PHILIPPINE REAL ESTATE and RELATED NEWS in and around the country . . .

8990 Holdings president passes away

October 17, 2019 | 12:02 am [ ]

8990 Holdings, Inc. announced on Wednesday the passing of president and chief executive officer Willibaldo J. Uy.

The listed property developer told the stock exchange yesterday Mr. Uy had lost his life on Oct. 15.

“The Company deeply mourns the passing of Mr. Willibaldo J. Uy. The Company will continue to remember and appreciate his achievements for, and contributions to, the Company,” it said.

Mr. Uy’s post will be filled by Alexander Ace Sotto, chief operating officer of 8990 Holdings, until the appointment of a new president.

Mr. Uy joined 8990 Holdings as independent director in August 2012. He became its chief operating officer in February 2016 and president and chief executive officer in January 2018.

Under his leadership, 8990 Holdings posted a 13% jump in earnings, ending 2018 with a net profit of P4.67 billion on the back of a 15% rise in revenues to P11.75 billion.

While he served as the top official of 8990 Holdings, Mr. Uy held concurrent positions within the Phinma Group of Companies.

He was formerly the president and chief executive officer of Phinma Property Holdings Corp., president of Asian Plaza Inc., senior vice-president of Philippine Investment Management (Phinma), Inc., executive vice-president of T-O Insurance Brokers, Inc., and vice-president and treasurer of Mariposa Properties, Inc.

Mr. Uy was also a member of the board of directors of Microtel Development Corp., Phinma BPO, Union Galvasteel Corp., Trans-Asia Renewable Energy Corp., Phinma Foundation, Inc. and Mariposa Foundation, Inc.

He likewise sat as president and chairman of the board of Rockwell Center Association, Inc. He was also the managing director of CMTC International Marketing Corp. and treasurer and director of American Home Appliance Marketing Corp.

Mr. Uy finished an executive program from the National University of Singapore and University of California, Los Angeles in 1992. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business in 1986, and obtained his degree of Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management from the De La Salle University in 1979. — Denise A. Valdez

Manila office rents continue rising

October 15, 2019 | 12:06 am [ ]

Rental rates of office spaces in Makati City and other central business districts in Metro Manila continue to rise. -- FILE PHOTO

OFFICE rental rates in Metro Manila grew by an average of 12.5% year-on-year during the third quarter of 2019, driven by the completion of more prime office spaces in the period, according to real estate consultancy services firm Cushman & Wakefield (CWK).

CWK said average asking rent prices in Metro Manila climbed to P994 per square meter (sq.m.) per month, which also marks a 3.6% increase on a quarterly basis, based on a property report penned by CWK Director for Research, Consulting, & Advisory Services Claro Cordero, Jr.

Mandaluyong City delivered the fastest growth at 19.5% year-on-year to P908 per sq.m. per month, given the completion of Podium West Tower and consequent rental adjustments in other buildings.

Taguig City commands the highest rate at P1,249 per sq.m., followed by Makati at P1,235 per sq.m. Meanwhile, Parañaque and Pasay’s rents have also surpassed the P1,000 per sq.m mark at P1,050 and P1,025, respectively.

“Over-all rental yields are estimated to further compress due to further cuts in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ policy rate and the continued growth of investors’ confidence in the market,” according to the report.

Overall vacancy rate stood at 4.2%, against a total inventory of 7.639 million sq.m. Mandaluyong has the highest vacancy rate at 31.2%, while Pasay City has the most compressed at 0.1%.

CWK counted more than 1.779 million sq.m of office spaces currently being planned and constructed in Metro Manila.

“By end-2019, an additional 520,000 sq.m. of office space is expected to be completed, albeit completion of some developments is likely to spill into early 2020,” CWK said.

Among the significant projects that will add more space in the market is the Ayala Triangle Garden Tower 2 in Makati City with about 65,000 sq.m., and the SM City North Edsa Towers 1 and 2 in Quezon City with 39,000 sq.m.

Meanwhile, CWK also noted that demand growth from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) are expected to slow down due to the government’s decision to suspend the issuance of operating licenses to new players.

POGOs were seen as one of the growth drivers for office space demand in the first three quarter of this year, with operations concentrated mostly in the Bay Area in Pasay City.

“On the other hand, the real estate expansion and flight to quality of other local industries (such as financial services and pharmaceuticals), as well as expansion of information technology-business process management companies, will buoy office space demand,” the company said. — Arra B. Francia

One firm’s simple idea to make rents more affordable: no deposit

October 15, 2019 | 12:05 am [ ]

Rents in New York City have continued to rise. -- REUTERS

HOW do you make rental housing more affordable?

As policy makers nationwide search for an answer — tinkering with proposals ranging from comprehensive rent control to rezoning — one start-up has put to work an idea that makes things cheaper immediately: eliminate the security deposit.

Entrepreneur Ankur Jain, a millennial whose venture capital firm aims to alleviate the financial crunches saddling his generation, is the co-founder of Rhino, a company that allows renters to pay as little as $2 a month for an insurance policy that can be used in lieu of a security deposit.

Landlords including Starwood Capital Group, UDR Inc. and Moinian Group have already signed on to use the insurance, offering the option to tenants in major metros such as New York City. Nationwide, about 300,000 tenants are currently using a Rhino policy instead of a deposit, Mr. Jain said.

The firm announced it’s aiming for an even larger buy-in. It released a policy proposal, directed at US legislators and 2020 presidential candidates, that would require landlords nationwide to offer such insurance, or allow deposit installment payments, as a way to offer relief from the upfront burdens of renting. It would also mandate that security deposits be transferable, following a tenant who relocates from one rental property to another.

“You can save thousands of dollars in rent and you can unlock all this money back into the economy and everybody wins,” Mr. Jain said in an interview. “Landlords are still protected, tenants save money and the money is free to be spent on health care, student loans or anything else.”

The firm also announced last week that it raised $21 million in Series A funding, from venture capital firm Lakestar, and Kairos, the venture firm run by Mr. Jain.

The Moinian Group, which owns and manages 3,000 apartments in New York City, is also an investor in the insurance product, according to Mitchell Moinian, senior vice president at the firm. The landlord offers the insurance at all of its rental properties, he said.

“These days, land prices, construction prices, rent regulations, taxes — all these things are so high that rent can’t really be drawn down to attract renters or make them more happy,” Mr. Moinian said. “It doesn’t happen. So we have to work with all other kinds of new applications.”

Offering deposit insurance “was a good way to make it more affordable for people wanting to live in our full-service luxury buildings,” Mr. Moinian said.

“Many markets have adapted to using alternative security deposits,” said Amy Groff, senior vice president of industry operations at the National Apartment Association. “This is a way to attract more prospective residents and makes it easier for them to move in, less money required.”

Like down payments on homes, security deposits are seen by landlords as an indication of financial health, so doing away with them could be a possible downside of an insurance alternative, even though landlords are financially protected, said Rick Haughey, vice president of industry technology initiatives at the National Multifamily Housing Council, a federal landlord advocacy group.

“It’s an indicator that you don’t have much of a buffer — but I don’t think a lot of people have much of a buffer,” Mr. Haughey said. “Even homeowners, I don’t think, can make a double mortgage payment every month. A lot of people live paycheck to paycheck.”

Mr. Jain, 29, spoke with Bloomberg in an interview:

How did you come up with this product?

“Most renters today don’t have the ability to save enough money to even enter the rental market. You’re talking about people putting up thousands of dollars in security deposits just to move in — on top of your first month rent and, if you’re in New York, a broker fee, and it just adds up. To us, it made no sense.

“The first question we asked: Is there really that much loss in this business that you need to take everyone’s money? The short answer is there’s not. So landlords are locking up today $45 billion of cash from everyday American renters that sits in escrow accounts, doesn’t generate interest, isn’t being invested in the local economy and it’s holding people back.”

Why insurance?

“We decided there’s gotta be a better way. We realized that security deposits are essentially insurance — but they’re requiring every renter to pay the entire risk premium instead of how it should be, which is taking that risk and spreading it across the population.”

How much is saved?

Based on estimates of average rents in metropolitan areas across the US, Rhino says that American renters are paying $45 billion in upfront security deposits. This year, Rhino has 300,000 insurance contracts out — saving renters an estimated $60 million in locked-up cash deposits, according to the company’s proprietary figures.

“Landlords care about having the protection and the coverage in case of losses — they don’t actually benefit from holding the money. That’s why this works so well, because of this win-win model.

“If we can reduce housing costs in America by $45 billion over next two years — that is the single-largest change to the housing cost system without any losers,” Mr. Jain said.

“Traditional security deposits will be a thing of the past within the next two to three years. Totally.” — Bloomberg

Ayala Land may delay REIT offering to 2020

October 7, 2019 | 12:05 am [ ]

AYALA LAND, Inc. (ALI) may postpone its real estate investment trust (REIT) offering to next year, as it waits for the final guidelines to be released by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

“If we can get it this year, or early next year, we’ll just adhere to the SEC timeline, which is really now about the release of the new guidelines,” ALI Chief Finance Officer Augusto Cesar D. Bengzon told reporters last week.

The listed property developer in April said it will place its prime office assets in the Makati Central Business District under a REIT valued at $500 million. The company then said it can conduct the REIT offering under existing SEC rules, in a bid to have the first such listing in the country a decade after Republic Act No. 9856 or the REIT Act of 2009 was implemented.

Mr. Bengzon however noted that the commission would prefer that all companies follow the latest guidelines for such a listing.

“We’ve done quite a bit of work already. It will just need some tweaking when the new rules come out, tweak the prospectus and the registration statement,” Mr. Bengzon said.

Sought for comment on when they can release the final rules, SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong said they hope to finish it within the year.

“It depends on the number and complexity of the comments we receive,” Mr. Amatong said in a text message.

The SEC on Friday released the draft rules for REITs, which sought to lower the public ownership requirement for REITs to 33%, from the current 40% on the first year which should be raised to 67% on the second year.

Mr. Bengzon said they may reduce their REIT’s public float in line with the new rules. Capital raised is still expected to be within the $300-million level.

Other changes include the requirement to reinvest all proceeds of a REIT offering into the Philippines, in order to promote growth in the capital market and Filipino participation in real estate.

The SEC also wants to create a special committee that will review related party transactions (RPT) for REITs. This will tighten the corporate regulator’s review process for RPTs.

Meanwhile, REIT fund managers will have to secure a license from the SEC, provided that they have a minimum paid-up capital of P10 million for both domestic and foreign firms. This levels the playing field for foreign firms, which are currently required to have a paid-up capital of at least P100 million.

The SEC further adjusted the required track record of officers of a REIT property manager to three years, from the current requirement of five years.

Comments on the proposed guidelines may be submitted to the commission until Oct. 18.

Meanwhile, ALI secured the highest credit rating of its P10-billion fixed rate bonds to be issued next month, according to local debt watcher Philippine Rating Services Corp. (Philratings).

In a statement, Philratings said the bonds with a PRS Aaa rating are of the highest quality with minimal credit risk, with the issuer having an “extremely strong” capacity to meet its obligations. The rating also carries a stable outlook, which means it is unlikely to change in the next 12 months.

Philratings said it took into account ALI’s well-diversified portfolio, sustained healthy outlook for the economy and real estate industry, continuously growing profitability, and sound capitalization.

The bonds will be split between tenors of two years and 7.25 years, as the company said there is demand for short-term offerings. This will be the third issuance out of ALI’s P50-billion debt securities program. It previously raised P8 billion and P3 billion in May and September, respectively. — Arra B. Francia

SEC proposes changes to REIT rules

October 4, 2019 | 7:51 pm [ ]

THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released on Friday its proposed amendments to the rules guiding real estate investment trusts (REITs) in the Philippines.

The corporate regulator formalized through two notices uploaded on its website its planned changes on Republic Act No. 9856, or the REIT Act of 2009. The proposal includes easing public ownership requirements, requiring proceeds from a REIT offer to be reinvested in the country, adding oversight powers in related party transactions and imposing sanctions for administrative violations.

The SEC is seeking public comments on the draft rules until noon of Oct. 18.

“The proposed amendments align with our mandate to promote the development of the capital market toward the democratization of wealth and broadening of participation in the ownership of enterprises,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.

As announced in earlier reports, the SEC’s draft amendment proposes to reduce the public ownership requirement for REITs to a 33% minimum public float from the current 40% on the first year.

It also wants to require all income generated from a REIT offer to be reinvested in the Philippines, with the goal of promoting growth in the capital market and Filipino participation in real estate.

The SEC also proposes to create a special committee which will be tasked to review related party transactions of REITs. The goal is to tighten the SEC’s review process of related party transactions. It is also requiring listed firms to disclose all such transactions within three days from execution.

REIT fund managers will also be required to obtain a license from the SEC, which will be given if it fulfills the requirement of having a minimum paid-up capital of P10 million for both local and foreign corporations. Its experience in property management and real estate will now also be considered for the three-year track record requirement for fund managers.

Should REITs violate any of the rules, the SEC is also seeking powers to impose administrative sanctions.

The release of the amended REIT rules is expected to encourage companies to launch REITs in the country. — Denise A. Valdez

Filinvest, Mitsubishi to develop P15-billion project in Alabang

October 4, 2019 | 12:11 am [ ]

Officials of Filinvest Alabang, Inc. (FAI) and Mitsubishi Corp. signed a partnership deal for a mixed-use project in Alabang. From left, FAI President and COO Catherine A. Ilagan; FAI CEO Josephine Gotianun-Yap; Mitsubishi-Manila Head of Urban Development Division Kenichi Kumemoto; and Mitsubishi General Manager for Asia -- Real Estate Development Masahiro Nagaoka.

A UNIT of Filinvest Development Corp. (FDC) is partnering with Japanese firm Mitsubishi Corp. for the development of a P15-billion mixed-use project in Alabang.

In a statement issued Thursday, FDC said Mitsubishi will acquire a 40% stake in almost 17,000 square meters (sq.m.) of land held by its unit Filinvest Alabang, Inc. (FAI). The property is located in Filinvest City, the company’s 244-hectare mixed-use estate in Alabang.

Through a joint venture company, the two firms will develop a multi-tower complex featuring office spaces and retail concepts. The deal is seen to add about 183,000 sq.m. of mixed-use gross leasable area to Alabang.

The partnership requires approval from the Philippine Competition Commission.

“We are very pleased to enter into an agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation and we are looking forward to this partnership. We are optimistic that our synergy will bring forth another first-of-its-kind development that will complement the growth and vision of Filinvest City,” FAI President Catherine A. Ilagan said in a statement.

The joint venture project will be located across Festival Mall in Filinvest City, and will stand next to residential strip Parkway Avenue. It will also have direct access to the Central Park, which is currently being developed.

Other components of Filinvest City include a Spectrum Linear Park which spans across the northern to southern ends of the township, as well as a Riverside Park, that will house retail and dining establishments.

The township’s business locators are mostly tech companies such as business process outsourcing and knowledge process outsourcing firms. It is also home to several residential projects such as Studio City, Vivant Flats, West Parc, Aspen Tower, and Botanika Nature Residences.

FDC said the partnership will bring together FAI and Mitsubishi’s expertise in the fields of construction, operations and management, and urban development.

Mitsubishi earlier partnered with Antonio-led Century Properties Group, Inc. for the rollout of affordable residential units in provincial areas.

FDC reported a 19% increase in net income attributable to the parent to P6.13 billion in the first half of 2019, following a 14% increase in gross revenues to P37.23 billion.

Shares in FDC were unchanged at P13.40 each at the stock exchange on Thursday. — Arra B. Francia

SM ramps up property, retail expansion in provinces

October 2, 2019 | 12:06 am [ businessworldonline ]

SM Store now has 63 outlets around the country. 

SM INVESTMENTS Corp. (SMIC) continues to expand its residential, hotel, and retail offerings in the provinces, banking on regional economic growth.

In a presentation posted on its website Monday, the listed conglomerate said its residential arm SM Development Corp. (SMDC) currently has a land bank of 669 hectares outside Metro Manila. This is higher than the 503 hectares it had by the end of the first quarter.

Its land holdings in Metro Manila likewise increased to 91 hectares, from 79 in the first quarter.

SMDC has programmed to spend P44 billion to construct more residential projects in 2019, alongside the launch of 15,000 to 18,000 units.

Meanwhile, SM Retail, Inc. now operates 2,600 stores covering a gross saleable area of 2.93 million square meters (sq.m.). Of this, 43% are in Metro Manila, while 38% are in Luzon. The remaining 12% and six percent are in Visayas and Mindanao, respectively.

The company’s strategy is to put up more stores nationwide for faster market penetration and to promote regional growth. About 80% of the new stores it opens are outside Metro Manila.

SM Retail is divided into the food and non-food segments. The former includes supermarkets and hypermarkets, which are typically anchor tenants in SM malls. This also includes Savemore, which are mid-sized, stand-alone stores; Waltermart located in WalterMart Malls expanding in Luzon; and Alfamart, its mini-mart format which provides supermarket goods and prices in neighborhood locations.

The non-food retail segment consists of The SM Store, which now has a total of 63 stores covering 795,864 sq.m. of GSA. It serves as an anchor tenant in SM malls and offers a wide range of merchandise and price points for all customer segments.

On the other hand, its hotel arm looks to take advantage of the growing tourism opportunity in the country. It has a total of 1,961 rooms under its portfolio, less than half of which comes from the Park Inn brand located in Davao, Clark, Iloilo, and Quezon City.

SM Hotels is pursuing projects in San Fernando, Pampanga and SM Seaside City, Cebu.

“SM Hotel’s planned expansions will complement existing mall, commercial, and residential developments,” the company said.

SMIC’s net income attributable to the parent grew 27% to P23 billion in the first half of 2019, after revenues rose 14% to P233.7 billion.

Shares in SMIC climbed 1.65% or P16 to close at P987 each at the stock exchange on Tuesday. —Arra B. Francia

ALI plans P10-B bond offering

October 1, 2019 | 12:09 am [ ]

AYALA LAND, Inc. (ALI) plans to raise P10 billion from the issuance of fixed-rate bonds by November, as the company completes its funding requirements for the year.

ALI Chief Finance Officer Augusto Cesar D. Bengzon said the bonds will be split into two-year and 7.25-year tenors due 2021 and due 2027, respectively. This is to accommodate the demand for shorter-term issuances.

“It’s going to be unique. It’s a dual tenored issuance… We’ll have the flexibility to determine how much will go to the two-year tranche and the 7.25-year tranche,” Mr. Bengzon told reporters after listing ceremony for ALI’s P3-billion bond offering at the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp. (PDEX) yesterday.

Mr. Bengzon said they have yet to decide on how the split will be between the two- and 7.25-year bonds, adding that this will be announced once they get closer to the offer period.
BPI Capital Corp. has been hired as the offering’s issue manager, and will act as joint lead underwriters and joint bookrunners alongside BDO Capital & Investment Corp. and China Bank Capital Corp., according to an offer supplement posted on ALI’s website.

The bonds are scheduled to be offered to the public from Oct. 21 to 31, with target listing at the PDEX on Nov. 8.

Proceeds from the offering — expected to reach P9.87 billion — will be used to partially fund the development of One Ayala Avenue-Makati, which will house retail, office, and hotel components. It will also feature a transport hub set to be completed in 2021.

It will also finance refurbishments of the Glorietta and Greenbelt malls in Makati, the development of Vermosa Mall in Cavite, the expansion of Seda Nuvali, as well as land acquisitions in Laguna and Batangas.

The funds are expected to be fully utilized by the first quarter of 2020.

Mr. Bengzon said this will be the company’s last issuance for the year, following its P3-billion bond offering listed at the PDEX on Monday and an P8-billion issuance last May. These form part of the company’s P50-billion shelf registration program with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

“It’s very efficient, this shelf registration. There was a time many years back when we’d have to figure out if we need to pre-fund, because the time to get the second and third issue is relatively long. Now we can do it in a three- to four-week period,” Mr. Bengzon said.

Aside from bonds, ALI is also considering bilateral loans to fund its P130-billion capital expenditure for 2019.

ALI generated a 12% increase in net income to P15.2 billion in the first half of 2019, following a four percent increase in revenues to P83.2 billion.

Shares in ALI rose 0.30% or 15 centavos to close at P49.45 each at the stock exchange on Monday. — Arra B. Francia

Ayala Land unit brings its luxury condominiums to QC, Pasig

October 1, 2019 | 12:08 am [ ]
By Jenina P. Ibañez
Ayala Land unit brings its luxury condominiums to QC, Pasig

Parklinks North Tower, located in Parklinks Estate, offers 280 large-format condominiums.

AYALA LAND Premier (ALP) is building its first luxury residential condominiums in the Quezon City and Pasig areas.

Parklinks North Tower, a joint project from Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and Eton Properties Philippines, Inc., will rise on a 35-hectare sprawling estate on either side of the Marikina River.

The residential tower will have access to the Parklinks Mall and office spaces facing C-5, while across the river will be the vast Parklinks Estate accessible through a 110-meter four-lane bridge.

Half of the estate will be devoted to green spaces like gardens and the 3-hectare Central Park, and will include retail establishments, riverside dining, and bike and running lanes.

“As with any Ayala Land development, we have a balanced mix of commercial, office, and residential spaces. But what is easily discernible is the amount of green spaces we’ve allocated for in this estate. It’s envisioned to be the greenest urban estate within Metro Manila,” Ayala Land Premier Marketing Manager Tomas P. Cadiz said in a briefing.

“The goal of the estate is really to open up the community spaces to the river. Majority of the areas bordering the river are dedicated to civic spaces and parks,” he added.

The 55-floor Parklinks North Tower will have 280 large-format one to four bedroom condominiums with wide floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize the views.

Each floor has four to eight units ranging from 70 to 306 square meters (sq.m.) and 2.7-meter high ceilings. All residential units have balconies.

“From conceptualization, light within the spaces has really been one of the key elements we wanted for this tower. Together with our design architect Hans Brouwer, we conceived living spaces with expansive windows and an abundance of natural light,” Mr. Cadiz said.

They established design standards including window widths, kitchen counter sizes, and closet lengths for all units.

The tower also offers limited villa units, including the bi-level Horizon Villa and the four-bedroom Sky Villa — the largest unit at 306 sq.m..

Residential amenities include a 21-meter infinity pool, kiddie pool, bi-level fitness center, social hall, sports court, and children’s play areas on the 10th floor. The Horizon Terrace overlooking the estate and the Antipolo mountain ranges is on the 45th floor.

Units at Parklinks North Tower are priced between P22–120 million, and are now valued at P320,000 per square meter.

Turnover for Parklinks North Tower is targeted by 2025. Parklinks Mall will open in 2023, while Parklinks South Tower is set to be unveiled later this year.

Situated along C-5, Parklinks will be close to major residential communities like Greenmeadows, Corinthian Gardens, and White Plains.

ICCP Group sees growth in townships, industrial estates

September 24, 2019 | 12:06 am []

Pueblo de Oro Development Corp. is developing a 40-hectare residential subdivision in Malvar, Batangas.
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Associate Editor

THE ICCP Group is seeing continued growth in its property development business, particularly in townships and industrial estates.

ICCP Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Guillermo D. Luchangco said Pueblo de Oro Development Corp. (PDO) and industrial park developer Science Park of the Philippines, Inc. (SPPI) have been recording steady sales.

“We don’t have as many projects as Filinvest or Ayala but our sales growth is good and our profit margins are healthy,” Mr. Luchangco told BusinessWorld in an interview at the company’s office in Makati City on Sept. 4.

PDO, which develops residential communities and township projects, is best known for its flagship project Pueblo de Oro in Cagayan de Oro. The company acquired the 360-hectare property in the early 1990s, back when such huge township projects were practically unheard of, especially in the provinces.

“In the case of Pueblo de Oro, we had 360 hectares in Cagayan de Oro which we developed into a township. We were able to attract SM to put up its first mall there. We also put up a Robert Trent Jones Jr. golf course, which is ranked as one of the top five golf courses in the Philippines by Golfing Philippines (magazine),” Mr. Luchangco said.

The township also hosts a business park with a PEZA-accredited IT economic zone; and educational institutions Xavier University and Corpus Christi School.

The business activity in the area spurred demand for residential projects that cater to different market segments. And demand shows no signs of slowing down, prompting PDO to acquire additional property — bringing Pueblo de Oro’s total project area to 400 hectares. To date, the township is now home to 9,840 residential units.

Mr. Luchangco said the success of Pueblo de Oro Cagayan de Oro pushed the company to develop similar townships in Cebu, Batangas and Pampanga, albeit at a smaller scale.

“In those areas, we are in the regional centers of the Philippines like Cebu, Sto. Tomas and San Fernando… We intend to expand into other regional centers,” he said.


Even before “green” projects were a trend, PDO was already implementing eco-friendly initiatives in its projects.

“We’re a mid-sized developer but because of that we are able to pay more attention to our projects, environmental management, give that development more features, to give it some distinction,” Mr. Luchangco said.

The company maintained a 40-hectare urban rainforest in Cagayan de Oro, helped plant 65,000 mangrove seedlings in Mactan, and has regular tree-planting activities as part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.

In the Cagayan de Oro township, Mr. Luchangco said they built a 6,600-cubic meter detention pond “so we would not flood the people living below in case of heavy rains.”

 ICCP Group Chairman and CEO Guillermo D. Luchangco — COMPANY HANDOUT

“As responsible citizens, we spent the money to build the waterway and the detention pond. During Sendong (in 2011), it held and we ended up helping the city by supplying water to some areas because the water supply got cut off and we still had water. After Sendong, there was a big rush of people buying property because they saw our properties did not see flooding,” he said.

Mr. Luchangco noted that Pueblo de Oro Pampanga has not experienced flooding even during typhoons, as they raised the elevation of the land when they were developing the project.

“We built the area two to three meters higher (than surrounding areas), because our studies showed it is prone to flooding… It vindicates our projects that they don’t flood,” he said.

Even for the golf course in Cagayan de Oro, PDO has made sure its environmental impact was minimized. Mr. Luchangco said the company built five ponds not just as golf course hazards but to serve as interconnected reservoirs to retain water.

“We have a layer of about eight inches of sand below the surface to drain the water out. The sand acts like a filter, the water is used for the golf course, so we don’t use as much water as you would expect. We also put in an electronic control system for the sprinkling of water. It basically calculates how much water the course really needs and only that area gets sprinkled,” he said.


The ICCP Group’s property business also includes the development and management of industrial estates through SPPI.

“Industrial estates was the first thing we did in property. We started in 1989 after we saw a number of foreign companies who wanted to come in but the scene was chaotic for them,” Mr. Luchangco said.

“I decided to start the business of industrial estates. We made sure there’s power, water… We also managed the estate.”

The company has developed six industrial parks, starting with the 178-hectare Light Industry & Science Park I (LISP-I) in Cabuyao, Laguna. LISP I was said to be the first privately-owned industrial estate to operate as a Special Export Processing Zone under the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

SPPI’s other industrial estates include LISP II in Calamba, Laguna; LISP III in Sto. Tomas, Batangas; Hermosa Ecozone Industrial Park in Hermosa, Bataan; and Cebu Light Industrial Park in Mactan, Cebu.

“After we sell our industrial estate, we offer to continue managing it for a fee. But profitability is not the main objective, we make a lot more in building and selling estates than by running them. The reason for that is we want to make sure the quality of the estate does not deteriorate… In all our estates that we have turned over, they have chosen us to manage it,” Mr. Luchangco said.

The latest project is LISP IV in Malvar, Batangas.

“The newest is LISP IV in Malvar. That’s being developed now. We have sold some areas and developing other areas,” Mr. Luchangco said, adding that PDO is developing a residential community next to the industrial estate as part of a “live-work” community concept.

Mr. Luchangco said he wants PDO and SPPI to be known not just for high-quality projects, but also as environmentally conscious companies.

“What we want… is to be the gold standard in residential communities, because we want to do good products,” he said. “We want to be known for our quality and environmental concern.”

The Ascott expands to the south with Citadines Cebu City

September 24, 2019 | 12:02 am [ ]

THE Ascott Limited looks to boost the hospitality experience in the Visayas region with the opening of Citadines Cebu City.

“Ascott Limited is thrilled to welcome guests into the newly-opened Citadines Cebu City to elevate the Cebu experience,” The Ascott’s Country General Manager for the Philippines Daniel Wee said in a statement.

Located in Base Line Center, Citadines Cebu City offers 180 serviced residences, which aim to combine the elements of a modern home and the services of a hotel. Its lobby features furniture and accent pieces by Cebuano artists such as Kenneth Cobonpue, Bobby Lagdameo, and Inky Livie.

Units range from studio queen, studio twin, and one-bedroom suite, which all come with their own kitchen, wireless internet access, home entertainment system, individual air conditioning, and built-in washer and dryer.

Guests will also have access to concierge and housekeeping services, a 24-hour reception and guest service team, and a fitness gym.

The Ascott has tapped The Abaca Group for the property’s food and beverage services, including the daily breakfast, banquet facilities, and in-room dining.

The apartment-hotel stands close to several tourist spots like the Magellan’s Cross, Basilica del Santo Niño, Fort San Pedro, Casa Gorordo Museum, Fuente Osmeña circle, the Taoist temple, and the Provincial Capitol.

Developed in partnership with listed property developer Cebu Landmasters, Inc., Citadines Cebu City is the first out of The Ascott’s strategic partnership with the company. The two firms plan to develop more hospitality projects in key cities in the Visayas and Mindanao region such as Cagayan de Oro, Davao, Dumaguete, and Iloilo.

8990 bullish on luxury hotels

September 26, 2019 | 12:10 am [ ]

THE Adama Resort Siquijor is 8990 Holdings, Inc.’s first “super luxury resort” development. — COMPANY HANDOUT

MASS housing developer 8990 Holdings, Inc. expects to generate P3 billion in recurring revenue from its venture into the luxury hotel business.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the listed property developer said it has 10 new hotels and resorts in the pipeline until 2023. The projects will be undertaken by its newest subsidiary, 8990 Leisure and Resorts.

The newly formed unit’s first development will be the Adama Resort Siquijor, a “super luxury resort” that will offer 250 rooms inside a 20-hectare property. It is scheduled to open in the second half of 2020.

Adama Resort Siquijor will have a central foyer, rooms that maximize the area’s natural light, and cabanas beside the beach.

8990 Leisure and Resorts President Lowell L. Yu said the project will highlight the tourism spots in Siquijor, such as its coral reefs and white sand beaches.

Aside from Siquijor, the company earlier said that it will build Adama resorts in Puerto Princesa, Siargao, Lapu-Lapu City, Baguio, and Boracay.

The company will also launch luxury hotel brand Kura and urban hotel Argo in top tourist destinations such as Palawan, Cebu, Boracay, Davao, Iloilo, Siargao, and Baguio. Some hotels will also be built in Metro Manila.

Prior to establishing 8990 Leisure and Resorts, the company already has experience in the hospitality business with its hotels in Boracay and Baguio under the Azalea brand.

8990 Holdings’ core business is in the development of affordable housing projects. It is currently building the 22-building Urban Deca Homes Ortigas along Ortigas Avenue Extension, which will offer 19,000 units. The project is seen to generate at least P30 billion in sales for the next four to five years.

8990 Holdings saw its net income attributable to the parent rise 18% to P2.82 billion in the first half of 2019, as gross revenues also jumped 17% to P7.01 billion.

Shares in 8990 Holdings slipped 0.26% or four centavos to close at P15.10 each at the stock exchange on Wednesday. — Arra B. Francia

Megaworld to spend P1.2B for Bacolod office towers

September 24, 2019 | 12:05 am [ ]

 MEGAWORLD CORP. Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Andrew L. Tan said the office towers will be the company’s first in Bacolod. — BW FILE PHOTO

MEGAWORLD CORP. is spending P1.2 billion to develop two office towers in its Bacolod township as it continues to expand its leasable portfolio.

In a statement issued Monday, the property firm of tycoon Andrew L. Tan said it will build No. 1 Upper East Avenue and No. 5 Upper East Avenue inside the 34-hectare Upper East estate. The two towers will offer about 17,000 square meters (sq.m.) of office space catered toward the information technology and business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.

“These two new office towers will be Megaworld’s first office developments in Bacolod, and we look forward to bring in new BPO locators to the city,” Megaworld Chief Strategy Officer Kevin Andrew L. Tan said in a statement.

“To be operated under our Megaworld Premier Offices brand, these Upper East Avenue towers will showcase the company’s signature state-of-the-art features in office developments — making them the most modern offices to rise in Bacolod City.”

Megaworld plans to register the buildings under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, which will prove that the project adheres to the United States Green Building Council’s environmental standards.

The towers will make use of LED lighting in common areas, dual-flush technology for toilets, and double-glazed windows for heat insulation and energy efficiency. Both will also have roof gardens.

Tenants and employees in the building will also have access to basement and ground level parking.

The project will stand across the soon-to-rise Upper East Mall, with the township’s central park placed between the two developments.

“These will be the only office buildings in the entire Bacolod City that are located within a fully masterplanned township development, where everything is just within easy reach,” Mr. Tan said.

The towers will be added to Megaworld’s leasable space of more than 1.3 million sq.m.

Shares in Megaworld fell 2.24% or 11 centavos to close at P4.81 each at the stock exchange on Monday. — Arra B. Francia

How a ‘crazy’ man brought Dusit kind of luxury to Davao

September 17, 2019 | 12:08 am

The astonishing swimming pool at The Beach Club, part of the Dusit Thani at Lubi Plantation Resort.
By Marifi S. Jara
Mindanao Bureau Chief

TORRE LORENZO Development Corp. (TLDC) President and Chief Executive Officer Tomas P. Lorenzo likes to tell the story of how most everyone thought him “buang,” meaning crazy in Visayan, when he first started talking about developing top-end facilities in Davao City for business and leisure travelers.

That was about six years ago, before the city came into the spotlight being the President’s hometown.

At that time, several of the country’s major developers have set foot in Davao, doing mainly condominium and commercial projects.

Mr. Lorenzo’s inkling on the potential of an upscale development came from frequent trips between Manila and Davao, where the Lorenzo family has roots and diverse business interests.

“Flights were always full, and I was thinking, I don’t know these people, who are all these people?” he said in an interview at the new Dusit D2 Davao before the launching ceremony on Sept. 6.

Mr. Lorenzo said an informal market review indicated it was mostly businessmen who have taken on the investment opportunities in the country’s south as well as professional Filipinos working overseas who have the money to purchase property and spend for holidays.

“That’s where this came out,” he narrates.

TLDC, after exploring various options, forged a partnership with Dusit International.
The joint venture has borne not just the 120-room Dusit D2 Hotel, but also a linked 174-unit Dusit Thani Residences, a serviced condominium-hotel now in the final stages of completion, and the soon-to-be branded Dusit Thani at Lubi Plantation Resort on a private island in nearby Compostela Valley province.
A fourth hotel, a Dusit Princess brand, is also in the pipeline.
Dusit International Chief Operating Officer Lim Boon Kwee said working with the TLDC team has been “a pleasure” because their captain is a “very passionate developer.”

 Torre Lorenzo Development Corp. President and CEO Tomas P. Lorenzo — BW PHOTO

Davao City Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta, delivering the mayor’s message during the Dusit D2 launch, said having another international hotel brand strengthens the city’s campaign to become a “major hub” for the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions segment.

“You are not buang after all,” she tells Mr. Lorenzo.

Compostela Valley Governor Jayvee Tyron L. Uy said the Lubi resort, which is under his jurisdiction, is a “trendsetter” for the province that is also in the midst of rebranding as Davao de Oro in line with its program to attract investors and tourists.

“It means a lot to us, especially when you talk about creating economies, it will bring economic growth… and at the same time promoting tourism in the province,” he said in an interview with BusinessWorld at the Lubi resort.

The Dusit Thani, which is on the site of a former coconut island plantation, is still a work in progress but several villas are now ready for occupancy alongside The Beach Club, which is open for day-trippers.

“This is not your P50 (per person entrance fee) type of resort, which I am sure we have all experienced,” Mr. Lorenzo said. “Think Dusit Maldives.”

Christopher Wichlan, general manager of the Dusit properties in the Davao Region, said what they have now is a unique product cluster consisting of an “exclusive destination” and “value for money.”

The Beach Club, when fully completed before the end of the year, will include a dive center that would allow guests to explore the waters around the island that has been kept as a marine sanctuary for 30 years.

For staying guests, “natural barriers” will be set up to create a private space with exclusive facilities.

“The way we’ve invested here (all the Davao properties), with all the technologies and security is to make sure that everyone has the confidence to come here,” Mr. Wichlan said.

Mr. Lorenzo said the bigger commitment behind the Davao ventures has been to contribute to the growth of Mindanao, the Philippine’s vast southern islands that continue to address both real and perceived concerns on peace and security.

“I am from Mindanao… the idea here is developing Mindanao.”

real estate central philippines
Copyright ©2008-2019