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Wednesday, August 21, 2019
CAGAYAN DE ORO

Cebu Landmasters, XU in talks for ‘Campus of the Future’

LEADING Visayas-Mindanao property developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) is in talks with Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan (XU) on a proposed new township project in the Northern Mindanao growth area of Cagayan de Oro City (CDO).

The listed company said it has received a notice of interest from Jesuit university XU to develop its 63.5-hectare property known as Manresa into a premier university town over the next several years. Manresa is located in an emerging commercial district in uptown CDO and is also near XU’s 12-hectare basic education campus at Pueblo de Oro.

The proposed project, which will be subject to final approval from the Jesuit central leadership, is expected to change the landscape in both uptown and downtown CDO. With the goal of achieving a final collaborative masterplan that considers the needs of significant stakeholders, consultations and discussions are ongoing.

“I am pleased to note that our mastery of the VisMin area allowed us to win the trust and confidence of Xavier University’s leaders. Our proposed masterplan is inspired not only by the best campuses here and abroad, but also inspired by our deep roots in the Ateneo. We are highly committed to meet their expectations,” said Jose Soberano III, CLI president and CEO.

CLI’s proposed masterplan was chosen by the XU Board of Trustees over those by national real-estate players. It features modern school buildings, dormitories, a main plaza, interconnected courtyards, an amphitheater, and a university forum that incorporates a museum, theatre and gallery. The masterplan also includes an abundance of open spaces and greenery.

For the past decade, the university had been considering to move most of its operations out from its six-hectare main campus in downtown CDO in order to provide a better learning environment for its college students. Before the implementation of the K to 12 educational reform, the campus along Corrales Avenue accommodated up to as many as 11,000 students. A new campus at Manresa can potentially cater to up to 25,000 students.

Under the plan, CLI proposes to acquire a 14.3-hectare portion of Manresa to integrate complementary commercial, residential, office, and leisure uses to the campus town. CLI also intends to acquire a portion of the Corrales campus and convert this into downtown CDO’s Central Business District, with XU’s Church of the Immaculate Conception at its heart. These acquisitions will fund the development of the Manresa campus and the redesign of the Corrales campus for XU’s School of Medicine, College of Law, and most of its graduate programs which are envisioned to remain in downtown Divisoria.

Cagayan de Oro City is the regional center of Northern Mindanao, serving as a hub for education, business, and logistics. CLI has three other projects in CDO—the three-tower MesaVerte Residences within the downtown area, and the soon to be launched Casa Mira Towers CDO condominium and Velmiro Uptown CDO modern community.

Soberano explained: “This possible venture with Xavier University will potentially be our second estate project in Mindanao after our Davao Global Township (DGT). It is in line with our thrust to expand our mastery to key VisMin cities by going up the real estate value chain and uplifting entire communities and neighborhoods through our estate projects.”

Phase 1 of the P33-billion 22-hectare DGT in Matina, Davao City is scheduled to be completed by the third quarter of 2023. Two other estate developments are lined up in the Visayas. In Cebu, the reclamation of the 100-hectare Ming-Mori Techno Business Park in Minglanilla will begin as soon as compliance works are fulfilled. Another 20-hectare property also within the province is also being eyed for conversion into a business park.

Cebu Landmasters was recently recognized as the Best Developer in the Philippines by Property Guru Philippines Property Awards. The listed company was also recognized as one of the Top Ten Best Developers in Philippines by BCI Asia.

Earlier, the company announced it has allotted P13 billion for capital spending this year as it continues to roll out more projects in the Visayas and Mindanao.

XU seeking Jesuit nod for proposed development

Meanwhile, XU is seeking approval from the Jesuit central leadership in Rome to develop a new campus for XU Higher Education Colleges on 21 of its 63-hectare Manresa property in uptown CDO.

As part of the process of seeking approval, Xavier Ateneo is conducting stakeholder consultations with parents, students, faculty & staff, alumni of XU; and CDO civic & government leaders. The objectives of the consultations are to present the proposed project, raise concerns, address issues, and generate possible solutions. The consultations will ensure a forward-looking and comprehensive masterplan.

For the past decade, XU has been considering moving most of its operations out from its 6-hectare main campus in downtown CDO to provide a better learning environment for its college students. The current campus in Divisoria has been found to be too congested; too noisy from outside traffic and from activities in the covered courts and football field; and at risk of flooding.

For almost three years now, the XU Board of Trustees has been developing a masterplan for a campus of the future. After considering several national real-estate players, the board chose property developer CLI as its partner in developing the proposals for this new campus project.

The planned campus of the future and township will feature well-designed school buildings and administration facilities that will cater to several academic and technical-vocational courses such as Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, Business & Management, Computer Studies, Education, Engineering, and Nursing. The campus will also be adaptable to developments in academic disciplines and technological innovations.

Main masterplan elements will include an abundance of open spaces and greeneries – a main plaza, interconnected courtyards, sports facilities, an amphitheater, and a University Forum which will incorporate a museum, theatre, and a gallery. The state-of-the-art Manresa campus will provide innovative spaces for learning, pioneering research, artistic expression, whole-person formation, and experiencing excellence.

The new main campus will retain the 25-hectare forest reserve in Manresa. It will be near XU’s 12-hectare basic education campus at Pueblo de Oro, allowing integration of campuses for greater efficiency and modernization.

The College of Agriculture facilities (e.g. demonstration farms, workshops, field laboratories) presently located in Manresa is envisioned to be transferred to XU’s 104-hectare property in Bugo known as El Gaucho. The Aggie facilities will be reconstructed and upgraded there.

To finance the construction of the new campus, XU is proposing to sell around 14 of the 63-hectare Manresa property to CLI. The said developer plans to turn it into a township project which will integrate complementary commercial, residential, office, and leisure uses to the campus town. XU is also proposing to sell around 4 of its 6-hectare property in Divisoria. CLI plans to convert this portion of the Divisoria campus into downtown CDO’s Central Business District, with XU’s Church of the Immaculate Conception at its heart.

In the project proposals, Xavier Ateneo will continue to be present in downtown Divisoria with the University Church; a redesigned campus for the XU Dr Jose P Rizal School of Medicine, College of Law and most of its graduate programs; and retention of 2 of the 6-hectare Divisoria campus.

If the new campus project is approved by the Jesuit authorities, it is expected to be developed over an 8- to 10-year period. The new campus is proposed to be named the Masterson Campus honoring the great visionary Jesuit Fr William Masterson SJ who foresaw the potential of Manresa in the 1960s.

This proposed masterplan for a campus of the future is in line with the Jesuit university’s strategic plan to be the best university in Mindanao and among the best in the Philippines especially as Xavier Ateneo moves forward to celebrating its centennial in 2033. (PR)


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