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Manila Jockey allots P15B for 3 township projects

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) Updated May 31, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Horse racing operator Manila Jockey Club is funneling at least P15 billion over the next 10 years into three township projects with a combined area of 300 hectares, as it hopes to ride on the expected tourism wave.

In a briefing following the company’s stock rights listing ceremony yesterday, Manila Jockey executive vice president and chief operating officer Alfonso Reyno III said they are fasttracking the development of the 77-hectare San Lazaro Leisure and Business Park in Carmona, Cavite and the 16-hectare township in Sta. Cruz, Manila, as well as laying the groundwork for a resort and leisure hotel in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.

Reyno said the company would source funding from a combination of debt and equity. Manila Jockey raised P287.49 million from a recent stock rights offering.

He said about P5 billion of the programed capital budget will go to the Manila township, which include the development of a two-story casino with a floor area of 6,000 square meters. The casino will house 500 slot machines and 50 gaming tables. The company is currently awaiting the terms of the license to operate from stage gaming firm Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. Development of the casino would take 26 months to finish.

To complement the casino, a 250-room Mercure hotel to be managed by the Accor international hospital group, as well as an open air commercial area patterned after Xin Tian di in Shanghai, China with retail shops, garden restaurants, entertainment plaza and a 500-slot multi-level carpark, would be put up.

To add to the existing Avida Towers, Celadon Residences and Celadon Park, a four-tower residential apartelle and condominium with approximately 2,000 units would also be built.

Around P3 billion to P3.5 billion has been earmarked for the completion of the Cavite township, which features the first racino (racing facility with casino) in Asia with a floor area of 13,000 squre meters. A four-storey Turf Club building houses a racing grand stand and airconditioned viewing gallery, banquet area with a seating capacity of 1,000 people and the Pagcor VIP Club with 242 slot machines and eight gaming tables.

With all 792 residential units in the 18-hectare Canyon Ranch completed and sold, the group is now preparing for the development of a five-cluster mid-rise residential condominium complex overlooking the race track. A 200-room resort hotel and spa are likewise in the pipeline to cater to the needs of both horse betting aficionados and the leisure travellers.

Also being planned is a sports club that will feature a wakeboard water area similar to the CamSur watersports complex, two soccer fields, a baseball diamond field and an Olympic-sized competition pool.

For the Mamburao project, which signals the company’s entry into resort development, Manila Jockey is planning to build a 150-room resort hotel with sports and driving facilities as well as a mountain side Golf Club within the initial 77 hectares being targeted by the firm.

Reyno said the company eventually wants to own a total of 230 hectares in the area as it seeks to build a world-class community for foreign retirees.

The project, which is on the opposite side of Puerto Gallera, occupies a 2.5-kilometer beachfront.

While Reyno expects property development to contribute significantly to the company’s bottom line, he believes that sports betting still has ample room for growth.

He said the firm’s venture with GMA Network unit GMA New Media which would involve the provision of technology needed to make horse racing betting available over the Internet and mobile phones, would boost the group’s revenues.

Reyno said a new company is in the process of being set up to serve as the corporate vehicle for the project.

He said the partnership with GMA New Media would expand the reach of betting and upgrade the multimedia coverage applied by the company.

Reyno said the possibilities of digital technology could also be applied in many sports like cockfighting.
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