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Robinsons shifts focus to comm'l projects

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) Updated August 22, 2012 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - After slowing down on residential construction, Gokongwei-led property firm Robinsons Land Corp. is recalibrating its growth strategy and beefing up its landbank to build a strong pipeline of work in the commercial segment.

“We’re more aggressive now. We’re embarking on landbanking to ensure sufficient land capacity for development,” said Frederick D. Go, president of RLC.

Go said the company remains in talks with Japanese billionaire Kazuo Okada for the latter’s $2-billion casino project in the Philippine Amusement & Gaming Corp.’s Entertainment City along Roxas Blvd. RLC is considering running the retail and hotel operations for Okada’s project. 

In April, RLC said it was inherently cautious about the short-term outlook for the residential real estate market and would rather focus on expanding its shopping mall, office building and hotel operations, which account for more than 65 percent of the group’s total revenues.

RLC is building seven new shopping malls and expanding three of its existing malls to capitalize on strong consumer spending and a growing business process outsourcing industry. Of the seven, three will be built this year while the other four will rise in 2013.

The expansion of the retail portfolio will increase the group’s total mall leasable area to a little over a million square meters (sqm) in two years.

RLC recently completed two mall expansion projects in Tacloban and Bacolod.

Together with the two expansion projects, RLC’s total gross leasable area (GLA) is seen to reach 911,000 sqm at end-September this year. In 2013, RLC will add another 100,000 sqm to bring the total GLA to 1.01 million sqm.

For the office segment, RLC is completing Cyberscape Alpha and Cyberspace Beta in Ortigas by mid-2013.

As for its Go Hotel chain, the company is looking to build four this year in line with plans to hit a 30-branch network over the next five years.

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