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

Federal Land to develop condominium in Bay Area

November 1, 2019 | 12:05 am [ ]

MI CASA, which means “my home” in Spanish, is Federal Land, Inc.’s new project in the Bay Area of Pasay City. — COMPANY HANDOUT

FEDERAL LAND, Inc., the property arm of GT Capital Holdings, Inc., is developing a four-tower condominium in the Bay Area of Pasay City.

Mi Casa is located within Federal Land’s 40-hectare mixed-use development Metro Park.

In a statement, Federal Land said it launched the first tower, Hawaii, which offers 158 units ranging from one-bedroom units to three-bedroom units. Each floor has an average of 14 units.

The unit sizes will be at 45.5 square meters (sq.m.) for a one-bedroom unit, 61.5 sq.m. to 66 sq.m. for a two-bedroom unit, and 113 sq.m. to 137.5 sq.m. for a three-bedroom unit.

The Hawaii tower will feature various indoor amenities, including a lounge area, gym, kids’ play room, a function room with a culinary station, and a movie room.

Mi Casa will have outdoor amenities such as swimming pools and kids’ play areas.

“Mi Casa is set to be a vibrant community that will complement Filipino lifestyles and afford them ample opportunities to learn, thrive, and savor the good things in life,” the statement said.

Federal Land said Mi Casa’s concept and design, which was inspired by the tropical environment of the Bay Area, is a collaborative effort with CallisonRTKL, and Aidea, Inc.

CallisonRTKL is an architecture, planning, and design firm behind the Dubai Creek Harbour in the United Arab Emirates and the Four Seasons Los Angeles Private Residences in California.

Aidea, Inc. is an all-Filipino design firm known for Canvas Boutique Hotel in Palawan and the Marriott Hotel in Pampanga.

The Metro Park estate currently has resort-themed condominiums, offices, shopping and dining centers, entertainment hubs, institutional establishments, and a garden.

The estate is set against Manila Bay, and is close to the area’s malls and convention centers.

The Hawaii tower is targeted to be ready for turnover in 2023. — Jenina P. Ibañez

Part of Cavite-Laguna expressway now open

October 31, 2019 | 12:05 am [ ]

MOTORISTS can now use the first 10 kilometers of the Laguna segment of the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) from the Mamplasan Toll Barrier to the Santa Rosa-Tagaytay Interchange, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said on Wednesday.

“We all know that (All Saints’ Day) is a time we all pay respects to family and friends who have passed on, and with November 1 falling on a Friday, I’m sure many of our kababayans will take advantage of the time to do some family bonding and go on a road trip. I only see benefits in opening CALAX even on a single lane basis to decongest Laguna Boulevard, Aguinaldo Highway,” Public Works Secretary Mark A. Villar said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We are at 90% completion, the remaining 10% of the works are being fast- tracked while in operations, we hope to fully open before December steps in.”

Mr. Villar said around 10,000 vehicles are expected to enter and exit through the two access points — Mamplasan and Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay Interchange.

“This section will take 10 minutes to drive. A big cut on travel time compared to the 45 minutes it currently takes to travel Mamplasan to Sta. Rosa-Tagaytay road,” he added.

The single lane on the CALAX opened on Wednesday (Oct. 30), but only until 10 p.m.

In a statement, MPCALA Holdings Inc. (MPHI) President and General Manager Roberto V. Bontia said the lane will also be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

“For the daily access time starting November 3, we agreed with (Department of Public Works and Highways) that it will be Sunday to Thursday 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and giving extended time on weekends, Friday to Saturday 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. This will only be temporary, until the remaining works for these first subsections are completed,” he said.

Mr. Bontia reminded motorists to drive safely and observe traffic rules while using the partially opened lane.

“Upon issuance of the relevant certifications and permits from DPWH and Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), full access to the completed lanes and other interchanges and 24-hour commercial operations shall be possible,” he added.

The entire length of CALAX project will connect the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx) from Kawit, Cavite to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) at the Mamplasan Interchange in Biñan, Laguna.

MPCALA Holdings is a subsidiary of Metro Pacific Tollways Corp., the tollways unit of Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC). MPIC is one of three key Philippine units of Hong-Kong based First Pacific Co. Ltd., the others being Philex Mining Corp. and PLDT, Inc.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin

ALI to invest P8B in QC estate

October 31, 2019 | 12:06 am [ ]

AYALA LAND, Inc. is developing an 11-hectare district in Novaliches, Quezon City. — COMPANY HANDOUT

AYALA LAND, Inc. (ALI) is investing P8 billion in a new mixed-use district in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Stephen S. Comia, senior division manager for ALI’s strategic landbank management group, said The Junction Place is a 11-hectare “pocket urban development” located in Barangay Talipapa between Quirino Highway and Tandang Sora Avenue.

“Total investment is about P8 billion. Since we are doing the projects at the same time, it is also our five-year plan,” he said during a press briefing in Makati City, Wednesday.

The Junction Place will feature residential, commercial and recreational components.

Of the total investment, ALI is spending P500 million for land development, including the construction of a four-lane road connecting Quirino Highway and Tandang Sora.

“The site is located in between two major thoroughfares… So we plan to construct a spine road called Junction Place Boulevard, and open up that connection from Tandang Sora you don’t have to go to the intersection of Tandang Sora and Quirino, you can go through the spine road and exit to Quirino,” Mr. Comia said.

ALI has already sold around 8,000 sq.m. of commercial lots facing the spine road, as it hopes this will spur economic activity in the area.

At the same time, ALI is building a transport hub and UV Express terminal to boost the estate’s connectivity to other parts of Quezon City and Metro Manila.

“We will also benefit greatly from the Metro Manila Subway Project, and there will be two stations 800 meters from the project. The first three stations will be operational by 2022,” Mr. Comia said.

The Junction Place will be anchored by an Amaia Land residential development. Amaia Land is planning a five-tower development on a 1.7-hectare lot near the estate’s Tandang Sora Avenue exit.

“(Amaia Land) fits the market in the area. Amaia is known for affordable, reliable and quality homes… Initial plan is five towers in total, mid-rise (towers),” the ALI executive said.

WalterMart is also set to start construction on a 5,000-square meter (sq.m.) mall in The Junction Place by December.

“Waltermart is located on the side of Quirino. They will be constructing a mall with 5,000 sq.m. of leasable space. We partnered with them because it fits the market of the area…

Anchor tenants include Waltermart, W Department Store, Abenson, Homeplus, and Food Choices,” Mr. Comia said. — Cathy Rose A. Garcia

DMCI Homes targets P14-B sales from condo

October 30, 2019 | 12:07 am [ ]

Allegra Garden Place is a new DMCI Homes project located in Pasig City. COMPANY HANDOUT

DMCI Project Developers, Inc. (DMCI Homes) is targeting P14.36 billion in sales from a new residential condominium in Pasig City.

In a statement, DMCI Homes said it has started the construction of Allegra Garden Place, located along Pasig Boulevard and near Bonifacio Global City (BGC).

The two-tower development “aims to replicate the sales success of DMCI Homes’ neighboring project, Prisma Residences, which is almost sold-out as of September 2019.”

“We have high hopes on this project not just because of Prisma Residences’ success but also because of the potential opportunities presented by ongoing infra projects in the area like the BGC-Ortigas Center Link Road Project,” DMCI Homes Assistant Vice-President for Project Development Dennis Yap said in a statement.

Among these infrastructure projects in the area are the 633-meter BGC-Ortigas Center Link Road and the Metro Manila Subway Project, which runs across several cities including Quezon City, Pasig, Taguig and Pasay. Targeted for completion by June 2020, the bridge will connect with the Lawton Avenue-Global City Viaduct.

“All these upcoming infra projects make the area an even more valuable investment and premier living destination for urban dwellers as they bring every need of residents practically within reach,” Mr. Yap said.

DMCI Homes is hoping Allegra Garden Place will attract first-time homebuyers and young professionals working in BGC, Makati, Ortigas, and Eastwood City.

Allegra Garden Place will have two buildings, Amina and Soraya. It offers one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, with gross floor area (GLA) ranging from 30 square meters (sq.m.) to 83 sq.m. Prices start at P3.99 million.

Amina, the first tower, is expected to be completed by July 2024.

The real estate unit of DMCI Holdings, Inc. said it will introduce larger doors and windows for its units, an indoor multi-purpose wooden court, and fiber Internet connectivity.

Amenities include an elevated roof garden, kiddie pool, lap pool, leisure pool, game area, bar area, entertainment room, roof-deck, fitness gym and Sky Lounge.

DMCI Homes posted a net income of P1.23 billion in the first half of 2019, 34% lower year on year, due to the absence of a one-time gain from the sale of land last year. Excluding this, core net income was up 6%.

DMCI Homes is part of diversified engineering conglomerate DMCI Holdings, Inc., whose interests also include power, mining, construction, and water.

PHirst Homes to launch 3 more projects next year

October 29, 2019 | 12:05 am [ ]

 PHirst Park Homes Pandi is offering townhouse-type units called Calista.
By Vincent Mariel P. Galang

PHIRST Park Homes, Inc. is targeting to launch as many as three projects, mostly in northern Luzon, next year.

“Next year, we’re launching at least two, or possibly three, and (it’s also) balanced din s’ya, north and south, but I think we will be more going towards north this time,” PHirst Park Homes President and Chief Executive Officer Ricky M. Celis told reporters after the launch of its fourth affordable housing project in Pandi, Bulacan on Oct. 19.

“Hopefully after Pandi, there is something in Pampanga,” he said, adding they are also looking at Quezon province for another project.

The newly launched PHirst Park Pandi covers 11 hectares out of the planned 18 hectares, with an initial inventory of P1.6-billion worth of units out of the estimated P2.9 billion in sales revenues.

This is the affordable housing brand’s fourth project after Tanza in Cavite, Lipa in Batangas, and San Pablo in Laguna, bringing its total foot print to 75.2 hectares and 7,908 units worth P13.3 billion.

Located near the Pandi Municipal Hall and Immaculate Conception Parish, PHirst Park Pandi offers a two-storey homes — Unna, a single-detached unit and Calista, a townhouse type of unit. Floor areas range from 40 square meters (sq.m.) to 54 sq.m., with prices ranging from P1.3 million to about P3 million, mainly targeting middle income families.

This year, the affordable housing unit of Century Properties Group, Inc. (CPG) is set to launch another project in Barangay Palo Alto in Calamba, Laguna next month.

Mr. Celis also said that the company’s projects in the south, specifically in Lipa and in San Pablo, are already up for expansion.

“Baka mag-expand tayo (We might expand) faster than expected. May tinitignan na kaming (We are already looking for its) expansion niya because the way things are going, it’s going to be sold faster than we expected. Same with Lipa. We’re actually now in the prices of acquiring an expansion,” he said.

PHirst Park San Pablo covers 18 hectares, while PHirst Park Lipa covers 19 hectares.

Mr. Celis said that the company is also eyeing to expand to Visayas and Mindanao, but only after it establishes itself in Luzon.

“Visayas is in the pipeline, but we’re looking at starting 2021 or 2022, so magpapagaling tayo dito sa malapit sa atin, ‘pag medyo okay na tayo (we will develop first in areas near us, then if we are already okay), then we will venture into Visayas and Mindanao,” he said.

PHirst Park Homes is a joint venture between CPG and Mitsubishi Corp.

The four projects are part of the 15 master planned communities with P57 billion in total sales, which will be continuously rolled out in the next four years to help address the housing backlog in the Philippines currently at 6.6 million.

Alveo hopes Laguna commercial district will attract entrepreneurs, investors

October 29, 2019 | 12:04 am [ ]

 Alveo Land, Inc. sold P2.8 billion worth of commercial lots at Broadfield on the first day of its sales launch.

ALVEO LAND, INC. is looking to attract local entrepreneurs and investors to the commercial district of its 120-hectare estate Broadfield in Biñan, Laguna.

Alveo is the lead developer for the Broadfield distrct, which is located a short drive from Laguna’s International Industrial Park and the Laguna Technopark, and is adjacent to the De La Salle University Science and Technology Complex.

It is also close to the area’s automotive factories, and the manufacturing plants of Nestlé Philippines, Inc. and Coca-Cola Beverages Philippines, Inc., among others.

Alveo allocated 80 hectares for the commercial and mixed-use district, while 40 hectares is for residential subdivisions Venido and Aveia which have previously been launched.

For the first phase, Alveo is offering 36.6 hectares for commercial use, composed of 35 lots sized from 1,324 square meters (sq.m.) to 2,915 sq.m. The commercial district is located on the northwestern part of the estate.

“Broadfield’s location sets it at the heart of South Luzon’s thriving residential, leisure, industrial and manufacturing center. We have a well-designed master plan that applies the best practices of Ayala Land in property development. This district will be innovative, sustainable and progressive,” Alveo Land Chief Operating Officer Rufino Gutierrez said in a statement.

Alveo sold P2.8 billion worth of commercial lots on the first day of its sales launch.

In a briefing, Mr. Gutierrez said most buyers are local investors and entrepreneurs. He noted companies are planning to put up office buildings in the area.

“From the first day of selling, we have people from different industries. Most are from real estate and construction. We also have a couple from the pharma[ceutical] industry. We also have automotive and agricultural industries,” he said.

Turnover of the first phase is expected by 2023.

Ten percent or around eight hectares of the estate is allocated to parks and open spaces, while the streetscapes will have bike lanes and shaded pedestrian walkways.

As part of the estate’s sustainability efforts, Broadfield will have its own storm water management system and detention ponds for rainwater collection, solar and alternative energy sources for lighting, efficient waste reduction systems, and energy and water-efficient fixtures.

Alveo said Broadfield’s commercial locators will be required to comply with the Philippine Green Building Code.

Broadfield is currently accessible through the South Luzon Express Way (SLEX), but will also be reached through road networks currently in construction, including the Cavite-Laguna Expressway (CALAX) and the Cavite-Tagaytay-Batangas Expressway (CBTex). — J.P.Ibañez

Cebu Landmasters to issue P2-B corporate notes

October 29, 2019 | 12:05 am ] ]

CEBU Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) is issuing corporate notes to raise P2 billion to fund its capital expenditures and general corporate expenses.

The listed property developer said in a stock exchange disclosure yesterday it has signed a notes facility agreement with ALFM Peso Bond Fund, Inc. and ALFM Money Market Fund, Inc. for the 18-month debt security. The notes will have an initial fixed rate of 4.75%.

The proceeds will finance the company’s expansion plans, particularly land acquisition.

“CLI has several strategic land acquisitions lined up in greater Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao, with new expansion areas such as Iloilo, Butuan, and General Santos City also on the horizon,” it said.

CLI tapped BPI Capital Corp. to arrange the bond issuance.

The company in April said it is allocating P13 billion in capital expenditures this year, as it launches 29 new projects that can generate sales of about P25 billion. This means an additional 7,517 residential condominium units, 1,223 hotel rooms, and 161,034 square meters of gross leasable area under its portfolio.

The Cebu-based developer is aiming to reach a consolidated net income of P2.6 billion and parent net income of P2 billion by the end of 2019.

In the first semester of the year, CLI booked an attributable net income of P854.34 million, an increase of 13% from a year ago, driven by a 34% jump in revenues to P3.5 billion. — Denise A. Valdez

Arthaland Century Pacific Tower certified as world’s 1st Zero Carbon building

October 22, 2019 | 12:01 am [ ]

 Arthaland Century Pacific Tower received the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies certification as the world’s 1st Zero Carbon building. — COMPANY HANDOUT
By Adrian Paul B. Conoza
Special Features Writer

ARTHALAND Century Pacific Tower (ACPT), Arthaland Corp.’s flagship office development, received the Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies (EDGE) certification for being the world’s first Zero Carbon building, making it the first and only triple-certified green building to date.

Prior to this award, ACPT was awarded with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating from the US Green Building Council and the Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) 5-star rating from the Philippine Green Building Council.

EDGE is a building certification system innovated by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, in an effort to meet the need for a measurable solution to provide the financial case for green buildings. According to the IFC, a project is EDGE certified when it reaches “20% less energy use, 20% less water use, and 20% less embodies energy in materials compared to a base case building.” Moreover, the EDGE Zero Carbon certification recognizes a building with at least 40% energy savings and 100% renewables on-site or off-site.

In a statement, Arthaland said the premium office tower in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Taguig is projected to achieve 45% in energy savings, 64% in water savings, and 34% in embodies energy in materials, exceeding the standards set by EDGE.

Furthermore, according to Arthaland, the 30-storey office tower uses 100% hydroelectric energy supplied by the Pantabangan-Masiway Hydroelectric Plant of First Gen Corporation. ACPT’s energy-saving features include higher thermal performance glass, reflective paint on the roof, efficient lighting fixtures with occupancy and daylight sensors, an energy recovery system, and a Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) Cooling System.

In terms of materials, ACPT used aluminium window frames, in-situ reinforced concrete slabs for the roof and floor slabs, medium weight hollow concrete blocks for the internal walls, curtain walling for external walls, and stone tiles and finished concrete floor for the flooring — all of which “have less embodied energy.”

In addition, Arthaland Chief Sustainability Officer Edgar V. Sabidong said that all the wood used in the project is certified by the Forest Steward Council.

“Usually, we cut down trees just so we can create the type of paneling that we have. A green building is very responsible. It wants nothing but a certified [type] of wood,” he explained during a tour of the building for the media.

Water-efficient water closets, faucets, and urinals are installed in the building. In place as well are water management systems such as a gray water recycling system for the collection, treatment, and reuse of water for irrigation and toilet flushing; a condensate water recovery system; and a rainwater harvesting system.

For Arthaland Vice Chairman and President Jaime C. Gonzalez, the EDGE certification places Arthaland and the Philippines in the global stage of taking the initiative to address climate change, which he finds as one of the most difficult challenges in the world.

During a press conference, Mr. Gonzalez said the award speaks much of what a developer like Arthaland can do regardless of its humble stature and the country’s developing state. “We’ve taken the initiative, as not [among] the largest real estate companies in a developing country, to tell everyone in the world that each one of us has got something to contribute if we will address [climate change],” Mr. Gonzalez said.

Meanwhile, Arthaland Executive Vice President and Treasurer Leonardo Arthur T. Po said ACPT is of particular importance to Arthaland for achieving several feats. “Not only are we engaging in a profitable endeavor by being able to charge some of the highest commercial office rates in Metro Manila, but we’re also making the working experience of people in the building better by the features that we’ve placed,” Mr. Po explained.

IFC Country Manager for the Philippines Yuan Xu, who officially turned over the certification in a ceremony on Oct. 9, noted in a statement that the EDGE certification is an “exceptional achievement for Arthaland Corporation as it continues to show the way in developing a sustainable and green model for future office developments in the country and globally.”

The next step for ACPT, according to Mr. Po, is to “look towards providing excellent service to the people that are working in the building.”

ACPT was also awarded Best Office Development in the Philippines during the recent Philippine Property Awards, and is competing for the Best Office Development in Asia and Best Green Development in Asia at the Asia Property Awards next month.

Aside from ACPT, Arthaland’s other office projects include Cebu Exchange in Cebu City and Savya Financial Center in ARCA South, Taguig, both of which will be completed by 2021.

Arthaland is also the developer of residential project Arya Residences in BGC and mixed-use development Sevina Park in Biñan, Laguna.

FLI starts construction of Cavite residential project

October 23, 2019 | 12:06 am [ ]

FILINVEST LAND, Inc. (FLI) has started construction for a new residential property in Trece Martires, Cavite.

The Gotianun-led property developer said in a statement yesterday it recently broke ground for its latest project New Leaf, a modern-minimalist development located within mixed-use district development The Wood Estates.

It will fall under FLI’s Futura brand and will have two housing units, Bernice and Diana, which will come in one-story single attached and two-story single attached. Lot areas will be around 70-73 square meters while floor areas will be between 27 and 37 square meters and will be sold around P1.2 to 1.7 million.

FLI said it wants to tap the market of families moving out of Metro Manila and into the “rural-urban fringe cities.” It said New Leaf will be ideal for those looking to escape the congestion in the central city.

“New Leaf is envisioned to be the ideal home for families looking for a fresh start. It offers a safe neighborhood, gated community, quality residential units, recreational amenities, and facilities to help families live in comfort every day,” FLI Senior Vice-President and Southwest Central Luzon Cluster Head Tristan L. Las Marias said in the statement.

The residential development will have a swimming pool, basketball court, parks and playgrounds, which Mr. Las Marias said he hopes will appeal to families. Its location is an hour away from Alabang and about 1.5 hours from Makati and Bonifacio Global City.

FLI is investing P30 billion for new projects this year, up from the P16 billion worth of projects it opened last year. The company is aiming to have about 1.6 million square meters in gross leasable area by 2023.

FLI is the real estate arm of Filinvest Development Corp., which does business in the banking, power, sugar and hospitality sectors.

In the first semester, FLI posted an attributable net income of P3.1 billion, growing 15% from in the same period last year, due to the 26% increase in gross revenues to P11.81 billion. — Denise A. Valdez

Kepwealth to acquire new spaces

October 23, 2019 | 12:08 am [ ]

By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

KEPWEALTH PROPERTY Phils., Inc. (KPPI) is planning to acquire new spaces in Metro Manila and Davao City which it will use for commercial or office leasing.

In a progress report to the stock exchange yesterday, the newly listed firm said it will be using the P384.77 million it raised in its initial public offering (IPO) in August to buy 3,500 square meters of space.

“Upon completion of the acquisitions using the proceeds from the IPO, the company expects to have an estimated 18,121 square meters of leasable space,” it said.

KPPI said it has not made the acquisitions yet, but it is looking at high-traffic urban areas such as Quezon City, Pasig City, Makati City and Davao City. Investing in these areas will spread the operations of the company outside its current focus in Cebu City, thereby reducing concentration risks. It will also open new recurring revenue streams for the company from the would-be tenants of the spaces.

Closing of several of the planned acquisitions can be expected within the first half of next year. “These acquisitions will undergo extensive business development studies and due diligence to assess the worth and value of properties based on location, use and yield,” KPPI said.

The company also said it wants to focus on its current business-property leasing and management-and has “no plans to engage in the business of a real estate developer.”

Instead, what the company wants to do is increase its asset management portfolio to complement its leasing business. Among the properties and developments it is looking at are an unnamed “prime property” in Quezon City and the Apo View Hotel in Davao City.

Specifically, the property in Quezon City is being eyed for its growing commercial and residential real estate market and the plan of the property owner to build a five-tower complex within the 10,540 square meter lot. For the Davao City hotel, KPPI said it is interested because the owner is planning to build two 40-story towers with commercial and retail spaces.

“Currently, the company continuously discusses potential business with the property owners,” it said.

Minus offer expenses from last August’s IPO, KPPI was able to record net proceeds of P372.12 million. It was able to sell 67,032,607 common shares to the public during its offer period.

KPPI was the first company to hold an IPO this year, followed by coconut product manufacturer Axelum Resources Corp. and Villar-led AllHome Corp. earlier this month. Also in the pipeline are Cal-Comp Technology (Philippines), Inc. and Fruitas Holdings, Inc.

KPPI currently owns 77 units with 98 leasable spaces of Kepwealth Center in the Cebu Business Park. Part of its portfolio is managing 459 units in different buildings in Metro Manila, including Oxford Suites, Medical Plaza Ortigas, Burgundy Corporate Tower, Burgundy West Bay Tower, Atrium Mall, Icon Macapagal and Vivaldi Residences-Cubao Commercial Space.

In the first quarter, KPPI saw its net income grow 12% to P8.69 million due to a 13% rise in revenues to P22.65 million.

Its net income last year ended flat at P34.3 million, while revenues jumped 8% to P81.85 million.

Shares in KPPI went down 40 centavos or 3.4% to P11.38 apiece on Tuesday.

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

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