By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 23, 2015 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines would need more reclamation projects and the government would have to be more supportive of such developments for the country to continue progressing in the coming decades, a top executive from one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia said.
In a chance interview, SM Prime Holdings Inc. chairman Henry Sy Jr. slammed the country’s bureaucracy for the delays hounding the reclamation and development of a combined 600 hectares of land along Manila Bay.
“The government is taking their sweet time. But definitely we have to move on,” Sy said, referring to SM’s P100 billion reclamation project in Pasay and Parañaque which are awaiting final approval from the National Economic and Development Authority.
“The country needs reclamation for progress. We cannot be stymied by government bureaucracy,” Sy said.
SM Prime bagged last year contracts to reclaim and develop 300 hectares each in the cities of Pasay and Parañaque.
SM Prime intends to integrate development of the two areas in what it expects to become a “future city.”
The firm has contracted New-York listed firm Aecom Technology Corp., one of the world’s largest engineering companies, for the project’s master planning.
“It will come out but we still don’t know when,” SM Prime executive vice president Jeff Lim said on the release date of the masterplan.
Aside from the Pasay and Paranaque projects, SM Prime also won a deal to reclaim and develop 1,500 hectares in Cordova, Cebu.
When asked if the company is still looking out for more land to reclaim in the country at present, Sy said “those two are enough for now, they are still unfinished.”
Meanwhile, Sy said SM Prime’s wholly-owned residential developer SM Development Corp. (SMDC) is ramping up its expansion next year on continued strong demand in the country’s residential property market.
Sy said SMDC intends to launch between five to 10 projects next year.
“SMDC, we’re into everything now, even mid-rise. In the past, we sell around 15,000 units every year but by next year it should grow to 20,000 units,” he said.