Cebu City grants building permit to Gokongwei’s UHRI; P25-B ‘Isla dela Victoria’ now a go
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Office of the Building Official (OBO) has released the building permit of the Gokongwei-led Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI), allowing the developer to push through with the Isla dela Victoria project at Kawit Island on South Road Properties (SRP).
Architect Florante Catalan, the OBO head, said that UHRI managed to complete by end of August all the requirements for the multi-billion-peso project, which qualified the firm to secure a building permit.
The city was able to collect P4.9 million in building permit fees for the project, Catalan revealed.
“Dako ilang bayran nga building permit fees kay dako man sad ang project (They have to pay more because their project is big),” said Catalan.
The issuance of a building permit signifies that UHRI can now begin developing Kawit Island in SRP. Furthermore, a change of heart by Mayor Edgardo Labella allowed them to pour more investments into the project.
Isla dela Victoria is a pet project of former Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña that was objected to by the opposition bloc in the city council led by Labella, then the vice mayor, on the ground that the city was not getting its due share from the project.
Labella, who defeated Osmeña in the elections last May, said he decided to allow UHRI to develop Kawit Island after the developer proposed to invest more into the project.
From the original P18 billion, UHRI has increased its investment to P25 billion, while retaining the original plan that the city shall receive 10 percent of the gross real estate rental revenues from commercial/shopping centers and the parking lots, 10 percent of gross real estate rental revenues from the integrated resort, 15 percent of gross real estate rental revenues from the casino facility, and 10 percent of the gross real estate rental revenues from hotel rooms.
Labella said that the increase in investment is now acceptable because this will bring the city’s total shares to about 40 percent compared to the original 10 percent.
However, he said he will not allow the UHRI to reclaim the adjacent shore of the site because allowing them to do so would make the reclaimed area the property of UHRI.
The mayor said he wants to keep Kawit Island a property of Cebu City for all time. /elb
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