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Ayala, SM vie for Negros property project

By Danny B. Dangcalan (The Philippine Star) Updated July 13, 2011 12:00 AM
BACOLOD CITY , Philippines – Ayala Land, Inc. is planning to invest P6 billion on a convention center, BPO (business process outsourcing) center, hotels, and a shopping mall on a 7.7-hectare property owned by the Negros Occidental provincial government that is up for bidding, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. said Monday.

SM Prime Holdings, likewise, is planning to spend P2.5 billion for a convention center, two hotels, and a shopping center on the same property, the governor said.

“This will be the biggest investment in the province so far. It will definitely change the landscape (of the province). It must conform to the culture and aesthetic beauty of the Negrosanon,” Marañon said.

According to the governor, the winning bidder will be that company which can make the better offer for both the technical and financial criteria.

Ayala and SM are the only bidders to the 7.7068-hectare property of the provincial government. The first bidding, June 24, and the second bidding on July 1 were both considered “failed biddings” by the committee on awards and disposal of property chaired by Marañon.

Other members of the committee are provincial administrator Enrique Pinongan, assistant provincial legal officer Mary Ann Lamis, provincial engineer Ernie Mapa, provincial assessor Merlita Caelian, provincial accountant Lucille Pines, and board member Patrick Leonard Lacson.

In the first bidding, only Ayala Land submitted its bid, and its papers were returned unopened for the second bidding schedule.

Rep. Albee Benitez, a friend of the Sy family that owns SM Prime, argued that since SM Prime was the first to submit last month an “unsolicited” intent to purchase or lease some of the portions of the seven-hectare property, its proposal should be recognized as a formal bid by the Provincial Capitol.

In the second bidding, SM Prime and Ayala Land both submitted proposals. But Maranon said there were many technical reasons why the second bidding failed. One of them is that under the Commission on Audit (COA) rules, there should be a minimum of three bidders otherwise the bidding is invalid.

Marañon said that since the second bid failed, Ayala Land and SM Prime Holdings have agreed to go into a “negotiation” (negotiated bid) which has been scheduled on July 15.

The governor did not disclose the amount being offered by either Ayala Land on SM Prime Holdings. However, he told the media the amount of investments being proposed by two companies.

Ayala Land Negros branch head Therese Borromeo and SM City Bacolod mall manager George Jardiolin visited Marañon at the Provincial Capitol yesterday but they avoided media interviews.

Marañon explained that of the total 7.7068 hectares that are up for bidding, 3.6 hectares will be for sale, and the 4.1 hectares will be for lease.

Those for sale are on the back portion of the Provincial Capitol building, while those for lease are from the Philippine National Bank down to North Capitol Road, to Aguinaldo St, and to Gatuslao St. until the National Food Authority building, he said.

He said there are no claimants to the Capitol property that is up for bidding, since the litigation was already decided by court with finality.

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