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Vista Land eyes top mall developers as partners

By Neil Jerome C. Morales (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 19, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Vista Land & Lifescapes Inc., the country’s largest homebuilder, is looking to partner with top local and foreign mall developers to fasttrack the expansion of its own shopping mall brand Vista Malls.

Vista Land will bank on its wide network of residential communities as a captive market that will support profitable mall operations, its top official said.

The property firm is in talks with big local and foreign players in the shopping mall business for potential tie-ups, said Vista Land chairman, former Senate President Manuel B. Villar Jr.

“Every year our knowledge of these things are improving. Our confidence is going up every year and we have started looking seriously at these proposals (for partnerships),” he said.

Villar said Vista Land plans to put up 50 Vista Malls in the next five to six years to improve the company’s recurring income. It has four commercial centers so far.

He said Vista Malls is eyeing for a strong partner that can help the growth of the company.

For its part, Vista Land will offer locations for new shopping malls.

“Our strength is we have the communities. I think we are the only one who can say that with the middle class (residents), our communities have the purchasing power,” Villar said, adding that Vista Land’s residential projects are spread nationwide.

In the past 38 years, the property firm has completed more than 250,000 housing units in 31 provinces and 64 cities and municipalities around the country.

The property sector in general is expected to witness more partnerships in the next few years in terms of malls, retailing and real estate as a shortcut for expansion, Villar said.

However, the homebuilder is not in a rush to close partnership deals, he said.

On its own, Vista Malls is ready to expand its footprint next year as the company learns more from listed Starmalls Inc., the mall and office leasing unit of the Villar family.

“We have a decent program, not too aggressive,” Villar said, adding that new Vista Malls will be put up in areas near Camella homes.

Specifically, the property firm will put up the new phases of Vista Mall in Presidio in Sucat and Evia in Daang Hari. It will also build a Vista Mall in San Fernando in Pampanga and in Antipolo.

In January to September this year, Vista Land’s profits hit P3.8 billion, up 17 percent from P3.2 billion a year ago while real estate revenues picked up 22 percent to P14.8 billion from P12.2 billion on the back of robust residential takeup.

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