[Update : Veritown has since been renamed "Grand Central Park"]
Let us start with the similarities. These are the reasons why we pitch them against each other.
Both are real estate developments in The Fort. In fact, they are located right next to each other in the northern part of The Fort. Both are work in progress. Both have multiple projects within their developments. Uptown is said to occupy 15 hectares of land and will have 18 towers of buildings for residential, office and retail purposes. Veritown occupies 10 hectares of land, and so far we know that it will include a luxury hotel, shopping mall and at least four residential projects.
Both have projects finishing within the next four years. One Uptown Residence, for example, currently is projected to complete in 2016, the same year that Veritown’s Central Park West is supposed to finish.
Say you are thinking about buying a residential property in The Fort that will be completed in 2016, would you choose Veritown or Uptown? What are the main factors that will help you decide? One Uptown Residence and Veritown's Central Park West actually had been pre-selling since 2012 or earlier, so currently not much marketing effort is directed towards their sale by the developers, but they can be bought in secondary market, and it is convenient for us to do comparison in this article for illustration purpose.
While any developer with money can build wonderful showrooms, at the end of the day it is the delivered product that counts for the consumer. For the developer/seller, what matters is getting the buyer to pay, and once a buyer pays, the seller’s work can be regarded done if the seller does not need to worry about selling more properties after this one is completed . As buyers of pre-selling properties are legally bind to pay for a property once they sign on the contract, which is always drafted by the developer and is always skewed in favor of the developer, it is essential that buyers are aware of the reputation of the developer before signing the contract.
In the age of Internet, prospective buyers of pre-selling real estate properties can look up the reputation of a developer from websites where buyers of older properties of a developer have expressed their views, such as skyscrapercity.com. Or they can Google recent news about a developer. We should read about any complaint against the developer such as on the quality of the finished property versus what was promised. By comparing the completion date advertised at pre-selling stage to the actual completion dates of these projects, one would know whether the developer can deliver on time, for example.
Also, prospective buyers can ask for opinions from independent real estate brokers, but bear in mind that the commission that a broker can receive from different developers may affect the opinion that she gives to clients. It would be naive to take the words of the broker/agent selling you exclusively properties from one developer without checking with other sources of information.
A visual inspection of recently completed projects by these developers can be useful in gauging the quality of finished exterior of these projects. Even better is if you can gain access inside the buildings.
The developer of Veritown is Federal Land, Inc., a member of the GT Capital Holdings company and a partner of one of the largest banking groups in the Philippines, the Metrobank Group. Their recently completed residential projects include The Oriental Place in Makati, Bay Garden in Pasay, Peninsula Garden and Riverview in Manila.
The developer of Uptown is Megaworld Corporation, a listed real estate company with a large number of projects in BGC and even more so in the adjacent neighborhood of McKinley Hill. Its completed residential projects in BGC include the 53-storey Eight Forbestown Road (the latest), the two towers of Forbeswood Parklane, three Bellagio towers, and the six towers of Forbeswood Heights.
Site Development Plan
Since the two developments are situated next to each other, we do not have to compare the locations. They are both close to St. Luke'S Medical Center and international schools. What we could compare is the details of the development plan in which the respective property is located so that we can see the immediate surroundings of our future home.
If we look at Central Park West, a single tower project, we can see that it is located next to residential buildings, with some space between it and the next project. At the same time, there are link bridges giving it easy access to the mall at Grand Hyatt Hotel.
There is a bit of open space in front of Central Park West, in the form of the Big Apple Park. There is also a small park nearby, namely the Green Park. Not much is known about the plots across it, which are marked as "Future Development" in the site plan.
[Update 2018: the developer of Veritown has entered into partnership with two Japanese firms to develop this area, so we may see a quite different development plan. Read this for more information. The new development is targeted to complete in 2025.]
Site Plan of Uptown
Photo above : Master development plan of Uptown Bonifacio found online in 2014. Much has changed to this plan, especially the square lot to the left of Uptown Place (now called Uptown Mall). It is now the location of the Palace club complex and Uptown Parade retail area.
One Uptown Residence, which also is projected to complete in 2016, has streets on three sides of its site, giving most units an open view. It is linked to other parts of Uptown such as Uptown Place Mall through underground walkways, which is quite unique in the Philippines for an integrated development. In a country that has a rainy season, this feature should be very attractive if it is properly executed to ensure that the underground walkways do not get flooded and are brightly lit. As a three-tower project, though, some units will have mostly inner view of the project (i.e. looking into neighbors' rooms).
Comparison table of general features of Veritown and Uptown
|DESCRIPTION||VERITOWN FORT (LEFT)||UPTOWN BONIFACIO (RIGHT)|
|DEVELOPER:||Federal Land, Inc.||Megaworld Corp.|
|ARCHITECTS:||Architect Bong Recio|
|INVESTMENT||P4-5 Billion + P20 Billion = 25 Billion
“About P4-5 billion will be earmarked for the Veritown project, a luxury complex that will be home to commercial establishments, offices, cultural centers and residential towers. Located at the Bonifacio Global City, Veritown will also house the Grand Hyatt Manila and Grand Hyatt Manila Residences.”
“The P20-billion Grand Hyatt Manila and Grand Hyatt Residences.”
“Megaworld, the biggest landholder in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), will invest P65 billion in the project, according to Noli Hernandez, senior vice president for sales and marketing. The amount will be spent in phases over 10 years.”
|LOCATION:||34th Street corner 8th Avenue
Facing: Residential Area of Makati and Uptown Bonifacio
"view of the breathtaking skyline of Ortigas and Makati"
|8th Avenue corner Kalayaan Avenue
Facing: Veritown Fort and University Parkway
|HECTARE||11 hectares||15 hectares|
|INSPIRATION:||New York - Manhattan Living
“fashionable and modern residential community”
“Federal Land Inc. officially launched Veritown Fort to high society; it literally brought a piece of Manhattan at the NBC Tent in Bonifacio Global City.”
Alfred Ty announced with elation. “It was designed with a 21st century modern setting that incorporates luxury residential condominiums; grade A office buildings, high-end shopping facilities and a six star hotel.”
“New luxury residential condominiums and mixed-use business and commercial developments optimally designed for cosmopolitan living.”
|NO. OF BUILDINGS:||14 (Including the Future Developments)||18 (Including the Future Developments)|
|HIGHEST BUILDING (STOREY):||Grand Hyatt Manila Hotel – 66 Floors||Uptown Parksuites – 50 Floors|
|SHOPPING MALL:||Big Apple Mall
“dynamic blend of premium brands and artisan boutiques”
“Exclusive art galleries, restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment”
|Uptown Place or Parade
“The retail component, Uptown Place Mall, is a five-story building structure that will be opened by 2016. It will have a total floor area of 47,962 square meters, with leasable area of about 36,689 sqms.”
|PRICE RANGE (as of mid 2014):||
|PARKING AREA:||Basement Parking||Huge parking lot in uptown parade|
Shopping Mall, Entertainment Area,
Recreational indoor/outdoor amenities
Outdoor and Indoor Shopping Mall, Entertainment Area, Huge parking lot and boutique shops
One Uptown Residence:
|NEARBY:||St. Luke's and S&R||Nearby Locations
(Grand Hyatt Manila hotel was soft-opened in February 2018.)
As regards open space and park, while some Megaworld agents have mentioned that there would be some open space in the adjacent lot, which is said to be part of Uptown Parade, there seems to be no written materials that confirms the provision of open space in that lot, or any lot inside Uptown. The site plan above appears to show a lagoon in that adjacent lot, but look what happened to the lagoon shown in the site plan of Forbeswood Parklane. Part of that space is being built into a low rise mall. The rest is said to be a small park. We can only be sure when it is finished.
Residents of Veritown’s Central Park West will share amenities with three other residential projects, namely Madison Park West which is located next to it, as well as two more projects on the other side of the Big Apple Park. These amenities include swimming pool, tennis court and badminton, club house, day care and so on, as listed in the table below as well as in this link.
One Uptown Residence is said to have swimming pools, covered sports hall, function rooms, outdoor play area, gym and aerobics rooms. View here. It does not share facilities with other projects in the vicinity, nor is there any connection between them, except an underground path to the mall called Uptown Place.
Let us compare a two-bedroom unit in either project. In Central Park West, we received a quote of 7.72 million pesos for a 2-bedroom unit with floor area of 58 sq. m. from a broker (per sq. m. price of 133,000 pesos). A 2-bedroom unit with floor area of 75 sq. m. in One Uptown Residence had a price tag of 10.6 million pesos (per sq. meter price of 141,000 pesos). Both prices do not include any parking lot. There is also no mention of V.A.T. or title transfer fees, which means that these will be additional costs for the buyers. There is no information on the usable area of each unit in One Uptown Residence, as compared to the gross floor area. A breakdown of floor space for units in Central Park West seems to be available, as can be seen from a sample below.
Prospective buyers should of course check out the orientation and layout of units offered to them. In these aspects, it is difficult to compare the two projects as each has many different unit layouts. Personal preference also plays a major part in rating these attributes.
We have provided a lot of information that should help prospective buyers assess the desirability of the two developments relative to each other. Nonetheless, prospective buyers still have to do their own research, especially with regard to the developers’ reputation in delivering what was promised implicitly or explicitly in terms of facilities and quality of build. In addition, since most newly completed residential projects are often managed by management companies owned by the developer at least in the first few years of completion, prospective buyers should also try to find out about the quality of building management of projects completed by these developers.
Update 2018 March:
Satellite photo found in Google in March 2018 shows development status of Veritown and Uptown.
See also this article for related information as in March 2018.