Big developers draw bead on boom towns outside MM

Ayala, Aboitiz leads pack to develop business, lifestyle districts in Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod

The past decade has seen real estate players increasingly casting covetous eyes at rapidly developing regions outside of Metro Manila.

From a business perspective, the strategic shift makes sense. News headlines and social media have been inundated with horror stories of four-to-five hour traffic along EDSA, of knee-deep flood in the slightest of rains, of the train systems breaking down in the middle of rush hour, etc.  It was a only matter of time before developers realized the  need to expand beyond the confines of the metropolis.

Growing awareness for environmental sustainability

The last five years have also seen a growing awareness in the industry of the negative effects that the construction on the environment, e.g. in terms of procuring sustainable raw materials, buildings homes that contribute to carbon footprint, or opening communities that may harm the ecosystem. Environmental sustainability has been inching upward in the priorities of developers.

Today, property sellers include the sustainable aspects of their projects in their marketing pitches. Property buyers have became familiar with  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, and the local BERDE (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence) programs.

VisMin, gem for property players

Nowhere is the real estate’s robust growth, and penchant for “going green”, more pronounced than in the Visayas and Mindanao region. Here, the big developers are setting their sights on major cities of the southern archiepalgo,  transforming these once bucolic sea ports into veritable locations for business and leisure. Megaworld Corp., is putting its trademark live-work-play-learn lifestyle in these burgeoning cities in the VisMin areas.  

The company is developing huge tracts of land in Cebu, Bacolod and Iloilo; while in Mindanao, it is working on a mammoth Davao project.

Megaworld’s Mactan Newtown project is making waves as a holistic development integrating various aspects of living in one destination.  It is also earmarking huge funds for its two township projects in the Bacolod area, one called Upper East, while the other is the 50-hectare Northhill.  

Meanwhile, its Iloilo Business Park project is the most exciting as it is also the largest township project of the developer at 72 hectares.  Once completed, these developments can accommodate more than 10,000 workers.

In terms of scale, SM Seaside Cebu takes the cake as the biggest mall development in the region. Just like the massive SM Mall of Asia, this mall which opened last November, is now a landmark among locals and tourists. When it completely opens its more than 400 stores this year, you don’t even have to drop by Metro Manila to buy what’s latest in fashion food and retail.

Cebu is blessed with developments of other big players such as Federal Land, Filinvest Land, Robinsons Land, and Vista Land lining up projects – from condominiums, mixed-used communities, hotels, and commercial buildings.   Its neighbor, Bohol, is also gearing up for more developments but are more inclined towards attracting vacationers. One notable project is the Henann Resort in Panglao.

The Mindanao region is not far behind.  Megaworld has its Davao Park District, touted as the city’s nucleus of business and employment. Another major developer, Sta. Lucia Land, has nine projects in the city. One of its landmark projects is the 60-hecare Davao Riverfront Corporate City which will have a business park and residential area.

Make mine Bacolod. Capitol Central, is Ayala land’s latest mixed-use township in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. At the project’s groundbreaking  were (from left to right): Ricky Celis, Amaia Land president; Jun Bisnar, Ayala Land vice president; Emilio Tumbocon,  Ayala Land senior vice president; Mayor  Monico Puentevella of Bacolod City; Alfredo Marañon, Jr., governor of Negros Occidental ; Bernard Vincent Dy, Ayala Land president and CEO, Dan Abando, MDC president; Rowena Tomeldan, Ayala Land vice president ;  and Al Legaspi, Ayala Land vice president .

Cagayan de Oro, another growth center in the region, also has a bevy of developments from big developers starting with Vista Land’s Loop condo, and Ayala Land’s investments in Mindanao, such as the Abreeza and Avida developments  in Davao, as well as Alegria Hills, Centrio Mall, Centrio BPO, Avida Tower Centrio, Avida Towers Aspira and Seda Centrio in Cagayan De Oro. 

Standout projects

But by far the most standout property development in the region is  the joint endeavour of the Ayala and Aboitiz groups, which envisions transforming a 17.5-hectare property in Mandaue City into a new central business district and lifestyle destination. The project has a budget of P10 billion for its first phase of development.

“We are  excited about this particular development,” said Bobby Dy, Ayala Land president and CEO. “Once complete, its character and features is something the local market has not seen before.”  

Dy stressed that this multi-billion peso investment shows Ayala Land’s confidence in Mandaue City as one of the emerging growth cities in the region.

Dubbed Gatewalk Central, the mixed-use estate will feature office buildings, a range of residential options, family-friendly parks and an Ayala mall. The project is under joint venture firm Cebu District Property Enterprises Inc., which is 50-50 percent owned by the two developers.

Located in Subangdaku, Mandaue City, Gatewalk Central is envisioned to be the center of the city.  It is accessible via three national roads—Lopez Jaena St., M. Logarta St. and Ouano Avenue.

While under construction, the new development is estimated to generate about 1,300 jobs. This is seen to rise to 9,000 jobs once it becomes fully operational.

The new shopping mall, set to open by 2019, would be anchored by a Landmark department store. This would be the first time Landmark would set up shop outside Metro Manila.

A business process outsourcing (BPO) hub would also be built atop the mall and should bring a total of 20,000 square meter of GLA by the end of 2019.

“Ayala Land was among the first real estate companies to explore possibilities in the Visayas and Mindanao regions, particularly in Cebu, where we launched Cebu Park District,” claimed Aniceto Bisnar Jr., head of ALI’s Visayas-Mindanao group.

“We want more Filipinos across the country to experience the enhanced quality of life brought about by our sustainable communities. Hence, our continued expansion in the regions,” he explained. 

Topics: Ayala , Aboitiz , Big developers
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