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Four developers air interest in Ortigas property

Posted on February 12, 2012 10:14:40 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

AT LEAST four developers could be pitted against each other for rights over a prime, state-owned property in the Ortigas business district, which should be auctioned off this year.

Filinvest Land, Inc. and Robinsons Land Corp. aired interest in bidding for the Government Service Insurance System’s (GSIS) 18,498-square-meter (sq. m.) lot while SM Development Corp. and Ayala Land, Inc. said they were studying their prospects.

The lot, which is currently used as the impounding lot of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is among GSIS’ assets slated for the auction block.

This comes on top of the old Manila Jai-Alai property in Ermita, Manila and the former GSIS office in Makati City which the state agency is looking to sell off as well.

“Filinvest Land is interested in joining the bidding for the MMDA impounding area. At least right now, we believe it’s a good area, and we’re really keen in participating,” Adrian V. Bancoro, Filinvest Land corporate information officer, said in a telephone interview last week.

Robinsons Land -- which already has a sizeable presence in Ortigas with its mall, hotels, and office building there -- similarly said it was eyeing the area.

“Robinsons [Land] has consistently expressed its interest in several GSIS properties, especially those that are really strategic such as the MMDA lot,” Edgardo Samson, Robinsons Land project manager, said in a separate telephone interview.

“We will be interested but it will depend on how GSIS values the property and the existing values of the surrounding areas,” Mr. Samson said.

Ayala Land and SM Development, for their part, said they were looking into the area.

“Ayala Land is always on the lookout for properties in strategic areas, so we will definitely study the MMDA site,” Pamela Ann T. Perez, Ayala Land investor communications and compliance head said in a telephone interview.

Jose T. Gabionza, SM Development’s vice-president for business and development meanwhile said: “We are going to look into it. We have to study a lot of things before we do participate or acquire the lot.”

SM Development is currently building M Place @ Ortigas, a condominium at the back of the MMDA property. The SM Group also has a mall in the area.

The MMDA property’s proximity to several residential and commercial developments makes it an attractive investment for companies, a real estate consultant said.

“Ortigas in general, is what I consider as a connecting city. The labor pool comes from areas like Quezon City [who] work in Makati [City] and Bonifacio Global City. Thus, the area is interesting to investors since it can potentially be on the supply- or demand-side of the economy, as a place to work and live,” Eric Manuel, founder and senior advisor of consultancy Brycg Group, said in an e-mail last week.

“The property is in a great location. The Ortigas market could cater to both the mid-market and upscale market since there are a number of international organizations such as the Asian Development Bank which has a significant number of both expatriate and local workers,” Mr. Manuel added.

Last Friday, shares of Robinsons Land rose by 1.94% to P14.70, while SM Development was unchanged at P7.20 apiece.Ayala Land rose by 0.42% to P19.18, while Filinvest Land was grew 1.69% to P1.20. -- Franz Jonathan G. de la Fuente

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