conditions and open the panels to allow fresh air inside.

Delivering ‘new normal’

These concepts are not too far off. In fact, some estates and mixed use communities in the Philippines have started to introduce “more” significant features that ensure the overall wellness of its residents even prior to the crisis and which have proven to be responsive to COVID-19. These estates are well-equipped to deliver what seems to be, at the moment, the new normal.

Ortigas Land’s 10-hectare Capitol Commons in Pasig City, for example, offers a healthy mix of upscale residences, premium-grade offices, the Estancia Mall, Unimart, an SM store, a food strip called Gastro Hub and a lush, refreshing green urban space—all of which are within walking distance from one another, thanks to the pedestrian-friendly sidewalks built for convenience.

Residential towers in this estate, while each sporting a unique character, offer wellness across several fronts. The Empress, touted as the first wellness real estate in the country, has smart living features such as an app to control appliances and switches, as well as temperature and contact sensors. It also makes use of color therapy to influence one’s well-being and stimulate positive emotional responses, while its biophilic design allows one to commune with nature, and in the process reduce stress, improve cognitive function, and enhance mood and creativity.

The three other towers here, The Royalton, The Maven, and The Imperium, also highlight the importance of having spacious units, pocket parks and other features such as trapezoidal canted windows and light shelf to provide adequate ventilation and illumination inside the unit—all of which are geared towards helping ensure one’s health and well-being.

Equipped with essentials

Ortigas East is another prime example of a masterplanned community that can truly provide residents a holistic lifestyle premised on convenience, accessibility and even sustainability. And it has more than proven itself during this crisis.

Since the lockdown began mid-March, the different features within this 16-ha masterplanned estate along C-5 Road in Pasig proved to be a lifesaver for many of those working within Ortigas Estate and more so, for the villages and communities surrounding it.

The banks, offices, grocery store, pharmacies and several dining outlets that allowed deliveries and takeouts provided a much needed lifeline as they have remained open during the enhanced community quarantine. It’s also a safe environment where social distancing measures were observed, temperatures were checked every time you enter an establishment, and constantly roving guards had ensured that Ortigas East remains a secured community.

Clearly, Ortigas Land, through its estates, delivers beyond expectations, showcasing an expertise honed by close to nine decades of experience in creating upscale, mixed-use communities.

Beyond satisfying the oft considered factors such as strategic location, accessibility and connectivity, well-thought-out amenities and attractive investment proposition, Ortigas Land’s estates have already laid down the essential groundwork that will enable its residents, guests, tenants and office workers to better adjust to what may eventually become the new normal.

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