March 09, 2011
DAVAO CITY — Prices of land near the two biggest mixed-use projects in this city have increased significantly since two years ago.
Carlos Omar A. Vargas, president of the Chamber of Real Estates and Builders Association Davao Chapter, said land prices doubled since the start of the Abreeza project of Ayala Land Inc. and Anflo Investment and Management Corp. located just about a kilometer away from the city proper.
SM Prime Holdings’ SM North Davao in Lanang district is also under construction and located on the same street as Abreeza’s but about six kilometers north.
“The search for vacant spaces near these two projects has been intensive considering investors are upbeat,” Mr. Vargas told BusinessWorld.
Officials of both Anflocor and Ayala previously announced the shopping mall would open middle of this year, although not one among the officials of the two companies in recent days could provide a firm schedule on the formal opening. Aside from the mall, also included in the plan are structures for other projects such as a contact center building, a hotel and a residential condominium.
SM City Lanang, on the other hand, is expected to open next year, although Debbie A. Go, SM manager for Mindanao operation also would not specify the opening date. Like Abreeza, SM City Lanang is also a mixed-use project and will have a shopping mall, the second in this city for the Sy-owned company, and an information technology center.
Mr. Vargas said a square meter of land in any of the areas between Abreeza and SM Lanang could go up to as high as P25,000, way above the roughly P10,000 per square meter price before these projects started two years ago.
Florizel C. Chavez, president of the local chapter of the Real Estate Brokers Association of the Philippines, said the level of speculation in this section of the city has been so high since the opening of the two projects is highly anticipated.
Mr. Chavez said he had received several inquiries from investors who want land or office spaces near these two projects.
“Prices change depending on how near the area [is] to these projects,” he said.
Abreeza, located on a 10-hectare site in the city’s Bajada district, is just across another big development, the Northpoint condominium complex of Camella Homes and just a hundred meters away from Victoria Plaza, the city’s first shopping mall built in late 1980s.
As a mixed-use project, Abreeza will have a shopping mall that will be anchored by Robinsons Retail Group, which has invested about P800 million to accommodate upscale shops of major foreign and local brands.
Vicky E. Tamano, a resident of nearby Buhangin district, said she hopes to join the droves of people expected to troop to Abreeza when it opens considering it would be the most sophisticated shopping destination in the city.
“Even if there are too many people going to [Abreeza] on its opening day, I will try to squeeze in,” said Ms. Tamano.
“We expect more businesses to locate to the city considering these latest developments,” said Roberto P. Alabado III, City Planning and Development Office head.
He said the sheer amount of investments in these two projects has spurred property price speculation.
Abreeza alone needs roughly P6 billion to be completed, he noted.
The anticipation for the opening of these two shopping complexes has also affected the prices of land in nearby subdivisions and other residential areas.
In Palm Village, which is less than a kilometer away from Abreeza, a landowner just sold his 300-square meter residential property to a Manila-based locator for over P10,000 per square meter.
However, not all prime properties in the area are available to investors or property speculators. For example, the 12-storey Durian Hotel, which is just a stone’s throw away from Abreeza, is not likely to be sold in the near term.
The hotel closed down in 2002 after its owner and contractor Bayani T. Escora failed to pay his bank loan.
Both the bank and Mr. Escora, however, did not want to talk about the issue since a case has been in court.
However, a former official of a company that previously expressed interest in buying the hotel from the bank claimed it was “priced too high.”
This city’s northern section also hosts several other shoppers’ enclaves such as Robinsons Cybergate, the Gaisano Mall of Davao aside from Victoria Plaza. Just about a few hundred meters away from where the new SM project is located is Damosa Land, another commercial site under the Anflocor Group.
Jason C. Magnaye, head of the city’s business promotions center, said the two biggest projects in the city as well as property developments in nearby areas could result in further traffic congestion and drainage problems.
The same observation was echoed by a former president of Davao City’s business chamber in an interview.
“The city government and the project proponents must be cautious enough in seeing to it that these projects will not become big problems for local residents,” said Roberto C. Quinto, former president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Abreeza is a project of Accendo Commercial Corp., a joint venture between Ayala Land and Anflocor of the Floirendo family. A hotel subsidiary of property giant Ayala Land, Inc. has started construction at its first boutique hotel project in Mindanao and the second in the country.
In November, Ayala Land broke ground at its first boutique hotel project in Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City.
Ayala Land, which is also into residential, office and mall development, plans to build boutique hotels in Alabang in Muntinlupa, Quezon City, and Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental. — Carmelito Q. Francisco