Freeman Cebu Business

Partnerships, niche markets fuel property boom

Ehda Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines – While upbeat projections on real estate have successfully attracted more capitalists to invest in the industry and gave birth to joint ventures, local developers have likewise cemented their foothold in the property market.

Though it seems that huge developers have taken a sizeable share of the real estate pie, most of their projects however are done in partnership with Cebuano landowners and seasoned builders.

The Metro Gaisano Group for one has partnered with Hong Kong Land, through its real estate arm Taft Property Venture Development Corporation for the P4.5 billion Mandani Bay project in Mandaue City, which is a 20-hectare township development.

"Everybody loves Cebu. Everyone is coming in," said Taft Properties chairman Jack Gaisano.

Gaisano said Cebuano capitalists like them are also stepping up their efforts to maximize Cebu’s lucrative business environment, not only in real estate development but in other sectors as well.

He further added that apart from the company’s partnership with Hong Kong Land, the company is also in talks with several other international firms for possible joint venture deals, not necessarily in real estate but also in other industries.

Another joint venture that happened this year is between American hotel management company Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, with local developer AppleOne Properties Inc.

The partnership formed the company AppleOne Mactan Inc., which will spend  at least P4 billion on Cebu’s first residential offering carrying the Sheraton brand. The joint venture will also mark the hotel’s re-entry to the Philippines with 250-luxury resort rooms.

Meanwhile, Aboitiz Land Inc., has introduced its ninth horizontal residential project in Cebu, the 60-hectare subdivision project located in Compostela, northern town of Cebu.

The Amoa project is a 10-year development plan expected to provide 400 units of house and lot packages in the first enclave.

Aboitizland vice president for marketing John Amon said the project will have a total of seven enclaves.

The Amoa development will take part of the company’s nearly P4 billion capital expenditure allocated for this year.

Local developers on niche markets

Philippine Association of Real Estate Board-Cebu Real Estate Board (Pareb-Cereb) president Samuel O. Lao said that although giant real estate companies are now trying to make their presence here, local developers still hold a great advantage against national players.

Some local developers who have limited land bank for development were sharp enough to find their own niche, opening up to the development of niche market property projects, said Philippine Allied Chamber of Real Estate brokers and Licensed Salesmen (PhilAcre) president Anthony Gerard Leuterio.

For instance, a young Cebuano entrepreneur couple pioneered this year the introduction of condominium homes for the thick millennial market in Cebu, and started to build at least 400 affordable units.

RFK Holdings Inc. Led by Richard Ray "Rere" King and wife Fiona will deploy the BLOQ Residences projects in three strategic areas in Cebu – in Banawa, Sikatuna, and Plaridel (in Mandaue City.) These exclude the prior project built by the company, the 126-unit condominium building in Talamban.

"Cebu is full of real estate choices," said Fiona, adding the company's direction however is directed towards building more economic-condominium units that appeal to the young, but earning market otherwise known as the millennials.

This free-spirited, independent, hardworking generation, Fiona believes should be given distinct residential product that understands the sensitivity of their pocket, without sacrificing their strong aspiration for "luxury."

"Small developers are catching up. They are pouring their money on more projects. Some are creating niche markets, some are also expanding out of Cebu," said Leuterio.

Primary Homes Inc., (PHI), aside from its intensive out-of-Cebu expansion move, it is also creating waves in providing homes for specialized market, like the young entrepreneurs.

In its seventh residential condominium project, PHI introduced this year its portfolio for the budding SOHO (small-office-home-office) segment, by offering part of its unit to this new wave of buyers.

PHI vice president for sales and marketing Ramiro Espina said that about 34 units of the total 314 residential units in its latest project, Mabolo Garden Flats are purposely built and designed for the SOHO dwellers.

In this special but flourishing condo market, Espina said PHI had to make the interior aesthetics, infrastructure set-up (fiber-to-home) designed to intertwine a harmonious ambiance of a home, at the same time a working place.

Other local but well funded developers like Cebu Landmasters Inc., Contempo Holdings Inc., Landtraders World Properties Corporation (LWPC), among others, also made big announcements this year of their respective multi-billion-pesos developments for Cebu in the next few years.

Meanwhile, big developers like Ayala Land Inc., Filinvest Inc., Megaworld Corporation, Vista Land and Landscape Inc., continued to expand their presence in Cebu, constantly looking at additional properties for possible projects in the future. (FREEMAN)

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