AFTER almost 12 years, the Cebu City Government is opening the South Road Properties (SRP) to its fifth development.
Before the year ends, the City is set to start the publication of the public bidding for the sale of a three-hectare property, said Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, executive assistant of Mayor Tomas Osmeña.
The City will be forced to conduct a public bidding if the Commission on Audit (COA) will not release an appraisal rate on the property, he said.
In an interview last July, Fernandez said they already asked COA to appraise the property, which is the first step to dispose of the property through an unsolicited proposal.
Federal Land Inc. has expressed interest to purchase the lot and develop it into a residential and commercial hub.
“We are now working it out for a public bidding because we won’t need a prior approval from COA. We initially planned to place the proposal of Federal Land to a Swiss challenge and submit a letter to COA about it. But until now, we did not receive any feedback. We are now working on the papers, but if COA will approve the Swiss challenge then we will go for it. But if not, we will proceed with the public bidding,” Fernandez said.
Last year, the City Council authorized Osmeña to dispose of three hectares of land in the SRP through a public bidding at P110,000 per square meter, or for a total of P3.3 billion.
Fernandez said they hope to start with the publication already, which is a first step to the public bidding.
Federal Land president Pascual Garcia, in a letter to Osmeña, is offering to buy the 29,881-square-meter Lot 1-F-8 at P115,000 per square meter with a total purchase price of P3.4 billion.
In the preliminary conceptual design that Federal Land submitted, their proposed development includes nine residential towers surrounded by street-level shops and restaurants. Five of the nine residential towers will have 26 floors, while the remaining four will have 36 floors.
Meanwhile, Fernandez said the City needs at least three bidders in a public bidding.
So far, only Federal Land has expressed interest in the property.
“Well, we hope that there are other interested bidders because, at present, there are few properties in City, which are as big as this SRP property,” he said.
It was in 2007 when the City started to make the lots in the SRP available to interested investors.
Also in 2007, Bigfoot Studios Inc. leased a portion of the SRP and signed a memorandum of agreement with the City to lease two hectares in the reclaimed property for 25 years.
In 2009, Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) inked a joint-venture agreement (JVA) with the City to develop 50.6 hectares.
Of the total area, the property developer bought 10.6 hectares on the waterfront.
In 2010, mall developer SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) bought a 30.4-hectare lot, where the SM Seaside City is now located.
All these transactions took place while Osmeña was mayor.
In 2015, or during the term of then mayor Michael Rama, the City disposed of two parcels, or around 45.2 hectares, to the FLI and a consortium of Ayala Land and SMPHI.
But when he assumed office in 2016, Osmeña said he would rescind the contract of sale of these two lots, saying the transaction was illegal.
Last August, Osmeña also signed a JVA with the United Hotels Resorts Inc. to develop Kawit Island in the SRP into an integrated resort facility.
The signing pushed through despite the case filed against it.