Greggy Araneta to create Caloocan’s first CBD

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Businessman Gregorio Ma. “Greggy” Araneta III is building the first central business district in Caloocan, hoping to hitch a ride on the expected boom in the area once San Miguel Corp.’s Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 7 (MRT-7) starts running.

In a recent interview, Araneta unveiled his plan to build a 140-hectare mixed use estate, which he said, would be the first in the city.

“That will be my central business district. There’s no central business district there. The only area beside that is La Mesa Dam watershed,” said Araneta, chairman of Araneta Properties and Gregorio Araneta Inc. (GAI).

Araneta said the planned development in Caloocan, which is along Quirino Highway, would be “the best township” he would build.

But, he said, his company would still have to wait for MRT-7 to be in place.

“We have to get the MRT their first. That should be the finished in two to three years,” Araneta told reporters.

“Because of the MRT, it will be a very good site for a commercial business district,” he said.

SMC, the diversified conglomerate, has already commenced construction of MRT-7, which will be 22.8 kilometers long serviced by14 stations.

The line will run in a northeast direction, starting from North Avenue in Quezon City to San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. It will span Quezon City and Caloocan in Metro Manila and will end at the proposed inter-modal terminal station in Bulacan.

As of September, the project is almost 10 percent complete.

SMC expects to complete the project by 2019.

Unlike Araneta’s other property developments in Bulacan, which he developed with other property developers such as Sta. Lucia and Ayala Land Inc., he may develop the CBD alone.

But he said he is not closing his doors on partners.

“It depends on the opportunities,” he said.

Eventually, Araneta’s Araneta Properties may do a follow-on offering to raise funds to finance the development of CBD and other projects in the area.

But Araneta stressed that nothing is final yet. He said all options would be studied.

The company posted a net income of P17.390 million in 2016 from P35.9 million a year ago as the company withheld the sale of some of its properties to wait for land value to go up.

Araneta is also chairman of PhilWeb, the listed gaming company.

His holding company, GAI, meanwhile, is pushing for the development of an LNG facility in Bataan with an initial phase that would have a capacity of 600 megawatts and an investment of roughly $1.2 billion.

He also has other investments in energy.

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