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Construction giant wants to renovate, restore Compania Maritima, Freedom Park

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram - CDN Digital | February 27,2020 - 11:39 AM

The Compania Maritima building. CDN Digital drone photo | Raul Tabanao

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Construction and engineering conglomerate Megawide Construction Corporation has submitted an unsolicited proposal before the Cebu City Government for the restoration and renovation of two of the city’s historical sites.

Lawyer Floro Casas Jr., Cebu City Administrator, confirmed to Cebu Daily News Digital in an interview on February 26, 2020, that the Saavedra-led firm expressed intentions to restore Compania Maritima, and improve Freedom Park, which includes parts Carbon Public Market. 

“They wanted to restore Compania Maritima as well as to modernize Freedom Park, which includes Units 1, 2, and 3 of Carbon Public Market, to highlight their heritage values,” said Casas.

Casas said the city received the offer from the construction giant in 2019, and is proposing for a joint venture between the two parties. 

The proposal is now being reviewed by the city’s Technical Working Group of the Joint Venture Committee, he said. 

Findings of the committee’s review, according to Casas, will then be reported to executive officials, including Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella, wherein further discussions are expected to take place. 

The proposal from Megawide, one of the builders of Terminal 2 of Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) that was launched in 2018, is the first unsolicited, joint-venture proposal offered under Labella’s administration. 

It can be recalled that retail giant SM also expressed interests on developing Carbon Public Market. 

Read: Labella: SM to fund construction of a modern Carbon Public Market

“What they (Megawide) submitted was the detailed document of their joint-venture proposal, making it the first being offered to the city government as of this point,” said Casas. 

Currently, there are at least two joint venture agreements the city government of Cebu has entered into, both of which involved multi-billion-peso projects, and now being undertaken. 

These are the joint ventures with Cebu City Link Expressway Corporation (CCLEC) for the 3rd bridge connecting mainland Cebu and Mactan, and Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) on developing Kawit Island in South Road Properties (SRP). 

UHRI is a real estate development arm of Gokongwei-led JG Summit Holdings. 

Casas said the company had tourism as the primary consideration on renovating Compania Maritime and Freedom Park, both of which are just a stone’s throw away from the Cebu City Hall. 

He also said the proposed project will be of no cost of the government. 

CDN Digital is still verifying with the Joint-Venture Committee on the cost pegged to implement the project proposal.  

“Aside from doing business with the city government, they disclosed that they are primarily considering tourism. They emphasized preserving the heritage value of both Compania Maritima and Freedom Park,” he added. 

Compania Maritima is the name given to the shell of a three-storey structure visibly seen from the southern portions Mactan Channel, and at the southern end of the subway tunnel leading to the SRP.

The building’s origins remain ambiguous but several sources claimed that with its neoclassical design, it could have been constructed in 1910 or during the American occupation in the Philippines. 

It also used to house the Shamrock Hotel and later shared space with Manila Steamship Company, which had offices on the ground floor.

The property was even the subject of a legal battle between the Cebu City Government and Cebu Port Authority (CPA) from 2013 to 2016. /bmjo

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TAGS: Cebu city government, Compania Maritima, develop, Freedom Park, joint venture, Megawide Construction Corporation

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