P25 B MORE FOR CEBU

By Aileen Garcia-Yap, Marites Villamor Ilano |April 25,2015 - 01:22 AM

3  mixed-use   Ayala projects to rise  in Cebu, Mandaue, Mactan
Superblock in   Cebu IT Park to have mall, hotel, BPO towers

Ayala-owned companies will continue to shape  Cebu’s  landscape as they build more master-planned townships  and malls in the  cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

Aniceto V. Bisnar, Jr., Cebu Holdings, Inc. (CHI) president, said they will invest at least P25 billion more in Cebu in the next five years.

The plans were reported in CHI’s annual stockholders meeting in Cebu City.

Aside from a  superblock with two BPO towers, a mall and  hotel  to rise in the center of Cebu IT Park,  new townships are planned in the neighboring cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu.

In the pipeline are mixed-use business districts in Mandaue city  and Mactan in partnership with AboitizLand, Inc. and the Gaisano-owned Taft Property Ventures and Development Corp., respectively.

The 13-hectare project in Mactan will capitalize on Cebu’s booming tourism industry.

“It is set to become the mixed-use leisure and resort community of choice,” Bisnar told stockholders yesterday.

Bisnar was appointed CHI president in  January succeeding   Francis Monera, who remains on the board of directors.

A  15-hectare city center in Subangdaku, Mandaue City will offer residential units and commercial spaces  for  retail and offices.

A “couple of negotiations are ongoing” to acquire  properties that could be developed for mixed-use townships, said chief finance officer Enrique B. Manuel Jr.

“Mas mahirap maghanap ng lupa, lalo na sa Cebu, kasi masikip at mabundok ang Cebu (It’s harder to find properties in Cebu because it’s congested and mountainous),” he said.

CHI is also developing Amaia Steps, a mid-rise residential development in Mandaue City, in partnership with sister company Amaia Land, Inc.

The projected investment of P25 billion in the next five years  is  62 percent more than the  P40 billion that CHI and subsidiary Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp. (CPVDC) have poured into Cebu in the last 26 years.

Bisnar said the company will continue to improve the  50-hectare Cebu Business Park and the 27-hectare Cebu IT Park which make up the Cebu Park District.

These twin growth centers will “continue to play a vital role in Cebu City’s economy,” Bisnar said.

Cebu Business Park transformed  what used to be the Club Filipino golf course owned by the Province of Cebu. It  is now considered Cebu’s financial and commercial hub.

Cebu IT Park, built on  the old Lahug airport, hosts 70 percent of  business process outsourcing (BPO) companies in Cebu. Both districts employ nearly 70,000 workers. CHI projects the population in both districts to grow 20 percent this year.

A total of 17 buildings are under construction in both parks that will offer additional gross floor area of 308,758 square meters.

In five years, total gross floor area in both districts is projected to nearly double to 1.4 million square meters for office, commercial and residential use.

SUPER BLOCK

A two-hectare mixed-used superblock will rise at the center of the Cebu IT Park in line with the live-work-play concept that Ayala projects are known for.

Dubbed the Central Bloc, it will feature two BPO office towers, a 500-store Ayala mall, and a 214-room Seda Hotel. This will offer additional gross floor area of 172,000 square meters in three to five years. It will be connected to The Walk through a one-story retail component complemented by open space.

While CHI focuses on property development, it will also start to engage in retail operations.

The company will now have direct ownership of retail outlets, starting with concession stands outside its movie theaters.

“It’s not a game changer, by any means. It’s just an increased line of business,” Manuel said.

It will hopefully boost revenues “if we do this properly,” he added.

Stockholders yesterday ratified a board resolution amending the company’s articles of incorporation to allow it to engage in “all forms of business and mercantile acts and transactions.”

The company ended 2014 with a strong balance sheet as net income reached P530.9 million, a year-on-year increase of six percent. This was the “highest yet recorded since 1988,” Manuel said.

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