About 30 years ago, Cebu Landmasters, Inc. (CLI) chairman and CEO Jose Soberano III worked as project manager of real estate giant Ayala Land, Inc. for its flagship project in Cebu, the development of the 50-hectare former Club Filipino de Cebu golf course into the Cebu Business Park.
Now, Soberano through CLI is transforming a 22-hectare former golf course into a township envisioned to become Davao City’s central business district, mirroring the development strategy of former employer Ayala Land.
In a statement issued on March 29, 2019, CLI said ground work has started on the P33-billion Davao Global Township (DGT) in Matina District in Davao City.
Phase 1 is estimated to cost P10 billion and will involve the development of 93,000 square meters (9.3 hectares) of gross floor area. Envisioned to rise in this portion by 2022 are a corporate center, two premier residential towers, a retail strip with a cineplex, and outdoor retail spaces called the DGT Town Strip, as well as a civic center to be named DGT Gallery.
The project is being undertaken by YHEST Realty and Development Corporation, a joint venture between CLI and the Yuson, Huang and Tan families belonging to the Villa-Abrille clan of Davao.
This is CLI’s first township project and it will rise in Davao, not in the company’s hometown.
The biggest CLI projects in Cebu are only mixed-use developments - the 1-hectare Base Line Center along Juana Osmeña St. in Cebu City, and the 1.2-hectare Astra Centre along A.S. Fortuna St. in Mandaue City.
CLI has about 50 projects in various stages of development in eight cities across the Visayas and Mindanao.
The proposed Davao township is about the pre-expansion size of the Cebu IT Park, another Ayala project in Cebu, and almost half the size of the Cebu Business Park.
DGT will be patterned after the Cebu IT Park and Bonifacio Global City in Metro Manila, and is expected to draw business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.
“The size of the (DGT) property, our first township development, will allow us to have a diversity of uses to make a complete and truly sustainable community. We envision DGT to be the central business district with a dynamic lifestyle that will provide economic and social value to Davao, one of the fastest growing economic regions in the country,” said Soberano, who is also YHEST chairman.
CLI’s partner, the Villa-Abrille family, is engaged in leasing of commercial offices and buildings such as Matina IT Park and Sutherland Global Services. They launched Davao's first residential subdivision in 1952 and put up the Davao City Golf Club, the first and oldest golf course in the city, until it was closed in 2018 to make way for DGT.
The family is also CLI’s partner in MesaTierra, a garden residential condominium, and The Paragon Davao, a mixed-use property that will host Citadines Paragon Davao.
“These are exciting times for Davao and the Philippines as this tie-up (with CLI) ushers a new generation of local homegrown developers ready to be at par with the best of the world,” said YHEST President Fred Yuson, a fifth-generation descendant of Francisco “Juna” Villa-Abrille.
“As the descendants of Juna Villa-Abrille, we commit ourselves to his legacy of hard work, humility and generosity. We are happy that in our generation, we are able to kick-start all these simultaneous developments and there’s no better way but to partner with VisMin’s leading developer Cebu Landmasters,” Yuson added. (Ventures Cebu)