PROPERTY developer Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) is throwing in at least P4 billion to build its first iconic tower in one of Cebu’s business districts.

On Friday, Feb. 19, 2021, CLI unveiled Masters Tower Cebu, a project that will house a five-star luxury hotel Sofitel Cebu City, and retail and office spaces.

The 195-room Sofitel Cebu City will be operated by multinational chain Accor, a hospitality group headquartered in France.

Masters Tower Cebu sits on a 2,840-square-meter property in a prime corner lot inside Cebu Business Park. The 50-story tower is planned and designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in tandem with GF Partners and Architects.

SOM is the architect behind the world’s tallest tower, Burj Khalifa in Dubai, among many other iconic towers around the globe.

CLI president and chairman Jose Soberano III said building Masters Tower Cebu and bringing in the Sofitel brand is the company’s strategic move as it anticipates the upsurge of the

local economy and the return of international travelers in the years ahead.

The group also anchors its confidence on the double-digit growth it posted in 2020 amid a Covid-19 pandemic-hit economic landscape.

Masters Tower Cebu will be completed in 2025. The project will break ground in the second quarter of 2021.

It is CLI’s most iconic architectural structure to date, with a towering crownlike structure to represent the “Queen City of the South.”

“This project is the culmination of our learnings as a full-line developer catering to a range of markets in one of the most dynamic regions of the country,” Soberano said. “We want to build this project for Cebu, to show our positive outlook for this growth city,” he added.

The tower’s office spaces will be from the eight to the 12th floor of the tower. The 14th to the 32nd floors will house Sofitel Cebu City with amenities such as a grand ballroom, two restaurants, executive lounge, meeting rooms, roof deck, swimming pool, gym and spa.

Hotel business

CLI currently has eight hotels under various stages of development, including Sofitel Cebu City. The firm will have a total room inventory of 1,400 by 2025.

Accor chief executive officer of Southeast Asia Garth Simmons said they see big potential for the country’s tourism industry in the post-pandemic era, citing the country’s large and

strong domestic base.

“There is a strong ambition for people to travel now,” said Simmons, hinting at a strong travel and tourism comeback as soon as the pandemic is over with Covid-19 vaccines being rolled out.

Mathias Bergundthal, CLI Premier Hotels Inc. director of assets, said CLI’s partnership with Accor will further cement Cebu’s footing in the global tourism map.

“There’s a low penetration of international hotel brands in Cebu, so partnering with Accor will further make Cebu City competitive,” he said. “According to various researchers like Colliers International Philippines, tourism and travel will certainly come back in three to five years when our hotel is opening its doors and CLI aims to be in there, well positioned strongly during its comeback.”

Sofitel Cebu City is said to complement the group’s other hotel brands like Radisson Red and Citadines Cebu City, which are both in partnership with global hospitality firms Radisson Hotels and Ascott Limited. (KOC )