On August 29, 2019, Menarco Tower, located on 32nd street, BGC, received its WELL Gold certification. The event, which gathered everyone involved in the development of the Philippines’ healthiest office building for the unveiling of its plaque, also recognized all the challenges that came with the sought-after certification.
Despite the hurdles, it’s all worth it for Founder and CEO Carmen Jimenez-Ong, who calls the building her baby and a “labor of love, blood, sweat and tears.” After breaking ground in May 2014, it took two years to get to the topping off, and another six months to get the elevators working smoothly and to fully energize the building. Add to this the cost of the space itself in a prime location in BGC and it will be easy for any developer to feel overwhelmed by the task at hand. Jimenez-Ong and her team took it in stride and, with a people-centric focus that is not hard to miss, designed a building that is worthy of the international and local awards it has received so far.
A Focus on Family
At Menarco Tower, it is not about the bottom line. It’s all about family, Jimenez-Ong says.
Jimenez-Ong envisioned Menarco Tower to embody understated refinement, timelessness, restraint, elegance, strength, and intuitiveness. Its features were meticulously chosen so that it will stand the test of time and will protect its occupants–even from mother nature.
“We would really love to be successful in being the new breed of developer where we take care of things that are seen and unseen, where you can trust us knowing that when you’re here and the big one strikes, you’ll be able to walk away safely because we have done extraordinary measures to make sure that our structural integrity is in tough form, having been tested abroad, and build so well by our contractors,” shares Jimenez-Ong.
The youngest daughter of Menardo R. Jimenez, Sr., who still can’t grasp that she is now a developer, lent the first project of Menarco Development Corporation (MDC) not just her savviness for learning, but also the passion to make something that is more than just a building. Menarco Tower is slated to be the model for future development projects of the country. It is where people have “the ability to dream and make dreams come true,” in the own words of her father and the Chairman of MDC.
A Passive Path to Wellness
Even Samantha Allen, Asia Director of Business Development of the International Well Building Institute (IWBI), who flew to the Philippines to present Menarco Tower its WELL Gold certification, felt the positive effects of the building within five minutes of her arrival. Foregoing her presentation for a more personal approach in theme with the building’s wellness focus, Allen commends the building for being a “future-forward and human-centric space.”
“There were all these standards out there that looked at how homes and how offices impacted the environment, but no one was actually looking at how it impacted the occupants. They’re like, ‘Okay great, the building’s done, it’s all set.’ Once you fill it with people, no one was caring. That’s where the WELL building standard comes into play,” shares Allen.
To be awarded the WELL Gold certification, Menarco Tower had to tick all the boxes in the WELL score card, which revolves around these seven concepts:
- Optimal indoor air quality
- Safe and clean water for various uses
- Availability of fresh wholesome foods for better nourishment
- Specialized lighting and illumination systems
- Availability of fitness features and components
- Comfortable indoor environment
- Optimum features that nurture health for the mind
Today, health is one concern that impacts everyone. Buildings that focus on its people’s wellness cannot be built just with walls, floors, and ceilings. Each feature in Menarco Tower serves to make occupants strong and fit even as they work hard.
Menarco Tower currently has these WELL-centric features and facilities:
- Filtered air circulation
- Ambient music
- Natural light in fire staircases
- Healthy food choices in the food hall
- Drinkable tap water
Commending Menarco Tower’s efforts, Allen says, “A lot of people might try to get LEED or get WELL for the sake of having a plaque–it’s not about that. It’s about the recognition of a commitment that is already there, and I think Menarco is a fantastic example of that.”