Balancing Work And Life With Point Blue
What drove you to develop your own micro-apartment business here in the Philippines?
The number one influence is probably the nine years I spent working in New York City. My first job paid minimum wage and therefore I lived in a minimum wage apartment. As my career progressed, I was able to slowly upgrade my living spaces. It was a fantastic feeling being able to finally afford my own apartment, despite it being in a 100 year old building in Harlem, 150 blocks from where I worked. I ended up living in seven apartments in NYC and well over 20 across the world. I guess I can say that my natural perspective is that of a career tenant. I know what we want.
The second influence would be my exposure to entrepreneurship and the real estate sector. I take a math-first approach to all businesses, and once I confirmed my inputs, it was full speed ahead.
How has the response been since you’ve opened?
Our first building has been operating for over 2 years. It's not uncommon to find the building fully occupied. We haven't been aggressive marketing our buildings, and instead choose to allocate our spending on the product itself. From there, the building should market itself. The feedback has been great and we enjoy high occupancy rates across all of our properties. But, I tend to focus on where we can improve so if a tenant is not happy, I feel for them! We are constantly trying to improve our product to make our tenants as happy as possible. When something's not right, I feel for them!
What motivated you to expand Point Blue’s reach?
I see a divide between Manila's CBDs and their peripheral barangays. The far majority of wealth and infrastructure is located in these commercial islands (BGC, Makati CBD, Eastwood City, etc.). Going back to my experience in New York, young people actually prefer living in the peripheral neighbourhoods, where they can find more arts and culture. An example is the East Village in NYC. It started out as tenement housing but has morphed into a centre of nightlife and culture. I have a vision for the barangays of Manila, and that is to create the same for young professionals working here. Cool bars in New York are rarely located in glass towers; same for restaurants. We want to democratise the wealth from Manila's CBDs and create more interesting—and of course affordable—neighbourhoods.
Are you looking into provincial business districts as well?
Yes! The market for housing is huge. But it's more than just providing a product. At the core of our business is proving that good design doesn’t have to be expensive. We want to make sure we have pride in our projects, regardless of location. So we need to study each location carefully to make sure that we continue to exceed market expectations.
What do you hope to ultimately achieve through your company?
With the help of other developers, we hope to transform the peripheral barangays to centres of gravity. From a company perspective—and not just through our current product—the long-term vision is to raise the bar. By hiring the best team, incorporating technology, and being truly thoughtful throughout our development and operational processes, our goal is to improve our city skyline.
The development of micro-studios in Makati and BGC is constantly proving this. And in time, you should see our products and philosophy grow across the Philippines.
For more information, visit pointblue.ph