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Cebu provincial gov’t to pursue stalled ‘Ciudad’ development

Posted on 08:58 PM, June 09, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

CEBU CITY -- The Cebu provincial government is keen on implementing a commercial development project that has been stalled because of the ongoing conflict between Cebu Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia and Cebu City Mayor Tomas R. Osmeña.
Rory Jon Sepulveda, Capitol consultant on information and revenue generation, said the governor will meet with investors next month to discuss the proposed Ciudad project.
The Fifth Avenue Property Development Corp., a consortium of Singapore- and Hong Kong-based businessmen with Filipino counterparts, wanted to invest P1.2 billion on the development of a 2.8-hectare provincial government-owned property into a commercial complex with areas for shopping, entertainment, and dining.
Ciudad will also have museum that will showcase Cebu’s cultural heritage.
Fifth Avenue executives held groundbreaking ceremonies for the project in 2006, but Mr. Osmeña blocked the project to retaliate against the governor by refusing to issue a locational clearance for the project and declaring a moratorium on development in the area.
The province-owned property is located in Banilad, which is under the jurisdiction of the city government.
With Mr. Osmeña leaving City Hall on June 30 to serve as congressman representing Cebu City’s south district, Mr. Sepulveda said provincial government officials are hopeful the project will now push through.
“I am an incurable optimist. We have to see the bright side of things.
We are scheduled to meet with the investors in July,” Mr. Sepulveda said in an interview.
Fifth Avenue had proposed to undertake the project under a build-operate-transfer scheme. At least three groups have showed interest in constructing a business hotel to complement the project.
Construction of Ciudad would have started in January 2007. But work has been frozen since the city government refused to issue a permit in February 2007.
After his term as mayor expires on June 30, Mr. Osmeña will take over as congressman of Cebu City’s second district. Banilad will not be under his jurisdiction as this falls under the north district.
The incoming Cebu city mayor is Vice-Mayor Michael Rama, an Osmeña ally but has expressed openness to cooperation with the provincial government. -- Antonio Antogop, Jr.
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