'High-rise living may be the next big thing'

By Karen Flores, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Nov 17 2009 09:13 PM | Updated as of Nov 18 2009 05:13 AM

MANILA - Filipinos may finally begin to see the beauty of high-rise living, following massive floods caused by recent storms in several areas of the Philippines, a company official said Tuesday.

Robinsons Land Corp. General Manager Henry Yap said Filipinos may start moving to higher ground to avoid a repeat of the devastation caused by typhoons "Ondoy" and "Pepeng" (international code names Ketsana and Parma, respectively), which hit the Philippines in the past months.

The 2 storms have killed hundreds of people and destroyed millions of pesos worth of properties in Metro Manila and in some areas of Luzon.

"More Filipinos will embrace high-rise living. They still prefer single-detached homes, but now they are more open to high-rises," Yap said in a briefing organized by the Philippine Stock Exchange. He stressed, however, that RLC has yet to observe clear trends in the shift to high-rise living.

Yap's projection was supported by Cora Guidote, Vice President for Investor Relations of SM Investments Corp. (SMIC). SMIC, which is owned by mall magnate Henry Sy, has interests in real estate, among many others.

"People are going to areas with higher elevation...There will be more demand for high-rises," she said.

Several companies have bore the brunt of the twin storms as they incurred losses not only in terms of profits but also on damaged infrastructure, overworked employees, and missed business opportunities.

Despite these, however, Guidote expressed optimism that local businesses will find opportunities for growth even in times of natural calamities.

"Who knows, the sale of rubber boats may increase (in the future) because of these floods," she said. With Agence France-Presse