DLSU-Villa Abrille Center to rise in Davao
MOU signing spells the start of something
big and noble for Davao Global Township
Text and Photo by Nate C. Barretto
What greater inspiration could there be, than in true virtue driving development? As rare as these occasions come by, one is shaping up in the form of a new campus of De La Salle University (DLSU) in the midst of the most exciting modern township emerging in the south – Matina, Davao City.
Yesterday (May 27, 2019), YHEST Realty Development Corp. executives signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with DLSU officials for the establishment of the DLSU-Villa Abrille Center for Professional Development – offering academic programs for continuing education – at the new Davao Global Township (DGT).
YHEST is a joint venture between regional developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) and the Yuson, Huang, and Tan families belonging to the Villa-Abrille clan of Davao, one of the oldest families in the province whose earliest generation can be traced to 1862 and once held control of up to 600 hectares of land in Matina, Davao.
Fast forward 150 years later to today and 5th generation Villa-Abrille descendant, Frederick H. Yuson who is President and CEO of YHEST, said their family is brimming with green La Sallian pride and, therefore, “giving back” by providing DLSU the space at its prime development area to promote continuing education programs.
“This has always been the vision of our family,” said Yuson. “These are exciting times for Davao and the Philippines and we are happy to have partners like DLSU to embark on new projects with us.”
YHEST’s Davao Global Township or DGT development is envisioned to transform the 22-hectare Davao Golf Club into an iconic central business district for Davao; and DLSU will be right in the middle of it to occupy a 4,000 square-meter area of three floors at the Corporate Center which will rise as part of Phase 1 of the township project.
CLI Chief Operating Officer Jose Franco B. Soberano, also YHEST director, revealed that ground works on Phase 1 of the P33-billion DGT project has commenced. It is estimated to cost P10 billion and sees completion by 2022.
“The size of the DGT property, our first township development, will allow us to have a diversity of uses to make a complete and truly sustainable community,” said Soberano, citing Davao as one of the fastest growing economic regions in the country.
He said this is the reason why YHEST has enlisted masterplanner RTKL, a global planning and design firm responsible for the revival of some downtown centers in the world, in developing the 93,000-sqm gross floor area that is envisioned to be the future’s central business district with a dynamic lifestyle that will provide economic and social value to Davao.
“Today, we’re seeing tomorrow,” Yuson said at the end of the audio-visual presentation that gave a glimpse of Phase 1 of the DGT development prior to the signing of the MOA at the Henry Sy Hall Roof Deck, De La Salle University, Manila.
It includes two residential towers; a retail strip with cineplex and outdoor retail spaces to be called the DGT Town Strip; a civic center to be known as the DGT Gallery; and a Corporate Center where the DLSU Viilla-Abrille Center for Professional Development will be situated.
Bro. Raymundo B. Suplido, FSC, president of DLSU, cited the virtue of this endeavor with the Villa-Abrille clan who has transcended Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle’s devotion to providing education that addresses the need of the locale.
Citing how the saint’s first Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools provided education for the mariners as it was the calling of those times in the 17th century, so does the planned DLSU-Villa Abrille Center answer to the diversified needs of professions like engineering, architecture and design, business, and computer science and technology.
“The institution will develop a pioneer program in Davao City that caters to capacity-building for future critical trends,” said Bro. Suplido.
Under the MOU, DLSU will be able to use the facility rent-free for the next 25 years. YHEST will also allocate P10 million to assist operational requirements of DLSU and provide them basic interiors for the facility.