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SM-Ayala consortium breaks ground at SRP

Property developers SM Prime Holdings, Inc., Ayala Land, Inc. and its subsidiary Cebu Holdings, Inc. held a groundbreaking ceremony for a proposed mixed-use business district at the South Road Properties (SRP) on January 29, 2020, more than four years after winning the contract to acquire the lot.

The SM-ALI Group consortium was declared the winner in the bidding for the 26.3-hectare Lot No. 8-B-1 at the SRP in June 2015.

The transaction, however, was challenged by lawyer Romulo Torres, who cited a Cebu City ordinance protecting the SRP from “unlawful and unauthorized transactions and dealings”.

A local court had junked the complaint and In May 2019, the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision. The Cebu City Council approved the development permit for the property in November 2019.

“After being derailed for years, this project is now officially a GO. Now happening is the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the SM-AyalaLand-Cebu Holdings Consortium at the South Road Properties,” Cebu City Mayor Edgardo C. Labella wrote in a Facebook post.

Photo from Cebu City Mayor Edgardo C. Labella's Facebook

Shortly after winning the contract to purchase the property, both SM and Ayala Land disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange that they will co-develop the property pursuant to a joint master plan.

The consortium will combine the “financial muscle, technical expertise and the real estate experience” of the SM and the ALI group, their joint statement read.

In a presentation before the Cebu City Council in November 2019, company representatives said a total of P310 billion will be invested in the development of a mixed-use business district at the SRP.

This would be SM's second development at the SRP and the Ayala Group's first.

SM is developing a 30-hectare property at the SRP, which includes the SM Seaside City Cebu, its biggest mall in Cebu and in the Visayas and Mindanao.

When SM opened the mall in November 2015, company president Hans Sy had told reporters that SM and the Ayala Group were going to separately develop their respective portions of the 26.3-hectare lot.

For the SM portion, Sy said he wanted to build an arena.

The plan, as presented before the city council four years later, includes the construction of a 60,000-seater convention center and the development of a one-hectare linear park. Target completion of the convention center is in 2023.

This joint development project is the third at the SRP, after the 30-hectare SM Seaside City Complex and the 50-hectare City di Mare township and Il Corso mall by Filinvest Land, Inc.

Filinvest is also set to develop another 19-hectare property within the SRP.

The SRP, a 300-hectare reclaimed area, has been touted as the next growth hub in Cebu City. (Ventures Cebu)

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