CEBU Province has gained more than P2 billion more in assets after Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) turned over the second tower of Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu to the Provincial Government on Wednesday, April 20, 2022.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the joint venture with FLI, which will operate the building for 25 years, will greatly help the Capitol’s coffers.

“This will again increase our assets. In fact, Tower 1 has already been turned over and Tower 2. I think the Tower 1 was included in the computation of our total assets for the year 2021,” Garcia said during the turnover ceremony.

Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City is a joint venture commercial development between Filinvest and the Cebu Provincial Government.

The 1.2-hectare Philippine Economic Zone Authority-accredited project is a four-tower modern office development intended to cater to blue chip firms.

Based on the Commission on Audit’s Annual Financial Report on local government units released in 2021, Cebu Province had P203.9 billion in assets in 2019.

Garcia said that in 2022, Tower 2 would already be included in Cebu Province’s overall assets, like the other P2 billion that was included in 2021 following the turnover of Tower 1.

Tristan Las Marias, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of FLI, said they had not been delayed in their construction of the remaining two towers to be built on the 1.2 hectares of land owned by the Capitol in the Cebu IT Park.

“We are actually advance on the construction of our Tower 3. That’s our commitment to the province. We have begun more than 20 percent in our percentage of completion for our fourth and last building,” Las Marias said. “So we are hoping that by end of this year we will be able to deliver that and generate revenues for both 3 and 4, which will be turned over to the Province of Cebu under the Build, Transfer and Operate project.”

Under the joint venture agreement, FLI must pay P500,000 to the Capitol or two percent of the monthly revenue of each tower, whichever is higher.

Job creation

Las Marias said thousands of jobs had been created with the development of the project, including the hundreds working for its construction.

“We are proud to say that through Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu Towers 1 and 2, approximately 29,000 new jobs were created, while for the upcoming Towers 3 and 4, we expect to generate approximately 21,000 new jobs from the office spaces alone. Our retail spaces are expected to add another 1,000 jobs,” said Filinvest REIT president Maricel Brion-Lirio, who was also at the ceremony on Wednesday.

During the turnover of Tower 2, FLI, led by president and chief executive officer Josephine Gotianun Yap, also unveiled a marker to commemorate its partnership with the Province of Cebu for Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu.

“Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu is one of our biggest investments in the province. Through this development, we aim to provide world-class office spaces to empower global and local businesses to thrive in Cebu. We are ever grateful for the support of our joint venture partner, the Province of Cebu, led by Gov. Gwen Garcia,” said Gotianun Yap.

Garcia looks forward to the completion of the remaining two towers, saying this would further increase the assets of the Province, enabling it to help more Cebuanos.

“As I always said, being the richest province in the country is a meaningless honor if I cannot translate that to actual services for the Cebuanos, if I cannot translate that to a better life. We cannot do everything, but at least for majority of the Cebuanos, especially those who really need help,” Garcia said.

Garcia described the JVA with Filinvest as a unique one as it employs a Build-Transfer-Operate (BTO) scheme wherein FLI can start operating the property only after property ownership has been transferred to the Cebu Province. Towers 1 and Tower 2 are together worth more than P4 billion.

Garcia added that aside from the revenue sharing and the BTO scheme, FLI pays Capitol rent for the land on which the buildings stand with the rental to increase every two to three years.

According to a statement from FLI, Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu’s completed Towers 1 and 2 have a combined gross leasable area of 48,233 square meters of office space and 1,307 square meters of retail space.

Towers 3 and 4, set for completion in 2023, have a combined gross leasable area of 38,718 square meters of office space and 5,471 square meters of retail space.

The first tower of Filinvest Cyberzone Cebu is part of the portfolio of Filinvest REIT Corp. (FILRT), the real estate investment trust of the Filinvest group. Listed in the Philippine Stock Exchange, FILRT’s portfolio consists of 17 Grade A office buildings totaling over 300,000 square meters of gross leasable area.

Filinvest Land has 14 projects in Cebu.