Friday, February 8, 2013

ALI invests P5 billion more in Cebu

AFTER investing a total of P14 billion in Cebu in the last three years, property developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and its subsidiary Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI) are pouring in a fresh investment of P5 billion for its various projects in Cebu this year. Included in the capital expenditure (capex) for Cebu is the P1.6-billion ACC Corporate Center, which will soon rise on the western side of the Ayala Center Cebu property along Bohol Street, and other residential and retail projects. ALI president Antonino Aquino on Wednesday said this new investment for Cebu is a testament of their optimism and confidence in Cebu’s thriving economy, as shown by the performance of Cebu Park District, which covers the Cebu IT Park and Cebu Business Park (CBP). He said the establishment of the ACC Corporate Center will now make the Cebu Business Park development fully-integrated with elements like hotel, retail, residential and corporate offices in place. “This will be a new home to business process outsourcing (BPO) locators,” Aquino said during the project’s ground-breaking ceremony. 3,000 employees The ACC Corporate Center, which sits on a 3,424-square-meter property, is a envisioned to be a 20-storey, Grade A building, which will cater to the office space requirements of BPO locators and will complete the “live, work, play” concept at the CBP. The building will have 12 floors of office spaces with a total gross leasable area of 28,574 sq.m., two floors for retail establishments which will operate 24/7, and six levels of parking. The building can accommodate at least 3,000 employees. “This is the first of its kind here and is completely attached to the Ayala Center Cebu. It is located near the terminal, the proposed bus rapid transit and is situated in the very center of things,” said Aquino. He noted that new and existing BPO firms have already expressed interest in the building, but no formal agreements have been signed yet. “One unique element of our products that has attracted buyers is that our products are right in the middle of a thriving community,” he said. ACC Corporate Center’s completion is slated in the second quarter of 2015. As for its other projects, Aquino reported brisk sales of its residential projects both at the CBP and Cebu IT Park. He said the units of high-end 1016 Residences and two towers of Solinea condominium projects are already sold out. The company is now preparing the follow-through of the third tower of Solinea and Avida Riala at the Cebu IT Park. New wing this year CBP and Cebu IT Park have five residential projects each that are still under construction. Meanwhile, Ayala Center Cebu is preparing to open its new wing by the fourth quarter this year. According to the mall’s general manager Clavel Tongco, most of the tenants in the new wing are foreign brands, including some that are found at Ayala’s Greenbelt 5. Among the confirmed locators is Rustan’s, which will have a three-level retail space. It will also have a supermarket and high-end brands like Zara. The fourth level of the new wing will house more dining establishments. The Phase 2-B project has cost the ALI and CHI some P2.5 billion. Rowena Tomeldan, ALI vice-president and head for operations and support services commercial business group, said the company is aggressive in expanding its retail operations nationwide, given the property boom in the country. 27% growth as of September She said the company is also considering a retail development at Cebu IT Park. “These are still rough plans but we will definitely add more retail projects in the IT Park. We are just careful in the selection of retail stores,” she said, on the sidelines of the press conference. The retail group has recently expanded in Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod. The firm also ventured into community centers where they allotted spaces for homegrown products. ALI’s net profit from January to September 2012 grew by 27 percent year-on-year to P6.62 billion. Its consolidated revenues for the first nine months reached P39.01 billion, 20 percent higher from 2011. The bulk of its revenues were from the hotel and residential segments, which went up by 20 percent to P36.89 billion