NINE months have passed since all civil works on the Puso Village and the Mechanical Parking in the Maritima Ruins were halted, and the developers are still clueless as to the future of these projects.
In a phone interview on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023, Cebu2World Development Inc. (C2W) deputy general manager Lydwena Eco said they are hoping for the resolution of the ongoing civil case between the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) and the Cebu City Government over ownership of the Compania Maritima and its premises where these projects are located.
Eco said C2W and its parent company, Megawide Construction Corp., are not involved in the litigation case.
She said their role was to merely develop the lot and properties that were turned over to them by the City Government based on their January 2021 Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) for the renovation and rehabilitation of Cebu’s oldest and largest public market, the Carbon Public Market.
She said C2W has already spent close to P300 million on the construction and site development of both projects, but she could not provide the exact figures of how much the firm has lost since then.
“Due to the injunction, we cannot touch Puso (Village) right now. We are hoping that the case will be resolved soon so that we can start operating,” said Eco.
She said that both Puso Village and the Mechanical Parking have economic and tourism benefits and potential to Cebu City, as these are expected to generate jobs and livelihood.
These projects are located beside the Compania Maritima building facing the Mactan Channel.
The Mechanical Parking, which has 156 parking slots, has mechanical lifters to allow vehicles to be parked vertically and in a stack, thereby providing much-needed additional parking spaces in the area.
Puso Village is a commercial strip that has stalls for food, merchandise, local goods, and others, featuring 334 retail spaces, of which 138 will be food and beverage outlets.
The concept and design was based on Cebu’s famous diamond-shaped hanging rice called Puso.
A court order stopped its grand launch last January after its soft opening on Dec. 17, 2022, affecting the more than 300 vendors. The Mechanical Parking, which began operating on Dec. 16, was also forced to shut down.
On Dec. 23 2022, the Regional Trial Court Branch 10 of Cebu City issued a writ of preliminary injunction, abruptly stopping all civil works and operation on the lot along the premises of Compania Maritime, including Puso Village and the Mechanical Parking.
On June 5, 2023, the same court asserted, via a decision, CPA’s ownership of the Compania Maritima within the baseport of Cebu as defined under Executive Order 448 dated Feb. 5, 1975, which established the custom zone for the port of Cebu.
Despite the issuance of the court order, Eco earlier said that both the Puso Village and the Mechanical Parking could not be taken down without a final and executory order from the court.
Construction to start
Meanwhile, Eco said the construction of the main market, one of the hallmarks of C2W’s P8 billion redevelopment of the century-old Carbon Public Market, will start before the end of the year.
She said the engineering and civil design plans for the main public market to be constructed in the Barracks were already finalized, and the permits are now being secured to begin the construction.
The Carbon redevelopment is a public-private partnership project that involves the modernization of the oldest and largest farmer’s market in Cebu City into a commercial, heritage and cultural district with a multimodal and integrated transport hub.
This joint venture agreement will have a cooperation period of 50 years. Cebu City will retain ownership of the entire development with Megawide as its partner through C2W making a yearly guaranteed payment to the local government.
The first phase of the Carbon redevelopment includes the development of the Puso 24/7 Village, land transportation hub, Sto. Niño Chapel and public market.