Suntrust Properties, Inc. (SPI) now spearheads what its President Harry M. Paltongan refers to as the Suntrust Group. This was after the recent acquisition of property developer Stateland Inc. as its latest subsidiary.
“The Suntrust Group will now be composed of SPI and its subsidiaries: Stateland Inc., Sunrays Property Management, Inc. which manages its completed projects, Governor’s Hills Science School, Inc. which is providing education in its projects, Suntrust Ecotown Developers, Inc. which is developing and managing its industrial parks. Add to this Sherwood Hills Golf Club Inc. which it is also managing. Stateland, Inc. will focus on affordable housing projects to help alleviate the country’s housing backlog. SPI is now into the medium and open markets as most of its products are priced even at above P4 Million pesos which is the benchmark of the open market class,” Paltongan stressed.
“Of course, Stateland currently has beautiful higher-end projects like Washington Place and others. But we need branding and focusing so it will later evolve to serve the affordable segment. Again, SPI will stay where it is now – serving the medium and open markets. That makes the Suntrust Group truly the supermarket of real estate providing the needs of all market segments,” he added.
Resiliency through the years
Paltongan revealed that SPI has acquired 97% of the shares of Stateland Inc. as approved by the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) in a two-page decision on June 21.
The amiable president is happy to note that both Suntrust and Stateland share a history of resiliency. It was during the Asian financial crisis 21 years ago when Suntrust was conceived. And despite the economic collapse of many industries at that time, Suntrust stood the test of time and since then has been known for aggressively growing its portfolio by continuously developing both vertical and horizontal self-sustaining residential communities in Metro Manila, CALABARZON, and now setting its foot in parts of Visayas, Mindanao. It also has projects in the City of Baguio.
Similarly, low-key traditional company Stateland Inc. weathered the storm brought about by the Asian contagion: great recession, currency devaluation, high interest rates. And just like Suntrust, Stateland has grown its projects that are mainly in South Luzon and some parts of Metro Manila.
Its latest project, which is a flagship community, is Washington Place along Aguinaldo Highway in Dasmariñas, Cavite. This offers about 1,700 modern contemporary housing units in a 40-hectare master-planned community.
Among its other horizontal residential projects are the Mediterranean-inspired Villa San Lorenzo in Imus, Cavite; San Francisco Heights, Gran Avila and Casa Laguerta in Calamba, Laguna; English-inspired Chester Place in Dasmariñas, Cavite; North Olympus IV in Quezon City; Spanish- inspired Gran Seville in Cabuyao, Laguna; Avila Heights in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, and Summercrest Village in Tanza, Cavite.
Stateland’s upscale pocket townhouse developments in Metro Manila include the Royal Circle Townhomes in Parañaque City; Royal Garden Townhomes in Malate, Manila; Hillcrest Townhomes in Quezon City, and Royal Chateau in Pasay City. The company has also built residential and office condominium towers in Makati City, Quezon City, San Juan, Mandaluyong, and Binondo, Manila.
The ceremonial turnover of Stateland to the Suntrust Group took place on July 9.
Easing the country’s housing backlog
Suntrust is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Megaworld Corp., a company under the umbrella of the Alliance Global Inc. From the time of its incorporation, and pursuant to the vision of its Chairman Dr. Andrew L. Tan, it has led the way in providing quality homes and master-planned communities to the Filipino market. Combining well-thought-out designs which focus on space-saving and functionality features, delivering a high standard of comfort and style customized to the needs of moderate-income Filipino families, making it today’s significant developer-provider of affordably priced homes.
Paltongan, who was also named president of Stateland, expressed his plans for the company. “We have more work to do now. We are going to expand this company’s operations and hence will have more projects. We do not intend to change the name Stateland because it has been there for 42 years already,” he said.
But what he is most excited about is the company’s new direction of addressing the country’s housing backlog in the affordable market which he feels is the moral duty of all developers. He wishes the government will put more focus on it in the same way it harps on the infrastructures’ “buil-build-build program”. “Not many developers go into this venture. This is classified by the government into socialized, economic and low-cost. The maximum price of the latter is P3Million pesos.,” he explained.
Paltongan said the country’s housing backlog is estimated between 5.5 million and 6.7Million. At least 1.5Million of these belong to the informal sector and hence have difficulties getting government or bank financing. Every year, as the population grows, 300 to 400 thousand families are being added to the backlog according to Paltongan. With only 170 to 190 thousand production of new houses a year, the backlog continues to grow. “The Suntrust Group has this advocacy to perform its moral and social duty to help fill in this segment. This is where Stateland will focus on in the coming years,” Paltongan concluded.