Gokongwei proposal now up to Council

WHEN they meet on Tuesday, the Cebu City Council will take up an P18-billion question.

That’s the value of a proposed development that an affiliate of the Gokongwei group wants to establish on Kawit Island in the South Road Properties (SRP). The unsolicited proposal was submitted to the City Council last Friday.

This, after Mayor Tomas Osmeña approved the unsolicited proposal from Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) and no bidder challenged it.

The joint venture selection committee (JVSC) chaired by Cebu City Administrator Nigel Paul Villarete has closed last Feb. 14 the period of submission of comparative proposals.

Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, the mayor’s executive assistant who also serves as his representative to the JVSC, said they asked the City Council to authorize Osmeña to sign the contract with UHRI.

“Right after the Council authorizes the mayor to sign the contract, the developer can start developing the property,” Fernandez said.

UHRI is an affiliate of JG Summit Holdings Inc. and wants to develop an integrated resort and casino complex in the area.

In a statement, UHRI said the proposed development will consist of a commercial and shopping center, a theater for performing arts, a convention center, an integrated resort and gaming facility, three hotels, a theme park, a public art installation, and parking facilities.

It added that with the business venture, land prices at the SRP and its surroundings are expected to increase.

Osmeña agreed to it, saying that the City can still sell the lots at a higher price after the lease.

“After how many years, the City will still own the property. If the lease expires and the City will sell it, whoever the mayor will be that time, all our children will have free college education,” he said.

At least 5,000 estimated new jobs may be created as a result of the project.

UHRI will lease the property for 50 years. The project will be conducted at no cost to the City Government. JG Summit Holdings’ other subsidiaries operate in aviation, banking, food, petrochemicals, and property. It also holds stakes in PLDT, Manila Electric Company and owns 30 percent of Global Business Power Corp. (RVC)
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