Wealthy families keep pouring money in south road properties

Carlo Lorenciana

INVESTORS’ money is flocking to the South Road Properties (SRP), seen to be the next bustling growth area in Cebu.

The country’s big conglomerates—owned by the wealthy families of Gotianun, Gokongwei, Sy and Ayala—are betting big on the SRP.

These big companies are shaping up Cebu’s economic boom in the new decade.

They’re building their biggest projects in Cebu yet.

Gotianun’s Filinvest Land is now keen on developing further its 19.2 hectare property at SRP.

Property giants SM Prime Holdings and Ayala Land are also building together a new business district at the reclaimed land.

On the other hand, the Gokongwei group is betting on Cebu’s gaming business potential, with its casino resort project set to rise at SRP.

Joey Bondoc, senior research manager at Colliers International Philippines, said Cebu has remained a top investment destination outside the capital.

The country’s second largest city is attracting money from investors to cash in on its economic growth.

“Developers such as SM and Filinvest have acquired parcels of land in the SRP area and will develop integrated communities that are being positioned as Cebu’s next major business hubs,” Bondoc said.

Earlier, Filinvest, together with its consortium partners, already fully paid P6.7 billion to the Cebu City Government for the 19.2 hectare SRP lot it bought in 2015. The company is transforming the property into a mixed-use development with residential, office, commercial and retail components.

“We were the first investor in SRP, the first to see its high growth potentials, and the first to believe in it. We are very happy with the fulfillment of this acquisition,” said Filinvest Development Corp. president and chief executive officer Josephine Gotianun-Yap.

“We now have a total developable land size of around 70 hectares which is the biggest share owned by any developer in the SRP. We are excited about what we can develop given the large size of land we have and influence the trend and development directions in SRP to maximize its growth potentials,” she said.

The SM and Ayala groups are also joining forces to develop a 26-hectare lot, across the SM Seaside complex, into a business hub that will soon see the rise of an arena, convention facilities, hotels, office towers and other developments.

Company officials said the groundbreaking for the project is eyed within the first quarter of 2020.

The SRP property that SM and Ayala seek to develop is part of the 45.2 hectare lot of the reclamation area that they and Filinvest bought in 2015.

Earlier, the Cebu City Government granted a go signal to the consortium to proceed with their joint project.

Gokongwei-led Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. is investing some P25 billion to build an integrated casino resort project, the Isla dela Victoria, whose construction is now ongoing.

Bridge to boost SRP boom

The 2021 completion of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the third bridge linking Cebu mainland to Mactan Island, is seen to bring more traffic to SRP, where the foot of the bridge will rise.

“Accessibility is one of the major considerations in choosing where to invest and develop real estate projects. Improved accessibility is expected to pull up residential property prices in areas surrounding the new and upcoming infrastructure developments,” property consultancy firm Santos Knight Frank said in its latest research note.

The real estate agency said property developers are directing efforts in securing developable land in these areas, including the SRP given the projected robust market demand.

It said the current sales velocity of projects along the SRP is foreseen to pick up once the CCLEX is completed.

“The construction of the CCLEX will create travel efficiency that is presumed to drive economic growth and productivity, and improve the overall welfare of Cebu locals and visiting guests. A heightened level of business, tourism and investment activities is anticipated within the area, encouraging property development and project launches,” Santos Knight Frank said.