Mactan tourism booster

By Victor Anthony V. Silva |November 10,2017 - 10:43 PM

Three developers team up for P35B Seagrove project

More colors are expected to be added to Mactan Island’s already vibrant tourism industry as three property developers have teamed up for a 14-hectare leisure development in Lapu-Lapu City.

Real estate giant Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) and its subsidiary Cebu Holdings, Inc. (CHI) have joined forces with the Gaisano-led Taft Properties for Seagrove in Punta Engaño, positioned as a “seafront resort and commercial development unlike anything Cebu has seen before.”

“Seagrove brings various attractions that will help boost Cebu’s tourism economy even further and we foresee it as a main tourist attraction for generations to come,” said Meean Dy, senior vice president and group head of strategic land bank management at ALI as well as the president of joint venture company Taft Punta Engaño Properties, Inc. (TPEPI).

The master plan for the project was presented to local media and city government officials in a ceremonial unveiling on Friday.

Fronting a 40-hectare mangrove forest, Seagrove is set to offer a wealth of natural attractions which will provide new adventures to tourists, locals and beachgoers who frequent the island.

According to data from the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7), close to 1.4 million of the 4.17 million foreign and domestic visitors who came to Cebu in 2016 stayed in Lapu-Lapu City.

Dy said Seagrove is ALI’s 24th estate in the Philippines and its first ecotourism venture in Cebu.

It is their fourth estate in Cebu after Cebu Business Park, Cebu IT Park, and recently Gatewalk Central with AboitizLand in Mandaue City.

She pointed out that the country’s burgeoning tourism sector has opened up many opportunities not only for the Ayala group but for other players as well to venture into these kinds of developments.

TPEPI is the owner and developer of Seagrove while ALI has been appointed as project manager.

The joint venture company projected is initially spending P4 billion in the next five years and a total of P35 billion at full development.

The developer expects to complete the whole project in 10 to 15 years.

Approximately 2,000 jobs will be generated during the initial phase and a total of 13,000 in the long term.

Located along the resort corridor of Punta Engaño Road in Lapu-Lapu City, the property is only about 15 minutes away from the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Dy said that Seagrove is envisioned to be the country’s next world-class leisure estate featuring diverse product offerings.

Iris Mediano, vice president and business development head at CHI as well as director at TPEPI, said the project promises to offer a well-balanced mix of boardwalk retail fronting a lush mangrove forest, commercial developments, complemented by social institutions.

She said the estate is designed around central water amenity and open spaces leading to and highlighting Magellan Bay as well as the existing mangrove area.

It will house several hotels with Holiday Inn Resort as its main anchor, along with waterside retail, entertainment and outdoor recreation components.

REAL ESTATE BOOM AND THE GLUT. High rises, some of them with boom cranes signifying that it is still under construction, dot Cebu City’s downtown area. Despite concerns about a glut in the condominium market brought about by more developers entering Cebu’s market, Jose Soberano III, Cebu Landmasters Inc. chief executive officer, told Cebu Daily News during the topping off of their Casa Mira Towers in Barangay Labangon, Cebu City on Wednesday, that the glut has not been felt in the middle income segment and that the condominium market in Cebu is still not saturated.

The initial phase of the project, which will consist of the boardwalk, support restaurants and shops, a portion of the lagoon, an events ground and the pedestrian corridor, is planned to open in 2020.

Global hotel chain Holiday Inn is poised to operate its first resort hotel in the country under the Holiday Inn Resort brand.

Mediano said that with 1,200 hotels worldwide today, Holiday Inn is the largest as well as the most recognized hotel brand in the world and is a welcome attraction at Seagrove.

Edward Gaisano, chairman and president of Taft’s mother company VICSAL Development Corp. as well as TPEPI director, said they believe in introducing pioneering concepts, which is why they are very excited for Seagrove.

“We are introducing something that the market has not seen before, and it will complement the various existing facilities in Mactan, enriching the experience there and affirming Cebu as one of the main leisure centers of the country,” he said.

Taft has had vast experience in residential developments, but Seagrove was something entirely new to them.

But as the firm enters the leisure segment for the first time with their latest project, Gaisano shared it will not be the last since they have other properties on Mactan Island they are considering to convert into leisure destinations.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, for her part, thanked the developers for their trust in her city.

“This is something all of us can really look forward to. Not only will it bolster tourism here but also provide thousands of job opportunities to Oponganons,” she said.

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