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Eton Properties defers plan to construct hotel in Manila

Posted on December 01, 2011 11:03:19 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

ETON PROPERTIES Philippines, Inc. is putting off plans for a hotel development as it looks to focus on building office spaces instead to complement its existing residential portfolio, ranking officials yesterday said.

Eton Properties, a unit of the Lucio C. Tan group of companies, earlier said it was in talks with foreign hotel operators for a hotel in its 12-hectare township project called Eton Cyberbod Centris, but so far no contract has yet been forged.

“We will not focus on hotels in the meantime, but we will in the future.

The bigger demand right now is in BPO (business process outsourcing), and that’s what we will be building,” Erwin M. de Pedro, Eton Properties senior assistant vice-president for marketing, said in a press briefing yesterday.

Eton Properties is instead aiming to grow its BPO office space portfolio, which in turn is seen to fuel demand for units in nearby residential developments, Mr. de Pedro said.

“BPO will be a major thrust for next year,” Danilo E. Ignacio, Eton Properties president and chief operating officer, echoed at the same press briefing, adding that the company’s further expansion plans will likely take place north of Metro Manila where other major developers have not fully penetrated.

The real estate developer is eyeing the construction of a BPO office building in Belton Place instead of the planned businessman’s hotel.

“The BPO building is currently in the design stage, but construction may start next year, and we expect to finish it in the first half of 2013,” Mr. de Pedro said.

A BPO development is also currently being studied for Eton City, a complex in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, because of a high demand for office space in the area, Mr. Ignacio added.

Two BPO buildings -- One and Two Cyberpod Centris -- have already been erected and fully leased in Eton Centris. Two more are expected to open in late 2012 and early 2013, respectively, adding 34,000 square meters of gross leasable space.

In addition to Eton Centris and Eton City, the developer also built the one-hectare Eton Cyberpod Corinthian in Ortigas Center, where a cluster of three fully leased, four-storey BPO office buildings with a total space of 25,589 square meters had been constructed.

Eton Properties was incorporated in 1971 under the name Balabac Oil Exploration & Drilling Co., Inc. to engage in oil exploration and mineral development projects in the Philippines. It eventually changed its primary purpose to a holding company, with real estate development and oil exploration as among its secondary purposes.

It currently operates three brands: high-end Eton, middle-income Belton, and affordable First Homes. The firm has launched 43 projects since it entered real estate development in 2007.

Eton Properties realized P182.74 million in its third-quarter net income, 21.6% higher than last year’s P150.27 million due to lower costs and expenses, according to earlier reports.

Shares of Eton Properties closed unchanged at P3.25 yesterday. -- Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente

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