Consuls see SRP’s investment potentials

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Friday, February 7, 2014


UNITED States, Israel and Poland, through their respective consuls in Cebu, think that the South Road Properties (SRP) is a viable area for investment.

“It’s a good location, accessible and it’s right next to the ocean,” said United States Honorary Consul John Domingo of the SRP.

This came to light because of the proposal of the Japanese Group I-Land Ways Philippines to put up a 1.2-hectare retirement facility at lot 7 of the SRP.

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I-Land expects the construction and operation of the facility to generate employment to at least 3,000 Cebuanos.

So far, there are no US investors making formal pronouncements of their interest in the SRP.

Domingo said he sees potential for more condominiums, electronic factories and business process outsourcing (BPOs) at the SRP.

Israel Honorary Consul Emily Benedicto-Chioson agreed that SRP is a good place to invest in and she will do her part to promote it to Israel.

On the part of Poland Honorary Consul Carmel Durano, she said that there was no formal presentation on the SRP to Poland.

Durano believes that once she gets the concept and if there is a formal offer from the Cebu City Government to promote the SRP, then she would do so in Poland.

The SRP is a major development of the Cebu City Government that is over a decade in the making.

So far, the SRP has three locators, but only Bigfoot Global Solutions have a lease contract of 25 years at $.40 per sqm. every month.

SM properties

SM Prime Holdings Inc. and Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) both bought properties for their respective developments. The latter also has a joint venture with the Cebu City Government.

Yesterday, I-Land Ways president Kazuhito Matsuda, flanked by SRP Manager Roberto Varquez and interpreter Junta Shinozowa, presented its proposal to the members of the media.

Last week, they shared the same presentation to the Cebu City officials.

Matsuda said Japan is aging fast with senior citizens representing 25 percent of the population and is expected to rule a third of the population by 2020.

“Japan’s senior citizens have the highest savings level in the world with each retiree having a personal savings from P8 to 10 million,” Matsuda’s report stated.

If the retirement facility, which could house over a thousand retired Japanese, comes to fruition, over half a billion pesos a year would be spent in Cebu City by the retirees and their families and friends who may come to visit.

According to I-Land’s computation, a retiree may spend P1,000 a day in tourism activities in Cebu City, which would translate to P405 million annually.

Varquez admits the group’s estimate is “very optimistic.”

“Satisfied retirees become the City’s ambassadors of goodwill who can bring in their family members and friends to visit as tourists,” I-Land also claimed, which means additional income for the City.

Buildings

The facility is composed of three buildings and construction alone may employ 1,000 workers. This means that about 5,000 people will directly benefit from the construction because these workers have families.

Additional 2,000 employees would be needed during actual operations of the facility as the company will have to hire hotel services staff, restaurant managers, caregivers and other medical staff.

The first building will have 16 storeys, 25 storeys for the second building and 30 floors for the last building. Cumulatively, the buildings will have 1,125 units.

The biggest draw for I-Land to invest in the Philippines is Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA’s participation in the SRP development.

The City Government took out a loan from JICA, and Matsuda said he feels safer investing in something owned by the government.

Matusada also shared a Long Stay Foundation study on the best countries to retire and the Philippines came out seventh. Malaysia ranked first followed by Thailand and Hawaii.

Aside from that, Matsuda said, “It’s also the hospitality and personality of the people.”

Varquez said the biggest consideration for the I-Land is the peace and order situation. This was followed by cheap prices in the City compared to Japan and the natural beauty of Cebu’s environment.

A direct flight to and from Japan through Tokyo and Osaka is only four hours.

I-Land said it was impressed by the SM and FLI development at the SRP, including the proposed internal Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system.

The group hopes the facility can start construction next year. This means that the first building can be operational by 2017, the second building a year later and the third in 2019.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 07, 2014.

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