Italpinas Development Corporation (IDC), the company behind Cagayan de Oro real estate project Primavera is set for an initial public offering (IPO) in the coming weeks.
The IPO is ground-breaking in many ways. To begin with, IDC has staked its future on a road not often taken, embarking on its flagship venture Primavera in Cagayan de Oro and following it up by announcing an even more ambitious multi-function development around it, Primavera City. The company is also favoring a focus on sustainable design – again, a not too common tack among local real estate developers. In what must be a first in the industry, IDC is unmistakably mestizo, rooted in a partnership between Italian architect and designer Romolo Valentino Nati, and Filipino-born, Sydney-educated lawyer Jojo Leviste.
With the foundations of its future fixed firmly on the City of Golden Friendship, the IDC IPO will likely be viewed as a barometer of investor confidence in Mindanao, in general; and in Cagayan de Oro, in particular.
Of course, it will also be seen as a vote on IDC’s seemingly counter-intuitive and potentially disruptive business model: target the up-and-coming cities, instead of the already established ones; and offer them elegant yet accessible eco-friendly buildings in safe locations.
To Nati and Leviste though, just getting to the IPO stage is already a victory in itself.
Nati reveals that before Primavera even broke ground, many were discouraging them from doing their debut development in Cagayan de Oro, questioning the location, the market and its readiness.
But Leviste happily points out that the doubters have since been proven wrong. Units at the first condo tower in Primavera were snapped up predominantly by local residents and by overseas Kagay-anons, putting to rest the notion that the market was not ready for condo living and high-rises.
The company’s emphasis on design has also reaped rewards, including Best Mixed-Use Development in the Philippines at last year’s International Property Awards in Kuala Lumpur, Highly Commended Condo Development from the Southeast Asia Property Awards in Singapore, and a Special Energy Award at the Design Against the Elements Competition in Quezon City.
Going public will mean many things to the different stakeholders in the future of IDC. For the company, the fresh funding will fuel the development of Primavera City, which it forecasts will fast-track the arrival of locators to the Uptown business district. For Cagayan de Oro, the spotlight on IDC will showcase how the city is both investor-friendly and investment-worthy. For the whole of Mindanao, the listing can only bolster confidence in much-anticipated growth led by its Northern gateway.
The investor vote on the trail blazed by IDC is crucial. A yes will ensure not only the development of what will likely be a new landmark for Cagayan de Oro, but the construction of what could be a catalyst to bring in long-awaited locators. A yes will also be a validation of IDC’s deeply-held belief that the future of the Philippines – perhaps even of the rest of ASEAN – lies in designing emerging cities, to make a difference.