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Bidders wanted for Fort Bonifacio lots

Vol. XXII, No. 188 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES


THE STATE agency in charge of selling an 8.38-hectare military land in Taguig will accept proposals to counter Megaworld Corp.’s P2.789-billion unsolicited bid to develop the property starting Thursday, an official said yesterday.

The process, which is different from a regular bidding, will ensure that the sale of the Fort Bonifacio property pushes through despite the economic downturn, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Vice-President Aileen R. Zosa said.

Megaworld submitted an unsolicited bid last year, and thus, under state joint venture rules issued by the National Economic and Development Authority last year, the proposal will be subjected to a "competitive challenge," Ms. Zosa said.

Megaworld will win the deal if it is able to match the best of the counter offers. "[What is] proposed by Megaworld is residential [use] with [some] retail and office [spaces]," Ms. Zosa said, referring to the North Bonifacio area that sits mostly between the parallel Eighth and Ninth Avenues.

The developer had offered P33,283.88 per square meter or a total of P2.789 billion for the property. Megaworld will spend P15.6 billion to develop the land.

In a disclosure yesterday, Megaworld said it had completed talks for the venture with BCDA.

"Challengers can propose a different land use from that of Megaworld," Ms. Zosa said, noting other developers like Ayala Land, Inc. and China’s Shimao Group would be invited to bid.

The pre-qualifying process for counter-bidders will be from April 29 to May 8, while proposals will be due in June as the deal is expected to be closed in August.

BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Narciso L. Abaya, for his part, said: "There is no fall in prices. Had we disposed of this before the world financial crisis, we would have been asking for the same amount."

The lots up for bidding are the last of the undisposed military land in the area as the rest lie in the South Bonifacio section, Mr. Abaya said at the same briefing.

The 35-hectare Joint United States Military Assistance Group or JUSMAG area in the south will be sold within the year as well. Ayala Land has submitted an unsolicited proposal but BCDA will wait for the master plan which it had commissioned to be completed next month before acting on the bid, Ms. Zosa said.

The JUSMAG lots have been appraised at P10,000 to P15,000 per square meter.

Ms. Zosa was less upbeat on BCDA’s expected proceeds for the year, saying the amount might fall short of 2008 levels with the downturn dampening demand for condominium units, from which the BCDA gets a share.

"Conservatively, it may [fall to] P3 billion to P4 billion [from the P5.007 billion in 2008]," she said. "Our income [partly] comes from share of property sales. The construction of condominium towers this year may be put on hold. Developers with projects on the ground are still on track so far but we want to be conservative," Ms. Zosa said in Filipino. — Jessica Anne D. Hermosa

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