Hann Lux - Philippine’s newest gem

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) - June 7, 2020 - 12:00am

New Clark City will soon be the home of the biggest and most ambitious luxury destination resort in the country.

In an interview with The STAR, Dae Sik Han, president and chief executive officer of Hann Development Corporation, a member of the Widus consortium, revealed that the consortium has entered into a lease agreement with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) for a 450-hectare property at New Clark City to be developed as Hann Lux Lifestyle Resort, an ultra-luxe integrated mountain resort which will be built at a cost of P12 billion over the next 10 years.

Han said although their commitment to BCDA is P12 billion in minimum investment for Hann Lux, the consortium expects the total project cost to be more than double.

The project will be developed in two phases, with the first phase covering the first five years and 300 hectares and involving the development of one 18-hole championship golf course, villas under the Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts brand to be managed by Accor Hotels, and a club house; and the second phase involving two 18-hole championship golf courses, two five-star hotels, outdoor recreation facilities, premium villas and residences, mixed-use commercial center, and a 10-hectare public park.

The second phase will involve a minimum investment of P7 billion until the end of the 10th year and will cover 150 hectares.

All these developments will be located in what are currently mountainous raw land. The lease contract with BCDA is for 50 years plus 25 years.

Han explained that while Hann Development Corp. will be leading the development of the Hann Lux project, the Widus Group, particularly Widus Philippines Inc. and Widus International Leisure Inc., which is the owner and developer of the Widus Hotel and Casino, and the Clark Marriott Hotel, are in full support and participation to this endeavor.

He said that the consortium has hired several international consultants and has partnered with the best in the industry for Hann Lux. Among these are Accor Hotels for the Banyan Tree Hotel and Angsana Hotel; Marriott International for the Westin Hotels and The Luxury Collection; Nicklaus Design by Jack Nicklaus, Sir Nick Faldo Golf Design, and South Korean and PGA Tour professional golfer KJ Choi for the design of the golf courses; Atkins for the masterplan; WATG of Singapore as lead architect; CASA + Architects as local architect; AECOM as environment consultant; and Tenman Philippines for construction management.

To ensure the sustainability of the project, Han explained that they have hired AECOM to conduct the environmental study to ensure that all their designs and operations are sustainable and do not harm the environment. He added that BCDA has a set of guidelines that they will need to follow to address all these. The group expects to secure the environmental compliance certificate for the project this quarter.

In terms of hiring locals for the project, Han pointed out that their current projects, namely Widus Hotel & Casino and the Clark Marriott, employ more than 1,000 employees, only three percent of whom are foreigners. For Hann Lux, they expect to hire a minimum of 141 employees for the pre-opening including project construction period and at least 457 employees during the operations by the end of Phase 2 development.

Meanwhile, in order to assist the communities where Hann Lux will be established, specifically the towns of Capas and Bamban in Tarlac, Han said that the group is developing a skills training program through the Widus Foundation Inc.’s (WFI) Social Development Plan to ensure that the communities will also benefit directly from such investment. WFI is currently doing the ground works and formulating plans and programs that will enhance the lives of the nearby communities thru skills and livelihood training, and social services such as improvement of health and educational services.

Clark is the future

Widus has been in Clark since 2007 where it opened its first hotel in 2008. And according to Han, Clark has a huge potential for tourism primarily because of the Clark Airport.

Han explained that Clark is fast becoming one of the top destinations in Northern Luzon for both tourists and investors, adding that they hope to attract more with the development of a new leisure resort in New Clark City, one that is in keeping with the vision of BCDA.

While Widus currently caters to both the local and international market, specifically Koreans which is its largest market, as well as gamers, golfers, families and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), he said that they expect to attract other nationalities especially those from Asia with the expansion of Clark International Airport.

As planned, Hann Resorts which is owned and developed by the Widus Group will be composed of two resorts. For the first resort located in Clark, the already operational Widus Hotel and Casino will be known as Hann Casino Resort which will be composed of Widus Hotel (233 rooms), which will be renovated and converted into Mercure Hotel (under management contract with Accor) Widus Casino which will be transferred to a new and bigger location and rebranded as Hann Casino, and Clark Marriott Hotel (260 rooms) which has an existing management contract with Marriott. It will also have Swissotel (370 rooms also under Accor).

The second resort will be Hann Lux in New Clark City which will be financed by the Widus Group. It will be the site of Angsana (200 rooms under management agreement wuth Accor), Banyan Tree (50 villas also under Accor), Westin (200 rooms, Marriott), and Luxury Collection (50 rooms under Marriott management).

Hann Lux will also be developing both branded residences as part of the branded hotels – Banyan and Westin, as well Hann Lux Residences (possibly residential house and lots) which will be offered by way of leasehold.

The golf courses, meanwhile, will be open to the public but priority will be given to in-house guests, members, and residents, Han said.

According to Han, while their developments are concentrated in Clark in Pampanga and New Clark City in Tarlac, they believe that growth and expansion are endless and as long as there are opportunities, they will welcome them.

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