Filinvest hopes BPO complex will be completed this year

FILINVEST Land Inc. revealed that its business process outsourcing (BPO) complex in Lahug, which recently got a certification from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza), may be completed before the end of 2014.

The statement came last week from its area general manager for the Visayas Allan Alfon, who said the delay in the completion and operation of the first tower was caused by road access problems.

The P6-billion project, the Filinvest Cebu Cyberzone, is expected to generate 20,000 jobs once the four buildings will be completed in a 1.2-hectare property beside the Cebu IT Park, said Alfon. It is a joint venture between Filinvest and the Cebu Provincial Government.

“The first building should have been completed early this year, but there were problems in construction, equipment access. Technically, it is delayed already, beyond our control,” the official said.

Filinvest has been asking for its heavy equipment to be allowed to use the W. Geonzon St. in the Cebu IT Park of the Ayala Group.

The project site is currently separated by a concrete wall from Cebu IT Park, which is managed by the Cebu Property Ventures and Development Corp., a subsidiary of Cebu Holdings Inc., which is an affiliate of Ayala Land.

“It (concrete wall) should be removed, it should be taken out. The only access (that we have) is along Salinas. It will complicate the problematic traffic condition along Salinas. (We need to) have another access on Geonzon, so we can spread out the traffic,” Alfon said.

Last July, Gov. Hilario Davide III said that a ramp will be built “to connect the buildings’ driveway and parking to W. Geonzon St.” The governor said that W. Geonzon St. has long been declared a public road through a resolution by the Cebu City Council.

Alfon said FLI is closely coordinating with the Cebu Provincial Government to resolve the issue.

The developer sealed a build-transfer-operate (BTO) agreement in a public bidding in 2012, when it committed to build the BPO complex and operate it after transfer for 25 years.

FLI, through Cyberzone Properties Inc., is obligated to pay the province a monthly rental of P50 per square meter for 12,290 sq. m.

In an e-mail forwarded by FLI to Sun.Star Cebu yesterday, the company said it has already paid P15.35 million to the province.

Once operational, the company has also guaranteed the province an additional P500,000 a month as its share of revenue, an amount that would increase if two percent of the revenue goes beyond the guaranteed amount.

Under the BTO agreement, FLI said that the province will also “ensure unconditional right or access and passage through W. Geonzon Road St.”

“We are in a hurry to resolve the issues because there’s a lot of interest (coming
from our locators in Alabang Cyberzone),” Alfon said.

Last week, FLI announced in a press release that it was certified as an Information Technology Center by Peza. Aside from the employment opportunities that the project presents, Alfon said this will also be another source of revenue for Cebu and contribute to the appreciation of real estate values in the city.

FLI is also pursuing a residential project in Suba Basbas in Lapu-Lapu City, which will be launched late this year. The company is in the process of acquiring a 30-hectare property in Marigondon in Lapu-Lapu and is in negotiations with a landowner for a 30-hectare property in the City of Naga, for its other projects in Cebu.
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