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Ayala revives Bacolod talks

By Jenniffer B. Austria | September 10, 2013 ]

Ayala Land Inc., the biggest property company in the Philippines, said Monday it will resume talks with the provincial government of Negros Occidental over the development of the 7.7-hectare Bacolod Capitol project.

Ayala Land said in a disclosure to the stock exchange it received information from the provincial government that the Commission on Audit in a resolution affirmed the finality of a Sept. 21, 2012 ruling that approved the conditional deed of sale and the contract of lease between the company and the province.

“We welcome the decision of the Commission on Audit and remain in close coordination and discussion with the province of Negros Occidental on the Bacolod Capitol project,” Ayala Land said.

Ayala Land in September last year said it was disengaging from the P6-billion proposed development of the 7.7-hectare property in Bacolod because of delays and legal disputes over the property.

Ayala Land said in June this year that it was again open to negotiations of the Bacolod property, although it was still concerned with a pending legal case, which may affect the company’s long-term development plans for the lot.

Ayala Land earlier said it planned to invest P6 billion to transform the Bacolod property into a mixed-use development with residential and commercial projects.

It has said it will “build an integrated mixed-use civic and commercial center that will combine the center of government with commercial and residential uses, making the growth center of Metro Bacolod and Negros Occidental—the Capital Civic Center—one-of-a-kind convergence of business community and government.”

“The proposed development will be consistent with the vision of developing the provincial capitol property in a manner that will realize and uphold the sustained cultural, civic and economic ideals of the provincial government and of the entire province of Negros Occidental,” it added.

SM Prime Holdings Inc., the country’s largest shopping mall operator and developer, has contested the award of the property to Ayala Land.

SM Prime last year filed a petition in court questioning the award of the  provincial government of Negros Occidental. SM Prime claimed that it submitted a far more superior bid during the July 7, 2011 auction of the 7.7-hectare property.

SM Prime said it offered to purchase portions of the property at P18,885 per square meter and lease the remaining portion at P65 per sq. m., or well within the price set by the awards committee.

SM Prime said Ayala Land submitted a bid that effectively offered to purchase the property at P17,000 per sq. m. and a lease arrangement of P50 per sq. m.

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