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Anchor Land bullish on property ventures outside Binondo

Monday, June 22, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]


NEWLY-LISTED property company Anchor Land Holdings, Inc. will venture outside its traditional Chinese-Filipino clientele in Binondo to expand its market base.

The company is also in the process of entering the commercial center sector and plans to complete within the year the acquisition of the Admiral Hotel in Malate, Manila from the Lopezes.

"We plan to acquire three more lots in various locations [so that we will be able] to target not only [Chinese Filipinos] but everyone. The company does not want to be confined in that market and would like to step out of the Chinese community," Anchor Land vice-chairman Steve Li said in an interview.

Mr. Li said the first stride would be the four-tower Solemare Parksuites being built at the ASEANA Business Park in ParaƱaque.

"Instead of going abroad, we plan to target the local buyers. The demand here is still strong and we believe the local buyers are sustainable as most of them are end-users," Mr. Li said.

But he said the company would not totally abandon its niche market as demand remains buoyant, as shown by the zero cancellation rate among Chinese-Filipino customers.

This year, Anchor Land plans to spend around P2.5 billion for its projects — higher than the P2 billion it spent last year.

Among the projects that the company plans to finish is the 55-storey condominium tower Anchor Skysuites in Binondo, Manila, which will be the tallest building in the city once completed. The 3,000-square-meter (sq.m.) property will have 330 units, the smallest of which will be a 95-sq.m. two-bedroom unit. The biggest will be a 250-sq.m., five-bedroom unit.

The P3-billion flagship project is touted as the first luxury building in Chinatown. Anchor Land will start preselling units this year and expects to complete the building in 2014.

Aside from Anchor Skysuites, the company will start the construction of a 38-storey high building in Manila. The P1.2-billion Wharton Parksuites is meant for casual living and plans to tap students who are studying in Chinese schools around the area.

By end of the year, Anchor Land will also start turning over units at the 43-storey Mandarin Square in Binondo.

Anchor Land recently acquired two commercial buildings at Baclaran in ParaƱaque and Pasay, the One and Two Shopping Center, respectively. This marks the five-year-old company’s entry into the commercial property sector.

"Anchor Land plans to target wholesalers and provincial buyers. There is a strong demand for these kinds of facilities," Mr. Li said.

Mr. Li also said the company hopes to close within the year the acquisition of the eight-storey Admiral Hotel on Roxas Boulevard.

The group plans to redevelop the hotel and might convert it into a boutique hotel. It will also build a residential condominium near the area. The whole project is expected to cost around P4 billion.

"The hotel industry is not the focus at all [but] in case we close the deal, we will maintain it because of its historical value," Mr. Li said.

Anchor Land closed the first half with P83 million in profits, higher by 83%. It more than doubled profits last year to P236 million as real estate sales remained robust. Shares in Anchor Land did not move at P6.50 apiece on Friday. — K.J.R. Liu

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