Tuesday, June 30, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]
Property developer Anchor Land Holdings, Inc. has acquired the Admiral Hotel on Roxas Boulevard from the Lopez-Araneta family, as part of a planned P4-billion investment in the prime Manila Bay area.
In a disclosure yesterday, Anchor Land said wholly owned subsidiary Manila Tower Development Corp. has acquired all the 249,000 shares of Admiral Realty Co., Inc., which owns the hotel, for P360 million.
The exchange suspended the trading of Anchor Land yesterday pending the property company’s disclosures. The suspension will be lifted once the property firm has satisfied the inquiries of the bourse.
"The company plans to redevelop the property into a boutique hotel, as well as put up an upscale residential condominium beside the hotel," Anchor Land Vice-Chairman Steve Li said in a statement.
Mr. Li described the acquisition as the company’s "important first step" to make its presence felt in the Roxas Boulevard area, adding that Anchor Land plans to invest up to P4 billion for the redevelopment in the next few years.
"The Admiral Hotel investment is part of Anchor Land’s strategy to strengthen its position in the upscale condominium market. The hotel’s historic past will be a prime consideration in the development plans," he said, adding that part of the plan is to have Admiral Hotel’s premium unit face Manila Bay.
Completed in 1939 by Salvador and Victoria Araneta, the Admiral Hotel hosted Manila’s elite during the prewar American colonial occupation, and accommodated visitors such as US President Herbert Hoover, Britain’s Lord Mountbatten, and General Douglas MacArthur.
Until the early 1980s, the Admiral Hotel was among distinguished landmarks along Roxas Boulevard. It was shuttered in the late 1990s.
Anchor Land plans to spend a total of P2.5 billion this year, mostly for acquisition of properties in various areas in Metro Manila for future development.
The newly listed property company has been making plans to venture outside its traditional Chinese-Filipino clientele in Binondo to expand its market base, and is in the process of entering the commercial center sector.
The group’s first stride outside its traditional market is the four-tower Solemare Parksuites being built at the ASEANA Business Park in Parañaque.
Aside from Solemare, other projects in the pipeline include the 55-storey condominium tower Anchor Skysuites in Binondo, Manila, which will be the tallest building in the city once completed.
The company will also start the construction of a 38-storey building in Manila which will be known as the Wharton Parksuites. It will start turning over units of its 43-storey Mandarin Square in Binondo by yearend.
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 closed at P6.40 per share on Friday. — Kristine Jane R. Liu