MANILA, Philippines - The sons of US real estate magnate Donald Trump are looking forward to working with the Antonio family's Century Properties Group Inc. on more projects in the future.
Donald Jr. and Eric Trump arrived in Manila on Tuesday morning to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the $150-million (P6-billion) Trump Tower Manila in Century City, Makati City.
In a press conference at the Manila Peninsula, the Trumps had nothing but praises for the Antonio family.
"We're incredibly excited to bring the brand here. The Philippines, a country that has done so well in recent years, and taking that and the high-end real estate experience to levels that have never been done here... When it came time to do a project in the (Philippine) market, we partnered with people who can do the best... Based on the conversations with Robbie and chairman Antonio, this will not be our last project in the Philippines. We're really looking forward to rolling out a number of things," said Donald Jr., executive vice-president of developments and acquisitions of the Trump Organization.
Robbie Antonio, Century Properties managing director and Trump Tower Manila project head, echoed Donald Jr.'s statement, saying: "Hopefully we can do some more projects with the Trump family."
Century City Development Corp., a unit of Century Properties, is developing the skyscraper with the brand name and mark under license from the Trump Organization. The Trump Tower Manila is not owned, developed or sold by the Trumps.
Donald J. Trump might not have visited Manila, but in a videotaped message, he said the project is "something special."
"I will be there soon. It's a great place. I love the Philippines and I really love what we're doing with Trump Tower Manila. My boys Don Jr. and Eric are there, they are really looking forward to this project, it's something special... Trump Tower Manila will be something very, very special, like nobody's seen before," he said.
New York-style luxury
With the Trump name, the residential building brings to mind luxury and exclusivity. Trump is one of the most high-profile American businessmen, thanks to his real estate business, extravagant lifestyle, the hit reality show "The Apprentice" and an aborted campaign to run for President.
Century Properties said the building, which will be the tallest in the Philippines, will bring New York-style luxury. Among the amenities are a grand lobby, spa, outdoor pool at the 30th floor, juice bar and concierge service. It is expected to be delivered by 2016.
Eric Trump, EVP of Development & Acquisitions of the Trump Organization, said the Trump Tower Manila would be like a "paradise" in your own building.
"We wanted to do the best building not only in the Philippines but in Asia and the world... Trump buildings are always known to be the tallest, have the best amenities and this building represents that. It is uncompromised when it comes to amenities... This is something we're proud to have our name on," he said.
Jose E.B. Antonio, chairman and president of Century Properties, said bringing the Trump name to the project is more than just branding.
"The project itself is not just the brand, but behind the brand is the quality. They say quality will always be remembered, long after the price is forgotten. That's what we're trying to do with Trump Tower Manila. It's going to be one of the best developments in the Philippines, and we're assisting in creating Manila as a cosmopolitan center for investments and lifestyle," he said.
So far, the Trump name seems to have worked like magic. Units at the Trump Tower Manila have been selling well since it was announced last September.
"We sold 70% of the project in 8 months, we sold the highest price per square meter the Philippines has ever seen," Robbie Antonio said.
The Antonios and Trumps believe there is a strong market demand for luxury branded residential projects in the country.
"Obviously with growing middle class and increase in demand for the uber luxury space, we strive at Century Properties to constantly feed the demand because there is a significant need for it. It's becoming a necessity, not just a want," Robbie Antonio said.
Eric Trump noted buyers are now becoming increasingly conscious about brands, especially in Asia. "People want luxury and they want to live in the best in the Philippines...It's what we deliver as a company, what Century delivers," he said.