By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Associate Editor

KMV Asia Development Corp. is hoping to distinguish itself from other real estate firms by focusing on sustainable and environment-friendly projects.

Kaydee Marie O. Velasco, founder and chief executive officer of KMV Asia, is a “green” architect, having been one of the first BERDE-licensed professionals in the country.

BERDE, which stands for Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence, is the voluntary green building rating system created by the Philippine Green Building Council.

“For me, you should select what is best for your country. BERDE is the rating system for the Philippines. To compare, the main component of LEED is power… In Philippines, the main problem is drainage… BERDE’s main points are drainage system, rainwater harvesting, sewage treatment and accessibility to the public,” Ms. Velasco told BusinessWorld in an interview earlier this month.

A BS Architecture graduate of the Far Eastern University (FEU) in 2011, she said the school “honed me, helped me get out of my comfort zone.”

After graduation, Ms. Velasco started at Palafox Associates, where she became an associate architect.

“I worked with Architect (Felino “Jun”) Palafox from OJT (on-the-job training) to my first months, I was directly coordinating and studying with him. The main point I learned was conceptualization to have a longer period, we don’t jump into planning. I learned a lot from the development side,” she said.

At Palafox, she worked on projects for the American Battle Monuments Commission, Friday’s Boracay, and Department of Health.

But in 2013, she decided to leave Palafox and start her own company KMV Architectural Design Creations. One of the firm’s first projects was the Gregorian Mall in Legaspi, Albay.

“I incorporated sustainable features. We saved the trees. We planned the building was surrounded by trees. We made sure there was passive cooling and natural ventilation, and saved the natural resources and components of the site. I started all my developments like that, so they tagged me as the sustainable architect,” Ms. Velasco said.

With her own company, she worked on commercial and industrial projects, including the master plan for industrial parks.

“To make (industrial parks) more sustainable, you have to incorporate everything — mixed-use, residential component, hotels, administrative, because before it was only administrative. All of the utilities, warehouses are in the industrial park. So it’s live, work, shop, dine and play,” Ms. Velasco said.

In 2016, Ms. Velasco incorporated KMV Asia as a real estate development company. KMV Asia was also tapped as the principal architect and project manager of Singapore-based Barons Group of companies.

The same year, the company partnered with businessman Dr. Robert C. Sy for a sustainable community called Venessa’s Heights in Liliw, Laguna.

“It’s a three-hectare development, expandable to 10 hectares. We donated 3,000 sq.m. of land to the municipality. We’re building a mall. We’re in talks with Robinsons, Savemore, Handyman, and Daiso (for the mall),” Ms. Velasco said.

Venessa’s Heights also offers house-and-lots in a residential community, and has a food park called Parque de Lilio, which is scheduled to open in June.

In Metro Manila, KMV Asia’s projects include Vive, a six-storey mixed-use development along Montojo St., Barangay Tejeros, Makati City.

“In our (condominium) developments, we have 10% less in saleable areas because we make sure our hallways are artsy, more sustainable. Our hallways have graphics, have natural ventilation, sustainable plants or artificial plants mixed with real plants. We have natural lighting,” Ms. Velasco said.

Vive Makati offers 40 units between 26 square meters (sq.m.) and 29 sq.m. Price ranges from P3.1 million to P4.4 million. Construction is ongoing, and the project is expected to be completed by March 2021.

Ms. Velasco said the company is developing another condominium project along Araneta Avenue corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City.

“For me, I want to make sure to have our projects have the three E’s — Economy, Environmental and Efficiency,” she said.

KMV Asia currently has ten to 12 projects in the pipeline.

“We’re venturing in different things. Our closed developments include a 15-storey hospital in Roxas Boulevard for the Daughters of Charity… We also have (a project) in Carmona, Cavite. We have another Vive in Makati, and another in Quezon City near Fisher Mall,” she said.

Aside from property development, Ms. Velasco said the company is now expanding into food and beverage.

“We do have leasing. We are expanding. What’s our edge over other companies? We’re not just developers. We’re an all-in-one dynamic firm into sustainability rating, master planning, architecture, engineering, project management, development management and real estate development. If you need a development manager, we can do that as well,” she said.