FEDERAL LAND, Inc., the property arm of the Metrobank Group, will build a P15 billion six-star hotel building in Fort Bonifacio as it lures travellers and companies from cramped Makati to the emerging central business district of Taguig.
The amount will form part of a P27 billion and P30 billion investment of the company in the next four years, Executive Vice-President and General Manager Luis E. Icasiano told BusinessWorld.
The 66-storey hotel building will sit on top of a grade-A office occupying part of a 25-hectare property, the first of its kind in the country. Construction will start in the first half.
"We are now expanding our portfolio from just residential and office buildings. We want to take advantage of the real estate market, which is still up. We are trying to build another hotel, which will be a world-class type," Mr. Icasiano said.
He said the company is finalizing the contract with a well-known hotel brand. "It will be another premier development that will add prestige to the city of Taguig. We want to create a landmark, as our chairman calls it. He wants to create an impact in that part of Metro Manila."
Federal Land has asked global design firm Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc. (HOK) International Ltd. to complete the master plan of the northern part of Fort Bonifacio.
It will cover a 10.4-hectare property owned by the country’s largest lender, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank), and two lots covering 15.3 hectares of state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
Mr. Icasiano said there would be a high-end residential tower that will carry the name of the hotel, as well as a convention center, sports club and retail components. "It is a mixed-use development. We plan to make the main avenue similar to Orchard Road in Singapore where you have retail [outlets] on the side," he said.
Federal Land has launched four other projects worth P15 billion. One of these is the Grand Midori Makati, which will rise on a 3,900-square meter property owned by Metrobank. The high-end twin tower residential condominium will be located along Legaspi St.
Its other condominium projects are The Midtown Garden Mansions in Paco, BayGarden Club and Residences in Metropolitan Park along Roxas Blvd. in Pasay and Marquinton Garden Terraces.
A nine-tower residential complex that will occupy 2.9 hectares, The Marquinton Garden Terraces is the newest gated residential project inside Federal Land’s mixed-use development in Marikina City. This will be located along Sumulong Ave.
Federal Land is promoting its projects abroad, targeting income-rich overseas Filipinos. It is specifically focusing on Europe, with the US credit crisis continuing to drag sentiment in the world’s largest economy. The company opened an office in Milan, Rome last year.
"Focusing on Europe is a natural tendency... We plan to open more offices in Europe," Mr. Icasiano said. He added that they are looking next at Barcelona and London.
The Philippine real estate sector is expected to thrive amid a global economic turmoil as back-office outsourcing and offshoring compensate a projected growth shortfall in the call center segment.
Mr. Icasiano cited the need to have a healthy balance between end-users and investors. He noted that unlike in the US where there had been speculative property buying, the market for overseas Filipinos is strong.
"There is no heating up of the industry. As long as overseas Filipinos are investing in Manila and lending rates are low, that will benefit the industry," he added.