A PROPERTY management and research firm sees partnerships between national and local developers in the building of mixed-use estates as a key strategy to survive in a “fiercely competitive” Cebu real estate market.

In the report “When Giants Invade: National Property Developers Redefining Cebu” published last Monday, Colliers International Philippines said partnerships between national and local property firms will allow developers to strategically expand their land bank.

Tie-ups with local developers will also enable national firms to leverage on local developers’ familiarity with Cebu and its residents.

“This should allow national developers to customize their real estate offerings based on the local investors’ and end-users’ preferences,” the report said.

Some of the notable partnerships include AyalaLand’s joint venture with AboitizLand for the Gatewalk Central project in Mandaue, and Taft Properties and regional developer Hongkong Land’s joint development of a 20-hectare, mixed-use site along Mactan Channel.

Colliers recommended that national players with limited land banks stay on the lookout for ongoing reclamation projects.

Land in reclaimed areas is much cheaper than those in established business hubs, enabling national developers to offer residential or mixed-use projects at a discount, the report said.

Some of these reclamation projects being eyed are the 100-hectare light industrial park in the town of Minglanilla and the 1,500-hectare reclamation project proposed by SM Prime Holdings Inc. in Cordova.

Colliers considers the property boom in Cebu unique, as it offers an alternative metropolitan-paced business lifestyle “at a discount” to Metro Manila and where the real estate sector includes participation from both national and local developers.

Aside from tie-ups, Colliers wants to see more integrated townships that incorporate industrial, leisure, education, and healthcare altogether, apart from office, residential, and hotel setups.

Maximing brand equity of national players in the Cebu real estate scene was also recommended. In the case of Federal Land’s Marco Polo Residences in Nivel Hills in Cebu City, it currently commands one of the highest rents in Cebu since it carries a global brand and is near Cebu’s central business districts and universities.

Over the next five to 10 years, Colliers said Cebu will become a more attractive destination, with the development of crucial air and road infrastructure projects which should significantly bring down the cost of doing business in the region.

Some of these include the proposed light rail transit (LRT), bus rapid transit (BRT), Metro Cebu Expressway, Cebu subway, Cebu-Cordova bridge, and the Mactan-Cebu International Airport expansion.