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ALI’s Negros project shelved amid SM’s audit complaints

Posted on April 12, 2012 10:42:36 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

BACOLOD CITY -- Developer Ayala Land, Inc. has shelved plans to develop a state-owned lot here into a mixed-use complex amid a rival’s complaints over the fairness of the property auction.

Ayala Land Senior Vice-President Jose Emmanuel Jalandoni said the company respects the decision of the provincial government to remove the P6-billion Capitol Civic Center project from its priority list and is likewise deferring development plans.

“We wish to inform you that we have therefore decided to focus our development plans and resources on our other projects in Negros Occidental particularly North Point as well as other potential opportunities in the province,” Mr. Jalandoni told Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo G. Marañon, Jr. in a letter dated April 4, copies of which were released to the press.

North Point Estate, a 215-hectare integrated mixed-used project based in Talisay City, is 7.3 kilometers north of Bacolod.

Mr. Jalandoni said, however, that Negros Occidental will remain a growth center for Ayala Land.

He said their company agrees with the governor’s assessment that “the project has been long delayed and is affecting the progress and economic development of Negros Occidental and the Negrenses.”

The governor earlier said that because of the delay, the province is shifting its resources and energy to other worthwhile developments, but he clarified that the fight is not yet over for the provincial government.

“The delay is with CoA (Commission on Audit), but we have to move on, because we have been focusing our energy resources, time and effort on the project,” he said.

Almost nine months after the provincial government awarded its 7.7-hectare property worth P3.5 billion to Ayala Land in a negotiated contract, the CoA created a technical team that is now evaluating the sale and lease deals.

SM Prime Holdings, Inc., which lost in the auction, claims that the CoA had not approved a “floor price” for the property that the provincial government used as a basis to declare the re-bidding a failure and eventually award the property to Ayala Land. -- NLG
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