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‘Samal Highlands’ wants to sell to doctors in NY, LA, Las Vegas

Vol. XXII, No. 183 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES


DAVAO CITY — An upscale property complex in the island city of Samal is focusing on medical professionals, both local and foreign, as its primary market.

Jonathan A. Alegre, a member of the board of directors of the RJP Realty which is behind the Samal Highlands Garden Resort, said his team would soon market the project in Las Vegas, New York and Los Angeles in a bid to encourage Filipino medical professionals to buy lots in the 45-hectare project.

The team will also make a sales pitch in European cities where Filipino nurses are employed, he added.

Mr. Alegre, also the president of the Tagum Doctors Hospital and the Davao Medical School Foundation, said several local medical professionals have already bought lots at the Samal Highlands.

"[Medical professionals are] a big market particularly because our nurses and medical doctors have worked abroad and can still afford to buy these properties [despite the global crisis]," he said.

Lemuel R. Podador, president of RJP Realty, said negotiations with banks have started to raise funds for Samal Highlands Garden Resort, as an additional P300-million loan would be needed to augment the P800-million project.

Samal Island will soon be home to a medical tourism complex. — BW FILE PHOTO

The project is in a good position to attract foreign buyers because it will have medical tourism facilities, he claimed.

Among the key amenities of the project would be a special clinic and other medical tourism facilities in Samal Highland’s medical tourism complex, Mr. Alegre said.

"That makes our project unique [compared with other projects in the nearby city]," he added.

The first phase of the project is the Emilia Garden Residences, an 18.9-hectare "farm subdivision" with 119 lots.

Mr. Podador was optimistic that even with the economic downturn, the lots would be completely sold within the year. The subdivision is home to 1,500 mango trees, making it "truly a garden," he added.

Under standard agreements between the property developer and lot buyers, only 25% of the lots could be used for the house, which will be limited to two floors. The rest will be for gardens and other developments, said Ramon L. Ortiz, director of the company.

The smallest lot in the subdivision is 750 square meters, while the biggest is 1,000 square meters.

The second phase of the project is the 65-lot Terazzas de San Isidro Ridge Lot and Villas, which will be home to bigger villas, he said. The third phase is the Costa de Azure Beachfront Development, which will cover the medical tourism complex and a hotel.

The fourth phase, meanwhile, is the San Isidro Cove Marina and Yacht Club which will feature tourist amenities like floating restaurants, officials said.

Other key features of the project are a 300-meter zipline and a "black" mangrove plantation to be supervised by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources.

"We are optimistic that we can complete this project in three years or even less. And we are going to fast-track everything," Mr. Alegre said, pointing out that the company has limited the number of its real estate brokers to just 10 because it expects to run out of lots to sell before the end of the year. — Carmelito Q. Francisco

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