Celebrity connections boost Antonio-led Century Properties

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jun 26 2012 07:34 PM | Updated as of Jun 27 2012 03:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Upscale property developer Century Properties Group Inc. on Tuesday unveiled its most prestigious project yet - the $150-million (P6 billion) Trump Tower Manila in Makati City.

The Antonio family invited the sons of high-profile US real estate mogul Donald J. Trump, Donald Jr. and Eric, to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the first Trump-branded property in the country.

Century Properties has made a name for itself with high-rise luxury residential projects, often attached with world- famous names such as Trump, Versace, Missoni and even international socialite Paris Hilton.

Forbes recently did a feature on Jose "Joey" E.B. Antonio, chairman and founder of Century Properties,  who was number 25 on the list of Top 40 richest Filipinos

He was described as having brought "glitz and glamour" to the Philippine real estate market.

But it is Antonio's children, particularly Robbie, who have made valuable connections with celebrities such as the Trumps and Hilton in New York.

Robbie, who is managing director of Century Properties, has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a degree in Economics from Northwestern University. He spent 5 years in New York, where he worked on the The Centurion and enlisted the help of Pritzker Prize Award-winning architect I.M. Pei to design it.

Forbes said Robbie met businessman Richard Hilton, who then introduced him to daughter Paris. Paris visited Manila last year to design the Paris Beach Club at the Azure Urban Resort Residences.

As for how he met theTrumps, Robbie said he was first introduced to Donald J. Trump's daughter Ivanka. Ivanka, who described her family as being very comfortable with the Antonios, told Robbie to meet her father.

During Tuesday's press conference, the Antonios and Trumps highlighted their close friendship, which they say helped make their business relationship easier.

Donald Trump Jr. recalled how he kept seeing Robbie in various events around New York, before they finally got together to work on the licensing deal for Trump Tower Manila.

Eric Trump said working on the Trump Tower Manila project was "especially fun since you've got great families doing something fantastic."

For his part, Robbie recalled negotiations with the Trumps were "tough."

"If they weren't tough, then it would be too easy. We went through ardous process of negotiations, site selection and really getting to know each other on all levels, so the good thing about our relationship is there's a friendship. With that you can solve a lot of problems," he said.

"We learned from each other. Don't let their ages fool you, they have been trained by the best and I mean that with utmost respect and admiration."

With a good business relationship between the Trumps and the Antonios, it is no wonder why the two families can't wait to work on other projects in the future.