A FIVE-MEMBER ad hoc committee was formed by the Cebu City Council yesterday to evaluate the P18-billion proposal of Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. (UHRI) for a joint venture project with the City Government to develop Kawit Island in the South Road Properties (SRP).

Its creation came after Councilor Eugenio Gabuya Jr. sponsored a resolution allowing Mayor Tomas Osmeña to enter into the joint venture agreement with UHRI.

Councilor Renato Osmeña will serve as chairman of the committee, whose other members are Councilors Margarita Osmeña, Sisinio Andales, Raymond Garcia and Jose Daluz III.

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.

Under the proposed joint venture agreement, the City will get a 10-percent share from the lease of commercial and shopping areas, hotels and the integrated resort, and 15 percent from the casino’s operation.

UHRI will also pay the City P1 million a month as assistance for the administration of the SRP once construction starts.

A grace period of five to eight years will be granted to UHRI to allow the developer to stabilize its operations.

Since the Senior Citizens’ Center and the SRP Administration Office stand on Kawit Island, UHRI also agreed to replicate the structures on a property in front of City Hall.

The City, for its part, is required to render assistance to the private firm, such as providing the road-right-of-way and other easement rights necessary for the construction of the project and to ensure unimpeded and peaceful possession of the property while the joint venture is in effect. (RVC)