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Eton to push through with construction

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 [ manilatimes.net ]

ETON Properties Philippines Inc. said it plans to go full blast with the construction of its first six projects despite the surging prices of basic construction materials.

The Lucio Tan-owned property firm said it would pursue construction this quarter of four of its high-rise residential towers. These are the Eton Residences Greenbelt, the Eton Baypark Manila, One Archers Place and Eton Emerald Lofts.

Danilo Ignacio, Eton president and chief operating officer, said that Eton Cyberpod Centris, the company’s first business process outsourcing (BPO) office building, recently topped off and is scheduled for completion by yearend. Its three-building BPO complex, Eton Cyberpod Corinthian, located at the corner of EDSA and Ortigas avenues, also began concrete pouring activity this month.

Ignacio said that Eton remains bullish despite the challenging economy and soaring prices of construction materials due to the strong sales of its residential condominium projects and strong interest from BPO companies awaiting completion of the office buildings.

He said the company has preordered P600-million worth of steel bars in advance, sufficient to cover the construction of its initial projects.

The company last month bagged tax perks and other incentives from the Board of Investments (BOI) for its two low-cost housing projects in Metro Manila. The company is spending P1.090 billion for the development of One Archers Place in Taft Avenue, Manila and Eton Emerald Lofts in Ortigas Center.

The One Archers project will cost P550.735 million, and involves the development of a 3,134-square-meter land and the construction of two 31-story residential buildings with 1,330 housing units. Based on its BOI application document, 1,322 of these are designed as low-cost housing units.

Eton Emerald Lofts is expected to cost P540 million. But only one of the two 40-story residential towers is seeking perks from the BOI. About 442 of the 540 units in Tower 1 will be allotted for mass housing. The one-bedroom loft units will each have a floor area ranging from 32.78 to 42.28 square meters.

Construction is set to begin in September and is expected to generate 360 jobs.

The firm’s application for registration as a new developer of mass housing projects is covered by the sub-category of low-cost mass housing under Preferred Activities of the 2008 Investments Priorities Plan.

Eton is hopeful the incentives will lead to even more positive income projections and allow it to further bring down the prices of its socialized housing units. Recently, the BOI upheld its support for the construction of mass housing projects to address the country’s housing backlog. --Katrina Mennen A. Valdez

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