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Developing Real Estate Property - the Jeffrey Campos Way


Greenfield President and Chairman of the Board Jeffrey D.Y. Campos (right) and his EVP and GM Atty. Duane A.X. Santos at the Twin Oaks Place Showroom
Greenfield President and Chairman of the Board Jeffrey D.Y. Campos (right) and his EVP and GM Atty. Duane A.X. Santos at the Twin Oaks Place Showroom
Society knows him as the unconventional businessman. A Marian devotee, the scion explains why he believes he's doing God's work by introducing 'intelligent homes' to the Philippines.

JEFFREY CAMPOS is not a conventional developer. While his colleagues are in business suits and barongs, he wears long-sleeved shirts accentuated with healing beads on his wrists and neck. Strands of Tibetan beads, pearls and a cross, which he uses to heal people, are hidden underneath his shirt.

And he'd rather be in the company of the religious and mystics, than the café society. Yet, he strikes a balance between his avocation and his business.

His late father, Jose Yao Campos, a Chinese-Filipino, established United Laboratories (Unilab), the country's largest pharmaceutical company, and several real estate developments. The youngest of three children, Campos, 58, is chairman of the real estate firm Greenfield Development Corporation. His older brother Joselito D. Campos is chairman of Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation and NutriAsia Group of Companies, while his sister Jocelyn Campos-Hess is board chairman of Unilab. Duane Santos, executive vice president and general manager of Greenfield, says that in interviews, the press is often more interested in Campos' personal life than his business.


Intelligent Home

Earlier this year, Santos told Campos that Cisco Systems International, a corporation that sells information technology services and electronics, had invited Greenfield to Korea to preview its fiber optics technology in home automation. Campos had wanted to introduce the smart home in the country, but nobody seemed to understand him. Campos went with his team to Korea. He made a side trip to Nanju, home of visionary and healer Sr. Julia Kim.

Twenty years ago, Campos met Sister Julia through Fr. Jerry Orbos, missionary director of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) Mission Office. Campos was suffering from mitral and aortic valve collapse and liver cirrhosis. The presence of a healer changed his destiny, as it made him more spiritual.

When Campos visited the smart home of the Cisco chairman, he was eager to strike a deal. The visit had changed the positioning of Twin Oaks Place, the first residential condominium in the country to tout it self as a "future-ready home". The 43-story twin tower development will rise in the Greenfield District, a mixed-use development center in Mandaluyong City.

Twin Oaks Place is making a bid to be a triumph of home automation, allowing inhabitants to control security, lighting, air-conditioning, curtains and a home theater on the Internet. The unit aims to run everything off a smart phone, a laptop or iPad.

For OFWs, the target market, the telepresence works like Skype, on real time. It gives the feeling that you're talking to the person in the same room. Asked if selling 750 units is a little too much for a saturated condominium market, Campos remains optimistic. "There are 10 million OFWs. The demand for units is strong."

Then, there are also buyers who can afford two or three condos and give one to their relatives. A 33 sqm studio with a 2.8m high ceiling starts at P3.2 million, while a 44 sqm unit will cost less than P6 million. The buyer gets the basic automated lock system with the code; the other applications come with additional costs.

"It will be a well-made condo with a real plan for the future of the buyer. With fiber optic technology, they can use their mobile phones to see what happens in their unit, or to impress their boyfriend or mistress because everything is ready."


God's Gift

Greenfield District is a significant project. Santos explains that in the past, Greenfield kept a low profile, putting such partners as Ayala Land and Century Properties in the front line. During Campos' time, Greenfield Development Corporation is launching products on its own. Formerly a grassland, Greenfield District will be built with five offices, retail spaces and 12 residential buildings, all connected by elevated walkways. The development debunks Campos' iconoclastic image. Campos says he has been involved with Greenfield Development Corporation since 1970, at age 18.

Whenever he felt lonely as a teenager, he would drive to Maunong and Sitio in Calamba, Laguna, to commune with nature. His father's staff would reprimand him for entering NPA territory. Still, the elder Campos had the vision to purchase the properties. Today, it is a luxurious property called the Ayala Greenfield Estates. In 1995, the younger Campos acquired a huge lot in Ambrigon, where the Ayala Greenfield Golf Course and Leisure Club is located. Campos manages Greenfield's properties in Santa Rosa, Greenfield District and Twin Oaks, Pramana Residential Park and Solen Residences in Sta. Rosa.

Back in the '90s, Campos was handling Terra Fortuna, the high-end subdivision in Sta. Rosa. Campos was struggling with his heart ailment that work had to take a back seat. But real estate remained his calling. "Greenfield is the Lord's reward because I was doing what He wanted."

More than five years ago, Campos convinced his father and his partner M.K. Tan to develop Greenfield District. "I told my dad that he was too conservative. If he wanted Greenfield to earn, it should not be subsidized by Unilab. It wasn't until we took over that it developed. "The original plan was done in 1993 by no less than I.M. Pei. However, neighboring landowners opposed the plan. "People were worried that they would lose their big lots. They did not understand that they could go vertical. My father was trying to work things out with other landowners, but the plan died a natural death. My dad gave me the authority to take over, but he died. It took six months before I became chairman of the board. As time went by, things changed. From 200 hectares, it became only 11 hectares", he says.

When Campos launched Greenfield District, he hoped to acquire the neighboring properties. Instead, three other real estate firms put up some competition by launching their own condos. Campos is confident about Twin Oaks Place because of its innovation and premium positioning.


Family Connection

Campos is a good negotiator, Santos says. "He'll give as much to his customers as he can in terms of quality of the work. As a boss, he is relentless; he'll make sure he'll get things done the way he wants. He knows he can deliver quality better than the competition."

Campos is modest. "My parents refused to let us be high profile. My dad was very conservative. Even in Marcos' time he refused to have his picture taken. Not that he didn't want to be associated with him; he was just shy. He believed that the business became successful not because of Joe Campos, but because of his people. This is how I feel about my group."

Campos credits his father for the expansion of his real estate business. "We planned Twin Oaks in 2008. Before we could do it, the market crashed. People asked, how do you know when to do it? My father was the guide. There is such as thing as a connection with a loved one."

"My father and I understood each other. Like any family, there are misunderstandings, but in the end, you know they meant well." Between business meetings, Campos hosts a program on Radyo Veritas, "Alay Kay Maria". "I'd rather be interviewed about Mama Mary", he says, downloading a photo of the famous Our Lady of Fatima in his BlackBerry phone. "She opens and closes her mouth, shows her teeth, cries, and changes color. She sends messages of what she wants and how she feels. The first major message of healing was in February 2006, about the "Wowowee' tragedy. She cried in the Pasig Cathedral after it happened. But that's another story."


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