PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

Ayala starts construction of mall, hotel in Oro

Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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AYALA Land Inc. has already started its pile driving this month for the much-awaited P4.5-billion Ayala Mall and Hotel along C.M. Recto Avenue, which is expected to open in 2012.
Engr. Emilio Tumbocon, Senior Vice President-VisMin Group of Ayala Land Inc., said the mall sits in a 70,000-square-meter three-storey environment-friendly building.
He said the Ayala Mall and Hotel in Cagayan de Oro will be similar to the high-end Cebu mall.
Aside from offering the latest trends and brands, Tumbocon said the mall will also serve as a recreational area for clients with its four movie houses, fine dining, fast food and merchandises from international brands.
Meanwhile, Tumbocon said the 17-storey hotel is designed to be environmentally sustainable with an interior that is innovative and classy mixed with modern architecture.
"The 150-room hotel will cater to the fast-rising city of Cagayan de Oro," he said.
Citing Cagayan de Oro as the gateway to other parts of Mindanao, Tumbocon said
Ayala Land is not putting the mall in the city to compete with other malls but to address the need of the city's residents.
"Ayala would make Cagayan de Oro as the major shopping destination in Mindanao since this would be the biggest mall in the region, which will further boost the city as a haven for investment," Tumbocon said.
After Cagayan de Oro, Tumbocon said Ayala Land is planning to put up another mall in Davao City. (Nicole J. Managbanag)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on December 01, 2010.

Property firms brush aside toll hike

Tuesday, 30 November 2010 00:00
By Krista Angela M. Montealegre, Reporter
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THE planned toll increase in the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) will not have a material effect on real estate sales in Southern Luzon, property firms said.
Real estate developers such as Ayala Land Inc., Eton Properties Philippines and Empire East Land Holdings, which have existing projects in Laguna, said the benefits stemming from the planned toll hike would compensate for the higher rates.
Just like any price increase in consumer goods, customers would eventually be able to adjust and shoulder any hike in toll rates, analysts also said.
“Take for example the price of oil, no matter how much its price goes up, people will still use their cars to go to work. People will be able to adjust,” said Jun Calaycay of Accord Capital Equities Corp.
“More or less, customers are already prepared to carry the burden of increase in costs,” said Astro del Castillo of First Grade Holdings.
Calaycay said most developers that have projects in the South have built integrated communities, which offer complete amenities like leisure and commercial parks and business centers so residents in the area do not have to spend much for transportation.
“The selling point for those projects is the integrated communities which may provide a balance for the toll hikes,” he said.
SLEX links Southern Luzon to Metro Manila. The Laguna area has become an attractive location for residential projects because of its proximity to Metro Manila.
“The benefits of an improved and properly maintained SLEX should outweigh the incremental increase in toll—improved driving experience, more efficient vehicle maintenance, better travel time to and from office, among other things,” Jenylle Tupaz, Alveo Land project development head, said.
ALI has a 1,750-hectare eco-community development in Canlubang, Laguna called Nuvali where Alveo has two residential projects, namely Venare and Treveia. Alveo has another development, Verdana Homes Mamplasan in Binan, Laguna.
“Alveo projects in the South offer priceless and incomparable living experiences that the market continues to value and appreciate so pretty much our sales outlook continue to be optimistic,” Tupaz said.
Antonino Aquino, ALI president, said project construction would continue regardless of an increase in tolls.
“For Eton Properties Philippines, Inc. and its flagship project Eton City, the pending toll increase in SLEX will have minimal impact on project sales,” Erwin de Pedro, Eton Properties senior assistant vice president for marketing, said.
The Lucio Tan-led real estate company has a 1,000-hectare township project in Sta. Rosa Laguna dubbed Eton City.
De Pedro said the buyers for its mid-range projects Riverbend and West Wing Residents come from the South, while consumers of the high-end South Lake Village will barely feel the toll increase.
Charlemagne Yu, Empire East president, said it would be good if costs do not increase, but this would be inevitable since the government has contractual obligations to fulfill.
“What we have to consider also is that there is a need for more infrastructure in our country. Unless we perform our end of the obligation, we may not be able to attract investors for the needed infrastructure works,” said Yu.
Empire East, a property firm owned by tycoon Andrew Tan, has the Sonoma in Sta. Rosa, and the Laguna BelAir, its first township residential development in the area.
SLEX contractor South Luzon Tollways Corp. has already been granted a new toll rate of P2.68 a kilometer for class 1 vehicles, which was scheduled for implementation in June.
Under the new matrix, the new tolls from Alabang to Calamba will be P77 from the current P22 for light vehicles, P155 from P43 for buses, and P232 from P65 for heavy trucks and trailers.
The implementation was deferred after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) based on the cases filed by several petitioners including lawyer Ernesto Francisco and Gov. Joey Salceda of Albay.
The TRO has been lifted, but the petitioners sought clarification from the Higher Court on whether the lifting of the order included the Salceda case, while the Toll Regulatory Board is conducting a review of the computation of the new rates.

Court upholds South Superhighway toll

[ ] November 29, 2010
THE Supreme Court removed the legal roadblock to a 250-percent increase in the South Luzon Expressway’s toll rates after it dismissed another petition seeking to stop the Toll Regulatory Board from imposing the increase.
The Court on Nov. 23 dismissed the petition against the increase filed by Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, saying it had ruled on the same issue on Oct. 19 and Salceda “has not raised, in this recourse, any new issue.”
The Court also ordered the lifting of the restraining order against the higher fees that it issued on Aug. 13 so that the operator of the toll road could start collecting the higher rates.
The Court said the increase in the toll rates that Salceda wanted stopped had already been remanded to the Toll Regulatory Board for review, and to determine whether or not the expressway’s operator was entitled to the increase.
The high court on Oct. 19 affirmed the constitutionality of the Toll Board’s issuances on the rate increase on the 30-kilometer South Luzon Expressway following the road’s upgrading. It said the board also had the power to grant the authority to build and operate toll roads by way of a toll operation agreement.
The higher toll fees on the rehabilitated road also need not require a public hearing before it could be imposed because those were initial, the Court said. Rey E. Requejo

Belle eyes Macau firm as partner in $1-billion project

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) Updated November 30, 2010 12:00
MANILA, Philippines - Belle Corp. may likely tap a Macau-based gaming firm as partner for its planned $1-billion entertainment complex to be built along a reclaimed portion of Manila Bay.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, majority owner of Leisure & Resorts World Corp. (LRWC), said they are in discussions with a Macau-based casino operator to build the country’s largest casino complex and expects to conclude a deal before the end of the year.
LRWC is the local partner for the gaming component of Belle’s multibillion-peso integrated resort project.
Benitez refused to divulge the identity of the Macau-based casino firm, saying Belle/LRWC shall make the necessary announcement as soon as negotiations are completed.
Under the plan, the world-class integrated resort will feature hotels, condotels, serviced apartments, swimming pools, spa, retail shops, restaurants, theaters, indoor and outdoor theme park, parking and meeting facilities.
Although Las Vegas still has the reputation, Macau is now believed to be the world’s biggest center for gambling, having taken over from its American counterpart statistically since 2006.
Belle’s casino complex, estimated to cost around $350 million, is targeted for opening in the third quarter of 2011, featuring 1,500 slot machines and 250 tables. It will be developed in three phases over a five-year period.
The first phase will comprise the casino with around 100 VIP suites and two 15-story hotel towers of 500 rooms.
Together with the SM Group, Belle has committed to plunk in $1 billion into the project over a 25-year period. The SM Group will provide the entertainment facilities which will include hotels, a sports arena, a museum and an oceanarium.
The project, when completed, is expected to boost Belle’s cashflow. Belle’s crown jewel to date is its flagship 1,500-hectare Tagaytay Highlands.
Belle, majority owned by the Sy family, also generates equity earnings from Pacific Online Corp., the exclusive online lottery systems provider in the Visayas and Mindanao, as well as from upscale property firm Highlands Prime.

Vista Land set to spend P1B for lifestyle portion in Alabang in next six months -- official

Posted on 09:21 PM, November 29, 2010 [ Businessworld Online ]
VILLAR-led Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc. has started integrating its leasing and commercial ventures into a master-planned residential development.
The Evia masterplanned city in the Las Piñas-Alabang area will be an P11-billion project in the next five years, the listed property developer said in a statement during the weekend.
The company has allotted P1 billion in capital expenditure in the next six months for the Lifestyle Center, which is set for a groundbreaking in December, said Vista Land Chief Executive Benjamarie N. Serrano.
“We are looking at total capital expenditures of about P11 billion in the next five years for Evia, as we build out major components including the Lifestyle Center, the Riverwalk, the church and the University Town together with continuing residential developments,” Ms. Serrano said.
Existing developments in a 150-hectare portion of Evia are three high-end, mid-range and economic-level residential buildings of Vista Land’s Brittany, Crown Asia and Camella brands.
Brittany’s Portofino, Crown Asia’s Ponticelli, and Camella’s Cerritos, now have about 5,500 residential units.
Ms. Serrano said these projects will allow Evia to accommodate other residents and locators.
The master plan for Evia, which will be a self-contained, 600-hectare community with business, commercial, educational and leisure districts, will integrate concepts in urban development, community planning, environmental and energy friendliness.
Integrated property projects
“Years ago, we recognized that some of our extensive land bank would be used for integrated property projects, and not solely residential communities,” Ms. Serrano said.
She added that residents and locators need communities with a wide range of facilities, resources and services.
The property developer wants to record about P1 billion of earnings from leasing commercial and office space in the next few years.
Vista Land wants Evia to attract residents across all brands and a range of commercial locators, businesses including business process outsourcing and information technology companies, health care entities and educational institutions.
Vista Land operates under a total of five brands.
Brittany consists of house-and-lot units for as much as P9 million each while Crown Asia has units priced from P3.5 million to P9 million.
Camella Homes offers units worth P3.5 million and below, Communities Philippines sells Camella Homes in the provinces while Vista Residences is their condominium arm.
The company, owned by the family of Senator Manuel B. Villar, Jr., has so far delivered about 200,000 units to buyers since 1977.
Shares in Vista Land, whose profits rose by 16% in the nine months that ended in September to P2.16 billion amid brisk residential sales, closed three centavos lower at P3.21 each on Friday. -- Neil Jerome C. Morales

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