, JANUARY 29, 2007
  (STAR) By Ching M. Alano - There’s something racy and sensuous about it that sends your adrenaline into overdrive. You just know you have to be part of the action. And back then, if it was action you wanted, it was live – and kicking – action you got at the San Lazaro Hippodrome. But hold your horses now, Sta. Cruz, Manila drew a legion of faithful not only to its racetracks but also to its storied church, which was built by the Jesuits in the early 17th century and has evolved into the center of the Sta. Cruz lifestyle. Very much a part of that vibrant lifestyle are the shops, the movie houses and the eateries/holes-in-the-wall in Chinatown that give the place a piquant character. Indeed, here, there’s something to nourish both body and soul.

And now, rising in the heart of Manila’s Sta Cruz district is the Celadon Park San Lazaro, the first residential condominium project of Community Innovations, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ayala Land. Like a flawless Chinese porcelain gleaming with its pale green glaze, Celadon Park is a prize find in the city. Where, oh where, in the congested, polluted, traffic-ridden metropolis can you find an oasis that offers a refuge for weary bodies and tattered spirits?

The answer lies in a three-tower condominium community that’s got – hold you breath now – all of 12,000 square meters of lush, landscaped open space. Yes, in the middle of Manila’s asphalt jungle.

Grace Sta. Ana, project development manager of Community Innovations, stoutly asserts, "This is something rare since land values in Manila are high and offering greens and open spaces was previously not an option."

For city residents cooped up in the four walls of their homes and waiting to exhale, Celadon Park comes like a breath of fresh air. To rise right beside Celadon Residences, the only masterplanned townhouse community in Manila, Celadon Park San Lazaro sets the gold standard in condo living.

The figures speak for themselves: 7,000 square meters of open space for greens as far as your eyes can see (surely, every room in your condo will have a view), city-club amenities right at the ground floor, and – take double note – an additional 5,000 square meters of greens and open space at the 5th floor podium level.

If you put a premium on location (who doesn’t?), Celadon Park is the place to be. Strategically located in downtown Manila, it is only two kilometers away from Binondo’s bustling financial district, a few minutes away from reputable Chinese schools in Binondo, and universities in the university belt area.

Just like buying into an expensive club membership, Celadon Park’s integrated suite of amenities satisfies residents’ relaxation and recreation needs. True to Community Innovations’ vision of an oasis-in-the-middle-of-the-city development, Celadon Park will have resort-style swimming pools, children’s outdoor play areas, picnic grounds, palm trees lining 7,000 square meters of lush greens at the ground floor, a huge function room that can seat up to 200 guests, an amphitheater, and a fully-equipped fitness center making up an additional 5,000 square meters of open space on the 5th floor podium.

A "resort-like environment" is what Community Innovations envisions for this high-rise development.

All these five-star amenities, the luxury or space urbanites can only dream of, and a green and clean environment undoubtedly make Celadon Park the gold standard in condo living today.

Because at the end of the day, it all boils down to the answers to these questions: Can I swim laps after work? Where do my kids play after school? How long does it take them to get to school? Do I feel safe walking outside with my family? Do I know my neighbors? Do I see trees surrounding my immediate residence? Can I indulge in the soothing environs of a private garden?

Excellent location plus superior amenities plus quality development plus good value for money plus excellent property management by the Ayala Property Management Corporation plus the Ayala Land heritage give Celadon Park a decided edge.

With high-rise living such as this, there are high hopes for the city.

* * *

To see this one-of-a-kind oasis for yourself, visit the showroom and model units of Celadon Park San Lazaro near SM San Lazaro. For inquiries, call 796-0888, e-mail at cii-sales@ayalaland.com.ph or visit www.celadonparksanlazaro.com.ph.

Community innovations’ Celadon Park and Residences: A breathing space in Manila By Susan A. De Guzman The Philippine STAR 01/28/2007

Open spaces and greenery are not the usual images one would instantly associate with living in Manila. Instead, congestion and overcrowdedness seem to be the most familiar traits linked to this highly urbanized city of some 10 million inhabitants. Thus, when a real estate development in the heart of bustling Manila claims to have a verdant expanse as its top attraction, one can’t help but sit up and listen.

The lush spread is indeed the prized commodity offered by Celadon Park San Lazaro – the latest project of Community Innovations, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ayala Land. This three-tower condominium, coupled with the adjacent Celadon Residences San Lazaro comprised of townhouses, will occupy part of the sprawling spot that once hosted the San Lazaro Racetrack, which was moved to Carmona, Cavite in 2003. Together, these two developments are promising to change the face of an area that had become almost synonymous with urban blight.

Celadon Park, as its name indicates, will have a park as a primary feature, with rows of palm trees as the trademark. "If you look at the environment, it’s really a breathing space that we’re offering," says Grace Sta. Ana, project development manager of Community Innovations. "What is really unusual for Celadon Park San Lazaro is that this is the first time that a condominium will have ground-floor amenities – there’s open space at that level."

Sta. Ana explains that with the high land values in Manila, other condominiums have no choice but to offer amenities on the upper floors. "But with us, we’ve put it right there at ground level, which is rare. When you’re dropped off at the lobby, you can already get a peek of the open space. There will be swimming pools, children’s outdoor play areas, picnic grounds and palm trees dotting the 7,000-square-meter space. That’s why we’re saying Celadon Park has a resort-type feel."

That element extends to the fifth-floor podium deck where nature is again a predominant feature. The podium accounts for another 5,000 square meters of open space, including an amphitheater and lawn areas. The units on this floor meanwhile will come with gardens. This not only complements the podium theme but gives a chance to those with green thumbs to indulge in their hobby – while living in a condominium. The gym will also be found on the same level, with an outdoor view that perhaps will help inspire fitness buffs as they go about their workouts.

Even with the townhouse community of Celadon Residences, the greenery is also a prime draw with its very own village park.

Ayala Land saw an opportunity to make its debut in Manila when the 15-hectare space was freed up with the racetrack’s transfer to Carmona. Through Community Innovations, the company is now tapping a new market through two distinctive products in Celadon Park San Lazaro and Celadon Residences. (Yet another Ayala development, Avida, is located there.)

Members of the Binondo Chinese seeking to upgrade their urban dwelling belong to that market. The location of both Celadon properties is deemed strategic, not only because of its proximity to the Binondo business district but to downtown Manila and the University Belt. In addition, the area is accessible to a number of reputable Chinese schools in Binondo.

Knowing the specific requirements of the Chinese community, Community Innovations commissioned the services of feng shui master Charlie Chau to review the overall masterplan. "The layouts of all our units are feng shui-compliant," Sta. Ana underscores.

Taking also into consideration the Chinese families’ penchant for big celebrations, Celadon Park will have a function room that can accommodate as many as 200 guests – something more associated with a hotel rather than a condominium. For a minimal fee to cover electricity and airconditioning, residents will be able to rent the facility for simple gatherings, birthday parties and even wedding receptions.

The Celadon properties are also being eyed as a dwelling option for the non-Chinese including doctors, because of their proximity to hospitals, or for families from the provinces with children studying in Manila.

"Having this new location gives us a chance to serve an untapped market that we know, through our studies, has a preference for Manila. For example, people from the north will still say that their first choice (for a home) is Manila because that is what they know or that is what they prefer," says Sta. Ana.

She says that issues of safety and security, the top concerns of many prospective buyers, are properly addressed. Because of the well-secured environment, families can have their kids run around in the wide open spaces within the premises without having to worry about their protection.

Meanwhile, to ensure that the area will not be affected by floods come rainy season – a perennial problem associated with that part of Manila – the property was raised by 1.2 meters.

Quality development is the cornerstone of the Ayala design philosophy. "What we’re trying to say is we undertake the necessary studies, we talk with the proper consultants. The safety, security and soundness of our developments are really in place. For example, we conduct things like the wind tunnel test even if it means contracting the services from abroad and thus costly. But then, we’re able to find out the effects of certain weather conditions on a structure, so we are able to have the appropriate materials put in place."

As with other Ayala properties, Celadon is covered by a Warranty Services Unit, which is part of the after-sales service and property management. "We assist the buyers even after turnover of the unit," says Sta. Ana.

The small number of units in both properties, typical of developments of similar types, gives them added value. Celadon Park has no more than 600 units. Celadon Residences has only about 200 townhouses.

While Celadon Park will only be formally launched this February, Sta. Ana says they have already been getting good buzz. In fact, two of the penthouse units that come with a deck – two of only four in each tower – have already been bought. The buyer of one penthouse unit also got a townhouse at the Celadon Residences.

"The reception is good," Sta. Ana affirms. "Our unique value proposition is really the amenities – specifically, the breathing space in Manila. Given the dense urban environment and the land prices in the city, offering greens was not really an option before. But we’re making it happen."

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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