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Real Estate News
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Abaya: 2 common stations linking MRT-7 with LRT-1, MRT-3 now in design stages

By DANESSA O. RIVERA,GMA News
February 2, 2015 10:31pm
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/423850/economy/companies/abaya-2-common-stations-linking-mrt-7-with-lrt-1-mrt-3-now-in-design-stages
 
The construction of two common stations that will connect the Metro Rail Transit Line 7 to the Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT) and MRT Line 3 can go on as planned as the concessionaires have already agreed to proceed, Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said.
 
"As of now, ang feedback naman po sa akin, malapit na po kaming matapos, mukhang wala na pong immovable object sa diskusyon, mukhang magkaka-agreehan na po sila," Abaya told the Senate committee on public services on Monday.
 
"Nandoon po kami sa proseso ng pagfafinalize ng design na agree po yung dalawa (LRMC and ULC)," he added.
 
The firms involved in the agreement are Light Rail Manila Consortium, which bagged the P65-billion LRT-1 Cavite extension project, and San Miguel Corp.-owned Universal LRT Corp. (ULC), which holds the concession for the P63-billion MRT-7.
 
The LRMC is a partnership between Metro Pacific Investments Corporation and Ayala Corporation.
 
"Bahagi ng concession agreement with ULC, may nirerequire pong common station between MRT-3 and MRT-7. Pero ang nirerecognize po nila ay sa LRT-1," Abaya said.
 
"Kaya ang proposition po nila ay magtayo ng isa pang common station, sa tapat ng SM North Edsa, at may disenyo po silang ipinakita sakin," he added.
 
As part of its agreement with ULC, the government will not release any cash for the development of the proposed common station, the Cabinet secretary said.
 
"Fortunately, dahil sa kontratang nire-recognize nila, meron din po silang obligasyon na mag-construct, at ang kalalabasan po nito ay makakapagtayo ng isa pang stasyon, which is maganda sa ating mga pasahero," Abaya said.
 
The common station was originally supposed to be in front of SM North EDSA but the common station was relocated after a study showed government can save from P800 million to P1 billion if the station is built close to Trinoma, an adjacent mall owned by competitor Ayala Land Inc.
 
SM Prime asked the Supreme Court to stop the transfer of the common station, and the court issued a temporary restraining order against it on Aug. 1, 2014.
 
The important thing in building two common stations is that all parties agree, Abaya said. — JDS, GMA News
Why billionaires chose Manila for City of Dreams expansion

by Jon Carlos Rodriguez, ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 02/02/2015 10:35 PM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/02/15/why-billionaires-chose-manila-city-dreams-expansion
 
MANILA – Billionaires Lawrence Ho and James Packer officially opened City of Dreams Manila at the Entertainment City complex in Paranaque on Monday.

Ho and Packer are co-chairmen at Melco Crown Entertainment, the casino developer that brought City of Dreams to the Philippines.

The $1 billion-casino resort along Roxas Blvd. is the first City of Dreams outside Macau.

"Our vision was always to find greatest locations in Asia for integrated resorts. We've been very selective. After Macau, Manila is really the first place we decided to go into," Ho said in a press conference for the resort's grand opening.

Ho expressed confidence that the Philippine market will continue to grow in the coming years.

"Our philosophy is very simple, we want to build things that we are proud of, integrated resorts that will last over time and market must be big enough. Philippines is one of the fastest growing economies anywhere in the world. We are very lucky to be here. We think this market in terms of tourism, overall economy and consumer spending is consistently on the rise going forward," he said.

Packer, meanwhile, described City of Dreams Manila as a "world-class" integrated casino resort.

"I had high expectations, and the property has exceeded my highest expectations. I'm so proud to be here and I genuinely think that City of Dreams Manila is a world-class property," Packer said.

"I can see tourism growing hugely in the Philippines...I think it's true, I think you do have more fun in the Philippines," he added.

Clarence Chung, chairman of Melco Crown Philippines Resorts Corp., said the casino resort expects an average of around 15,000 visitors daily.

However, he noted that bulk of the revenues of City of Dreams Manila is not expected to come from gaming alone due to the various non-gaming activities inside the complex.

“The Philippine community go to good food, and enjoy themselves dancing and singing, that’s why we have the various amenities…Macau is more serious when the people play, here it is more relaxed,” he said at a separate press conference also held during the grand launch.

Chung added that City of Dreams Manila provides an additional site and a logical choice for gamers in Macau who fly to places like the US and Australia to play in casinos.

City of Dreams Manila was developed by MCE Leisure Philippines Corp. and SM Group's Belle Corp., and is managed and operated by Melco Crown's MCE Leisure Philippines.

The casino resort, which sits on a 6.2 hectare complex, had its soft opening in December, becoming the second facility to operate in Entertainment City after Bloomberry's Solaire.

To mark the grand launch, American artists Ne-Yo and Kelly Rowland as well as local singers Gary Valenciano, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Kyla, and Jed Madela performed.
 
Hollywood connection

City of Dreams Manila generated a lot of buzz after a Martin Scorsese-helmed trailer was released featuring Hollywood stars Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

In the promotional ad, the two actors were seen "competing" for a role at the casino resort.

The short ad was produced by Brett Ratner, a business partner of Packer at RatPac Entertainment.

According to Packer, he and Ho drew inspiration to enter the casino industry from Scorsese’s 1995 film “Casino.” The film also starred De Niro.

“In my view, both the movie business and the casino business, we sell emotion, we sell fun. We make people feel things…There’s always been a synergy” he said.

De Niro is also a co-owner of Nobu with celebrity chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa.

Aside from Nobu, City of Dreams Manila brings together hotel brands Crown and Hyatt, and leisure and lifestyle brands Pangaea Group and DreamWorks.
 
DreamWorks' first 'edutainment park'

One of the features of City of Dreams Manila is DreamPlay, the first education-based entertainment complex of DreamWorks Animation.

Joshua Wexler, the "chief executive of fun" at Pure Imagination Studios, said the Philippines is an ideal location for DreamPlay because of its partnership with Melco Crown and the friendliness of Filipinos.

"We have a great partner in Melco Crown and completely supportive of the vision and what we wanted to achieve. And also this is a wonderful community and a great place. We're excited to have it here," he told ABS-CBNnews.com.

DreamPlay allows children from ages 5 to 12 to roam around the interactive play space featuring characters from animated films "Kung Fu Panda," "Shrek," and "Madagascar."

The facility also offers themed-party rooms that can accommodate up to 70 people.

Wexler said the park has a capacity of around 1,200 people at any given time.

DreamPlay is expected to open before the middle of the year.
Greenfield District emerges as a new city center

February 2, 2015
http://www.mb.com.ph/greenfield-district-emerges-as-a-new-city-center/
 
As the first smart and connected district in the country that is “ahead of its time,” the 12.8-hectare Greenfield District along EDSA and Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City offers a balance between urban comfort, green living, and state-of-the-art-buildings.

Slowly becoming a lifestyle hub for city dwellers, this master-planned community developed by Greenfield Development Corp. also offers a multitude of lifestyle choices for everyone.

With a generous portion of the vibrant hub allocated to pocket parks, tree-lined roads and lush open spaces, it is possible to take leisurely strolls around the complex. Battling out traffic and congestion outside its perimeter is easy as a sense of calm and well-being takes over inside. Families can take the children out on a stroll, and fly a kite on weekends.

Dining al fresco is a regular sight along the many restaurants that line Greenfield District’s The Hub and The Portal. The newest dining strip offers various cuisines, a far cry from the usual run-of-the-mill fast food joints.

After its renovation and facelift, the Pavilion is now home to various retail outlets and food kiosks. Looking for bargain finds in the metro is easy in this three-story retail complex. Its recent renovation facelift melds well with the district’s chic vibe.

Weekend warriors on the look-out for a good run or a place to exercise can try the expanse at Greenfield District. Jogging paths surround the area and the firm tufts of grass serves as a better alternative to the gym. At night, the roads are well-lit and constantly patrolled by guards.

And there comes the emergence of sustainable weekend markets around the metro that has inspired Greenfield District’s very own. Local organic produce from the nearby provinces, to sweets, delicatessen, and nifty home décors abound at the Greenfield Weekend Market.

The mixed-use complex has also been used for a number of events – from dog festivals, furniture exhibits, auto shows to jam-packed concerts – making use of the wide open spaces.

Big concerts such as the Cinemajam 2014, San Miguel Oktoberfest, Ateneo Colorama and Bob Marley Day Manila were all held at the Central Park of Greenfield District.

“As more people are becoming lifestyle-savvy, we work harder to provide the perfect hub for every activity, for anyone, all in a lush green oasis at the heart of the metro,” said Atty. Duane AX Santos, EVP and GM of Greenfield Development Corp.

More than the complex around it, Greenfield District will also feature BPO offices and residential towers dubbed as the ‘home of the future.’

Twin Oaks Place, the premier residential offering of Greenfield, will be fitted with fiber optic technology that allows for a ‘smart,’ automated home as well as unparalleled digital interconnectivity.
Veritown Fort brings a different vibe to BGC

February 3, 2015
http://www.mb.com.ph/veritown-fort-brings-a-different-vibe-to-bgc/


For today’s urban dwellers seeking a unique and alternative lifestyle at the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, Federal Land is opening up a completely different side to this renowned district with a masterplanned development that brings the flair and sophistication of the Big Apple right in the heart of Metro Manila.
Veritown Fort’s structures are poised to transform the BGC skyline.

Veritown Fort is a one-of-a-kind New York–inspired community at the north side of BGC. This mixed-use township brings together a distinctive mix of residential, business, commercial and leisure aspects that make it a destination within a destination.

The gem in this modern city development is the Grand Hyatt Hotel — a hospitality establishment that puts Veritown Fort rightfully in place alongside the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. The 66-story structure bears the hotel brand’s esteemed level of luxury that is recognized across the globe.

Guests can expect the hotel to uphold the Grand Hyatt signature element of “five aces” — dramatic, welcoming lobbies; innovative dining options and F&B outlets; state-of-the-art technology; unique recreational and spa experiences; and comprehensive business and meeting facilities.

Further, the hotel is the cornerstone of one of the most sought-after luxury high-rise residential developments in Manila, which is the Grand Hyatt Manila Residences. Residents of this exclusive vertical community will be afforded the privilege of living the Hyatt brand of hospitality each and every day, with concierge services at their beck and call, as well as complete enjoyment of the hotel’s top amenities and facilities.
The Big Apple mall will be the newest luxury lifestyle hub.

Veritown Fort will also be home to a row of other high-rise residences reminiscent of plush apartments in Upper Manhattan. These are the Park West, Madison Park West, Central Park West and Times Square West — each a showcase of contemporary architecture that exemplifies world-class living standards.

Local and internationally renowned real estate, hospitality service and design masters collaborated to forge these iconic structures that are envisioned to make its own distinctive mark along the BGC skyline.

Completing the New York lifestyle are endless choices for shopping, dining and leisure all to be found at the Big Apple Mall — a commercial complex especially created to complement the distinctive vibe of Veritown Fort.

Taking off from the chic sophistication of the renowned Fifth Avenue retail destination, the Big Apple Mall will be the center of attraction in this modern concrete-and-glass jungle — wonderfully interspersed with greeneries and open spaces, making the entire development a beautiful walkable community.

Veritown Fort is part of Federal Land’s vast portfolio of real estate developments catering across various markets in the country. Over 40 years after its inception, the property arm of GT Capital Holdings has created a deep niche in the real estate industry as one of the most trusted names in property development.
Donald Trump happy with strong sales of Trump Tower in Makati

ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 02/02/2015 4:02 PM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/02/15/donald-trump-happy-strong-sales-trump-tower-makati
 
MANILA, Philippines - Century Properties Group said sales of residential units at Trump Tower at Century City in Makati have been brisk.

In a statement, CPG said it has pre-sold 94 percent of Trump Tower's units two years ahead of its completion. Trump Tower has over 250 units with a total sales value of P6.13-billion.

"We would like to congratulate our great partners, Century Properties Group, on this very exciting accomplishment. Together, we have done something very special and this fantastic property will set the standard of luxury and quality in the Philippines and beyond," said Donald J. Trump, Chairman & President of the Trump Organization.

Century Properties Chairman and CEO Jose E.B. Antonio thanked Trump for his confidence in the company.

"Putting a Trump Tower in the Philippines is Century's contribution to making Metro Manila an international destination. We are overwhelmed by the response from the market to the Trump Brand and are grateful, as this now affords the city one of the most luxurious buildings in the world, comparable to the city centers of New York, Hong Kong and Singapore," Antonio said.

Most of the buyers of units at Trump Tower are high-net-worth Filipinos and foreign nations, according to CPG Director for Investor Relations Kristina Garcia.

"The successful sales of Trump Tower is a strong indicator of the power of Trump and how Century Properties has maintained its solid position as a key developer of first-class residential developments within the central business districts of Metro Manila, while it continues to diversify into other market segments," Garcia said.

Trump Tower's construction has reached the 27th floor as of early January 2015.
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Real Estate News
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
PHL cites manageable outlook in keeping inflation targets for 2015, 2016

By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsFebruary 3, 2015 5:57pm
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/424767/economy/business/phl-cites-manageable-outlook-in-keeping-inflation-targets-for-2015-2016
 
The Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) has set the inflation target at 2 to 4 percent over the next four years as the inflation outlook remains manageable.
 
In Resolution No. 2015–1, the DBCC kept the current inflation target at 2 to 4 percent (officially put as 3 percent, plus or minus one percentage point) for 2015 and 2016, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas said in an e-mailed statement.
 
The inter-agency economic planning body also approved the same target for 2017 and 2018, the central bank said.
 
The government’s inflation target is defined in terms of the average year-on-year change in the consumer price index (CPI) over the calendar year.
 
The Bangko Sentral said the target in 2015-2016 "remains well attuned to the dynamics of the Philippine economy."
 
"In particular, this target is consistent with the country’s economic growth objective of 7 to 8 percent for both years," it said.
 
The DBCC kept the 7 to 8 percent gross domestic product (GDP) target in 2015, but cut the 2016 growth target to 7 to 8 percent from 7.5 to 8.5 percent, Budget Secretary and DBCC chairman Florencio Abad said last January 7.
 
The two-year outlook is understandable, given the weakness in global oil prices which will further spur household consumption, Security Bank Corp. economist Patrick Ella told GMA News Online.
 
"Oil prices are plunging and will continue for the period. And low oil prices will drive private consumption," he said.
 
Inflation in December 2014 slowed to 2.7 percent from 3.7 percent in November and from 4.1 percent a year earlier on lower oil and food prices. Full-year inflation averaged at 4.1 percent – within the 3 to 5 percent target set by the DBCC.
 
In its latest commodity outlook report, Washington-based World Bank foresees oil prices to average between $53 per barrel in 2015 and $57 in 2016.
 
While inflation outlook remains stable and manageable, the 7 to 8 percent growth target may be "too ambitious" if government will rely only on private consumption to drive the economy, Bank of the Philippine Islands economist Nicholas Mapa said in another phone interview.
 
"It might be a stretched target without government spending. The consumption side will be able to churn out a 3 to 4 percent growth, but the X factor is government spending and trade balance to meet that target," he noted.
 
Manageable outlook
 
Last year, the Philippine GDP grew by 6.1 percent, after accelerated government spending helped the economy recover in the fourth quarter.
 
The inflation target of 2 to 4 percent for 2017 and 2018, respectively, is "based on the recent assessment of current and prospective inflation trends which indicates a manageable outlook over the medium-term," the central bank said.
 
"Structural changes in inflation dynamics and improvements in the economy’s productive capacity support a low inflation environment that is consistent with the economy’s growth trajectory," it added.
 
Ella said uncertainty for those periods come from the movement of oil prices after 2016.
 
But the central bank has made it possible to stay within-target inflation, thanks to its policy tools, Mapa said.
 
"The BSP has done well to keep inflation within government targets with its measures," he said.
 
The Bangko Sentral said inflation has been within target in the last six years and is expected to remain so over the medium-term.
 
"Moreover, the BSP’s credible commitment to price stability has kept inflation expectations well anchored to the target," it added.
 
The central bank noted the multi-year target presents a long-term view on inflation and fosters greater predictability which helps economic decision-making by businesses, households, and other economic agents.
 
It is also in line with the commitment to greater transparency and accountability in its monetary policy.
 
The Monetary Board (MB), the central bank's policy-setting body, will hold its first meeting this year on Thursday, February 12.
 
Citing inflation risks, the MB raised policy rates twice in 2014, the overnight borrowing rate to 4 percent and the overnight lending to 6 percent.
 
It also raised the yields on special deposit accounts (SDAs) twice to 2.5 percent for all tenors.
 
The reserve requirement for thrift banks was also hiked twice to 8 percent, as well as for universal and commercial banks to 20 percent. – VS, GMA News
Thinking green: Are green developments the norm rather than the exception?

by Amor Maclang - February 3, 2015
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/thinking-green-are-green-developments-the-norm-rather-than-the-exception/
 
IN the time of the new normal, property developers are becoming more and more open to the idea of building green developments to help address business and social concerns.

The worsening natural disasters that hit the country in recent years—attributed both to human activity and the effects of climate change—has crippled not just the landscape of the areas affected, but also development efforts that aim to sustain the growth of local economies. Apart from this, the fact that we’ve just been through the hottest year in recent decades speaks volumes.

In response to the immense challenge we all face in this day and age, we are very thankful to see a greater number of property developers, who devote a significant chunk of their resources to promote green and sustainable-building initiatives.

I spoke to a few key players in the industry and asked them: Is sustainable building a worthy investment for real-estate developers? Is it becoming more of a standard practice rather than just a mere value-adding initiative?
 
Sustainability as a profitable business model

“The reality of climate change is inevitable and we know that we have to do something about it.” This was the insight shared by Arthaland President and CEO Angie de Villa Lacson.” As a company, we do not claim that what we do will save the planet. What we want to do is to enable our customers to practice an ecologically conscious lifestyle: using energy efficiently, consuming water efficiently, using nontoxic materials, and many others more.”

A solid case in point is Arthaland’s flagship residential condominium in Bonifacio Global City, Arya Residences. The twin-tower property, according to Lacson, is the country’s first and only top-end residential condominium development that is registered under the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).  Apart from this, Arya Residences also stands as the benchmark vertical residential development in the Philippine Green Building Council’s Berde (Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence), the country’s National Voluntary Green Building Rating System.

The two towers of the said property are uniquely shaped and architecturally designed to work with nature, thus, reflecting Arthaland’s philosophy of enlightened  luxury.

“We designed and built Arya Residences to seamlessly meld luxury and sustainability,” Lacson noted. “In contrast to the other popularly known office or commercial buildings that are LEED certified in the country today, Arya Residences has to go through tougher standard to be able to receive the certification.” Such an initiative was greatly appreciated by Arya Residences’s market, with Arthaland selling out almost 90 percent of the project’s 507 total units during the past year. “Taking the sustainability route makes potent sense. Our buyers appreciate our product as giving them the most value by creating a sound and livable environment,” she added.
 
Beyond just going ‘trendy’

Another developer that has championed the idea of green building, long before the rest of the local industry has gone the same route, is Vista Land.

This vision has empowered Vista Land to come up with its “Greenviron” initiative. Aside from helping the company promote sustainable and environment-friendly communities, the Greenviron campaign also aims to instill eco-friendly practices into the daily routines of homeowners in its communities. Among the many elements integrated into the campaign include: 1) the promotion of waste segregation and recycling practices in all Vista Land developments; 2) using woven coco-coir nets to prevent soil erosion; 3) the use of pine trees—one million of which have already been planted in Vista Land communities during the last five years—to create green zones that purify the air, hold the soil and soothe the spirit; and last, 4) promoting vermiculture to nurture the land that hosts its communities. Not only did the campaign effectively strengthen Vista Land’s reputation as a responsible developer, it also reinforced the idea that the company’s methods of community development were both advanced and perfectly sustainable.
 
Making a difference

For the men behind Italpinas Euroasian Design and Eco-Development Corp. (ITPI), championing the ideals of green, sustainable development is all about a sincere desire to make a difference.

Italpinas President lawyer Jojo Leviste III carries an unparalleled passion about environmental design and urban planning. As one of the companies that he leads, ITPI is built upon the philosophy of making a difference in property development in terms of sustainability and environmental impact. Together with his partner, multiawarded green architect, designer and ITPI CEO and Executive Chairman Romolo Nati, the two developed a unique and innovative design, development strategy and business model that they believe will influence what Filipinos should come to expect of our living environments.

“As the designer-developer, we use passive green architecture. This means that we integrate the green features in the design so they don’t cost additional money,” Leviste noted. “We are not talking about very high technological features which cost money to buy, meaning higher price for clients and also higher maintenance cost. Instead, we build structures where the design performs better.”

This concept is evident in the way Italpinas designed Primavera Residences, the company’s 10-story, twin-tower, mixed-use eco-friendly condominium community in Cagayan de Oro. The development features the best principles of passive cooling technology: shadow and sunlight control, wind cooling, and shape performance—features which, if combined with renewable energy that will be produced from solar panels on the roof deck of the towers, will help reduce the overall energy consumption of the buildings and bring long-term savings to its residents to make Primavera Residences even more desirable as an investment.

Aside from this, the towers were also designed to be disaster-proof, able to withstand strong typhoons and earthquakes.

“In the longer term, I would like our ways of thinking in relation to design, efficiency, and quality of life to spill over and influence what Filipinos should come to expect of our living environments in a wider sense,” Nati shared. “We don’t necessarily want to be bigger than everyone else. We don’t want to quickly supply more than anyone else. We would rather be thought leaders.

We would rather change the way that the role of real estate is perceived.”

All these being said, I can say that the local real-estate sector is truly facing a very promising future. With innovators and emerging industry leaders making a monumental shift toward a more sustainable way of doing business, the Philippine real-estate market can truly emerge as a global leader for developmental initiatives that promote the welfare of its surrounding landscape and beyond.
Hoppler makes property searching a breeze

by Rizal Raoul Reyes - February 3, 2015
http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/hoppler-makes-property-searching-a-breeze/
 
TECHNOLOGY plays an important role in the property sector nowadays, especially when the industry is enjoying a good time. With a company like Hoppler, people engaged in the industry can be faster and more efficient in searching, buying, selling, renting, managing and brokering properties.

Ramon Ballesca Jr., chief operating officer of Hoppler, said the company maximizes the role of the Internet in helping their partners and clients conduct their transactions faster. “Hoppler is a tool for getting groups together, namely, property owners and brokers, who we refer to as our partner-agents. We want to help our partners grow, so we can grow with them,” Ballesca said in a recent interview.

Being a user-friendly web site, Ballesca said a searcher just needs to enter the area, city or building that he is interested in. For instance, if a searcher is looking for a house in Makati City, he initially needs to go to the search panel and type in the city of his choice. After choosing the city, he needs to enter what kind of house he or she is looking for, such as a condominium or house and lot. To make it easier, Hoppler has included three criteria—price, floor size and number of bedrooms.

Further, Ballesca said Hoppler gives more options by including in the search other information, such as presence of maid’s room, garden and swimming pool, among others. He stressed that Hoppler’s search engine is so powerful that it enables a user to choose more options than any site in the Philippines. It also shows landmarks, such as the nearest restaurants, cinemas and hospitals, just to name a few. In case it is a Philippine Economic Zone Authority-accredited property, there is a flag indicating it as such.

Ballesca said Hoppler’s infrastructure was designed precisely to make searching and loading results happen faster than any site in the country. Moreover, he said, Hoppler can easily be accessed and viewed on mobile phones. “We plan to launch an app for mobile phones this year,” he added.

Before admitting a broker, Ballesca said Hoppler reviews the application and evaluates his or her performance in the industry. He said they will also check the agent’s choice of assignment if it’s already saturated by existing Hoppler partners.

If an applicant is qualified and accepted, Hoppler will assign a Hoppler services team representative or an account manager to work with, mentor the agent for the long run, and help close deals in the most efficient and effective way possible. “We also don’t encourage our partner-agent to leave his current brokerage firm,” Ballesca said.

The company charges a commission on the gross amount of the rental or sale price of the home, just like all other brokerage companies in the Philippines.

Hoppler features properties in the Greater Metro Manila Area in the Philippines, including Makati City, Bonifacio Global City, Alabang, Ortigas, Quezon City, etc. “We are planning to expand to other regions in the Philippines in 2015,” he said.

Hoppler, which went live in April of 2014, is managed by HousingInteractive, the country’s largest online real-estate brokerage firm established in 2004 by its CEO, John Riad. Further, it received a P30-million investment from entrepreneurs based in Silicon Valley. Other investor in the company is Francor.

It has the most comprehensive database of choice properties, a long list of top buyers and sellers, and the largest network of the finest brokers in the country. It has more than 500 brokers as partners.
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Real Estate News
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Drilon: NLEX-SCTEX integration deal to be signed Thursday

By KATHRYN MAE P. TUBADEZA, GMA NewsFebruary 4, 2015 5:09pm
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/425782/economy/companies/drilon-nlex-sctex-integration-deal-to-be-signed-thursday
 
The P600-million deal to integrate the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) will be signed on Thursday.
 
In emailed an advisory Wednesday, Senate President Franklin Drilon said the deal will be signed at 4:00 p.m. on Feb. 5 at the Senate in Pasay City.
 
Nena Radoc, Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) financial services group vice president, confirmed the deal will be signed Thursday.
 
"Yes. The integration agreement is set to be signed tomorrow to be witnessed by no less than Senate President Franklin Drilon," she told GMA News Online.
 
Manila North Tollways Corp. president Rodrigo Franco also confirmed that the signing is scheduled Thursday.
 
Drilon earlier set a Feb. 12 deadline for signing the agreement.
 
"The integration of the two thoroughfare systems is seen to result to a more seamless travel for Filipinos traversing Northern and Central Luzon," Drilon said.
 
Earlier, the Senate President complained that his trip to Baguio during the height of the holiday exodus in December took 11 hours.
 
Once signed, the toll integration agreement will be submitted to the Toll Regulatory Board for approval.
 
NLEX is an 86.70-kilometer expressway from Balintawak in Quezon City to Dau in Pampanga while SCTEX is a 93.8-kilometer expressway that traverses Bataan, Pampanga, and Tarlac.
 
The SCTEX and Tarlac Pangasinan La Union Expressway (TPLEX) operations are already partially integrated, with motorists no longer needing to queue separately in La Paz to pay and get new toll cards for each tollway.
 
There are also discussions between SCTEX and TPLEX to make driving through the two expressways more seamless.
 
“For the long-term, there will be discussions for a unified radio frequency ID (RFID) and other technologies to make it even more efficient for operators and motorists," BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova said. – VS, GMA News
Efficient local government housing regulations

by Charlie Gorayeb
February 4, 2015
http://www.mb.com.ph/efficient-local-government-housing-regulations/
 
Fourth in CREBA’s “Five-point Agenda for Housing” is the proposed bill mandating the creation of Local Housing Boards in all cities, including first to third-class municipalities, all over the country, amending for the purpose related provisions of R.A. 7160 or the Local Government Act of 1991.

In the 15th Congress, CREBA vehemently opposed the passage of the proposed measure because it merely sought to add another layer of bureaucracy by creating a ministerial body whose only function is to recommend housing-related decisions for dispensation by the local councils or sanggunians.

Such system will be dangerous and counter-productive as it will only become yet another stage of bureaucratic red tape in the local LGUs that will consequently increase development cost. Developers will be left with no other choice but to pass on the extra cost to home buyers.

In the 16th Congress, however, our lawmakers heeded the contention of the private sector and made it a workable measure by allowing all the housing functions and powers of the local councils to be fully taken over by the board and not merely duplicated.

Senate Bill No. 658 authored by Housing Committee chair Senator Joseph Victor “JV” G. Ejercito bestows upon the local housing boards the power to issue preliminary and/or final development permits after due evaluation of subdivision schemes and development plans of all housing projects in a locality, among other powers.

The bill likewise provides for ample consultation with stakeholders including locally-operating agencies, community groups, as well as private developers, with the mayor serving as chairperson, and the vice mayor as vice chairperson.

Since the function of approving development permits for subdivision projects was devolved to the local government units by virtue of the Local Government Code of 1991, also known as Republic Act No. 7160, our development cost has, for some reason, increased, and the development period became substantially longer.

This is not to mention the situation where some, if not most, of our LGUs lack the depth of technical capacity for effective shelter and urban development and management that is present in national agencies such as the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB).

In all fairness, local officials are required to perform other equally important functions for their constituencies, making it hard to devote the needed time and focus in meeting their respective housing challenges.

The housing industry is no doubt a vital sector in our country’s future. It is a key sector of our economy that addresses not only the problem of homelessness but provides millions of jobs to the unemployed and billions of revenues to government.

However, in order for the private sector to fulfil its Constitutional mandate to assist in government efforts towards implementing a continuing program of urban land reform and housing to serve the underprivileged and homeless, government must harmonize its housing policies and do away with conflicting, unreasonable and overlapping requirements imposed upon an already heavily-taxed and highly-regulated industry.

When passed into law, the bill effectively repeals and amends key provisions of R.A. 7160, particularly the duties and functions of the city/ municipal councils.

With the bill re-aligned towards this direction, we have a workable solution that is win-win for the public and private sectors, and the benefits that will be derived makes home ownership another step closer to Juan dela Cruz.
Porac poised for progress with Alviera development
1,100-hectare in Central Luzon

February 5, 2015
http://www.mb.com.ph/porac-poised-for-progress-with-alviera-development/
 
Porac is in for another transformation, one which will propel the once barren land to the topmost of business, leisure, institutional, residential and recreational destinations of Central Luzon. Progress meets the plains in the new 1,100-hectare estate development rising from Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI). The pioneering developer of masterplanned communities has partnered with Leonio Land to unveil Alviera, located just off the Porac Interchange along SCTEX.

“We see it as urban living, embraced by nature as we are building around the area’s scenic natural terrain. Nature plays a strong part of the Alviera experience. Alviera is envisioned to be the growth center of Central Luzon,” said Meean Dy, Strategic Landbank Management Group Head, and VP of Ayala Land.

ALI has built a reputation of keeping its promises. From the high-rises of the Makati Central Business District to Bonifacio Global City’s continuing development and to NUVALI’s sustainability commitments, ALI is a pioneer of masterplanned developments in the country.

An estate development of this size and scale will be the first of its kind for Central Luzon. Alviera is about five and half times larger than the Makati CBD and four times more than Bonifacio Global City.

The property is also accessible from NLEX, SCTEX and TPLEX, and is near Clark Airport and Subic Freeport, as well as other developments in Angeles, San Fernando and Tarlac City. Think of a hub for modern living on the Central Luzon map, and all signs will soon point to Alviera.  It will be home, workplace, school and leisure to those seeking a blend of urban development and nature.
The first phase of the development comprises of the residential communities, university zones, business and industrial park, outdoor recreational attractions and a country club, is set to be launched this month.

Property seekers will have a choice of Ayala Land’s residential brands: Ayala Land Premier, Alveo Land and Avida Land. These three promise residential communities of landscaped views and rolling hills.

A destination for Porac leisure visitors will be the Alviera Country Club. Set in a sprawling six-hectare area, it will feature facilities for sports and leisure.

For the university zone, campuses will feature a conducive learning environment by being built around a natural setting of trees and open spaces.

“It is indeed another big bet – not just in peso terms, not just in terms of number of residential units we will construct or size of commercial area we will build. Yes, all that will follow. But first and foremost, today is a bet on a whole new region of our country that we believe has the potential to drive national progress,” added Dy.
Wilcon opens IT Hub in Makati

February 4, 2015
http://www.mb.com.ph/wilcon-opens-it-hub-in-makati/
 
Wilcon Builders Supply Inc., the country’s largest one-stop shop for construction and design materials, opened its 33rd store recently. It opened at the 15-story Wilcon IT Hub building in Pasong Tamo, Makati, which was also inaugurated.

According to Wilcon COO Rosemarie Ong, the new developments are a reflection of the company’s vision for the year which is excellence.

“We strive for excellence not only for profit. We strive for excellence in the service that we give our customers,” she said.

She noted that the IT Hub is suitable for BPO workers and for commuters since it is accessible to the MRT Magallanes Station. Other modes of public transportation are accessible as well.

The IT Hub has three levels designated for parking. There are food and retail establishments on the ground and second floors.

Ong said that their new store is a testament of how the company has evolved from just being a simple hardware store. This project, she noted, is “a dream come true for Wilcon.”

“It was a good start for the year. We feel overwhelmed with the support of our suppliers, customers and friends,” she concluded.
Sonata assures worry-free investment

February 4, 2015
http://www.mb.com.ph/sonata-assures-worry-free-investment/
 
Sonata Private Residences is a twin-tower residential high-rise condominium development of Robinsons Luxuria in the heart of Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong City.

Unit owners who wish to maximize their prized investment in this prime vertical community need not worry about the minute details of managing their property, thanks to the services of Robinsons Luxuria’s dedicated Customer Asset Management Services (CAMS) team.

Homeowners can rely on the group to handle the complex yet vital process of leasing out their units, beginning with the search for prospective tenants and arranging unit viewings.

Once a suitable lessee has been selected, CAMS’ roster of duties then involves preparation of lease documentations and coordinating tenant move-in. The entire lease cycle is supervised closely, including negotiating for renewals and extensions, or termination of contracts and ensuring smooth tenant move-out.

A one-bedroom unit at Sonata can fetch between P17,000 to P35,000 of income per month while a two-bedroom unit can command P40,000 to P55,000 worth of rental. CAMS will open the doors to these potential earnings without much effort on the part of investors.

Ensuring the enduring value of the unit owners’ property is another important aspect of worry-free investment, and in order to achieve this, the condominium community must be run efficiently and always kept in its best condition.

With this in mind, Robinsons Luxuria has tapped seasoned property manager First Pacific Davies Asia Property Services Inc. (FPD Asia) for this responsibility, managing the concerns and welfare of residents and tenants after they have settled in their new homes.
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Friday, February 6, 2015
Toll road integration signed

By Othel V. Campos | Feb. 05, 2015 at 10:45pm
http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/02/05/toll-road-integration-signed/
 
State-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority on Thursday signed the toll integration agreement with Manila North Tollways Corp. to speed up the flow of vehicles at the exit plazas of the North Luzon Expressway and the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway.

Both agencies signed the toll integration agreement a week ahead of the deadline set by Senate president Franklin Drilon.

“The actual integration may even be faster because MNTC will soon be awarded the contract for the SCTEX as well,” BCDA president and chief executive Arnel Paciano Casanova said.

He said BCDA’s board formally approved the toll integration proposal Thursday, clearing all hurdles to toll integration.

The NLEX-SCTEX toll integration project involves the conversion of separate NLEX and SCTEX toll collection systems into a single system that should allow for more efficient toll collection and faster movement of traffic for motorists.

It also involves the installation and removal of temporary plazas and the construction of interchange plazas that will also require the widening of existing entry/exit ramps.
Golfhill Gardens brings posh lifestyle to exclusive Capitol Hills community

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/real-estate/2015/02/06/1420519/golfhill-gardens-brings-posh-lifestyle-exclusive-capitol-hills
 
MANILA, Philippines - A peaceful and serene environment in an exclusive posh neighborhood right at the center of bustling Quezon City is an ideal and attractive setting for a home.

This idyllic enclave with lush green scenery awakens zest for life as it smoothly drowns out the noise elements outside the city, while enhancing the sophistication and elegance which a posh village possesses.

Megaworld, the country’s leading real estate developer that pioneered the ‘live-work-play-learn’ township concept in the Philippines,  captures such rare and precious lifestyle at Golfhill Gardens.

The company is bringing in its own pool of expertise to provide future residents of Golfhill Gardens a fresh and secured living space that enchants the rapid pace of the urban lifestyle.

Golfhill Gardens is a six-clustered residential community situated in the known posh neighborhood of Capitol Hills, beside the Capitol Golf Course. The residential community has a low density development, offering studios to two-bedroom units ranging from 30 to 72 square meters. All units come with a balcony that overlooks either the golf course, amenity areas, or the residential village.

Golfhill Gardens is also complete with amenities that family and friends can convene to hang out, have fun, and stay healthy such as  children’s pool, koi pond, sitting areas, jogging path, children’s playground, picnic area with barbecue pits, fitness gym, day care center with outdoor play area, business center, pocket gardens, and function rooms.

For a weekend or weekday break with family or friends, Golfhill Gardens is an address that provides easy access to all destinations. Set along Capitol Hills Drive, Golfhill Gardens has a direct link to Tandang Sora, Katipunan Avenue, and Commonwealth Avenue which leads to various universities, business centers, malls, leisure hubs and 30 government agencies including the Quezon City Hall.

 It is also 15-25 minutes away from Eastwood City, ABS-CBN, GMA, and first-rate academic institutions such as University of the Philippines (UP Diliman), Ateneo de Manila, Miriam College, St. Bridget School, Claret School, among others.
The Signature in QC New condo converges positive feng shui elements

By Iris C. Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/real-estate/2015/02/06/1420517/signature-qc-new-condo-converges-positive-feng-shui-elements
 
MANILA, Philippines - A new distinct vertical development blending auspicious design and practical living space will soon rise in the rapidly growing urban landscape of Quezon City.

The Signature, a residential project being put up by Filinvest Premiere, the upscale arm of property giant Filinvest Land Inc., will soon rise on a one-hectare property along A. Bonifacio Ave. in Quezon City and will combine “old-town sensibilities and modern amenities.” 

Inspired by Beijing’s Summer Palace, The Signature offers 60 percent of its area to green open spaces, said Filinvest Land senior vice president Steve Chien.

“Rarely do we find a residential vertical development that devotes 60 percent of its land area to green open spaces. Truly a blissful community, The Signature offers residents and guests large indoor and outdoor amenity areas that promote an upscale, relaxed lifestyle,” he said.

He said through The Signature, Filinvest wants to provide an environment that lets residents rejuvenate at the end of a long day at work or in school.

For one, there is a Signature Lake, consisting of resort-style, Olympic-sized lap and wading pools.

The high-rise project with  three towers will also have a two-level podium commercial hub for its residents.

More importantly, The Signature’s auspicious design – from the units and the master plan to the architectural design and green open spaces – has good feng shui inside and out, feng shui master Hanz Cua told The STAR in a recent interview.

“Good feng shui equals to good energy. The Signature has the positive feng shui elements, which ensure that the property increases its value in the future,” said Cua.

“Inside, there’s very calming energy. Your house should be higher than the front part. In feng shui, the main door is important,” he said.

Furthermore, he said there must be a balcony so that there is space for relaxation.

“The living room must be relaxing. It’s also important that the main door must be solid. The dining table must have mirror so it doubles the effect of the food, which symbolizes wealth,” said Cua.

He said The Signature’s exterior design already nurtures good feng shui.

“The curved panel details highlighting the exterior architectural designs of The Signature inhibit bad feng shui energy also known as the ‘sha chi’ to come in. Good feng shui promotes energy and good health to homeowners,” he said.

Furthermore, he said the architectural design of The Signature promotes the use and flow of natural light that illuminates the unit.

“Thus, creating good feng shui energy, which is the bright, refreshing, uplifting, beneficial to your health and well-being,” he said.

There is also enough space for the residents to fix their units.

“Two bedroom units typically measure 87 square meters, while three-bedroom suites are typically sized 125 sqm.,” he said.

In a separate interview, Marjorie Siao, Filinvest Land’s niche market management group head, said the company has already started construction and expects to deliver in the next two years.

“We can deliver it the next two years. When we turn over in the next two years some of the amenities are already usable. We also have a small commercial area.

The commercial is more for the residents. It’s not a large commercial space but enough to provide you with your needs,” she said.

Construction will start this year, with delivery slated as early as 2016.  There will be three towers with a total of 348 units ranging from two- to three-bedroom units. The two-bedroom units start at P9 million while the three-bedroom spaces start at P14 million.

Siao also said it is a low-density community with only eight to nine units per floor.

Indeed, Siao said The Signature is more than just a home as it represents a convergence of everything a community should be.

 It is in close proximity to Banawe, considered as the Chinatown of Quezon City, and is a short distance to the Guatama Chinese Temple as well as to the Sto. Domingo Church.

With its good feng shui, The Signature is a good place to live in, said Cua.

“Living at The Signature will attract prosperity. If you want your money to grow, you should live in a place where your neighbors are wealthy also. That’s feng shui. That’s positive energy,” he stressed.
Shang Properties showcases luxury condo in Salcedo Village

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/real-estate/2015/02/06/1420522/shang-properties-showcases-luxury-condo-salcedo-village
 
MANILA, Philippines - Shang Properties brings forth its second luxury development in Makati following the success of the Shang Grand Tower in Legaspi Village.

Shang Salcedo Place is a 67-story residential development, built with Shang’s signature quality of excellent craftsmanship and design. It is a cut above the rest because of its iconic structure and world-class amenities placed in Salcedo Village, one of Makati’s premier lifestyle districts.

Located at the corner of Gil Puyat Ave. (Buendia), Tordesillas, and H.V. Dela Costa streets, Shang Salcedo Place is at the center of both luxury and convenience. This iconic structure is right at the heart of the bustling Makati central business district, yet also close to a wide array of lifestyle choices that cater to every whim and want.

“Shang Salcedo Place was built from the ground up with an exacting eye for detail and design. From the building structure to the interior aesthetics, we made sure that the development would be an extension of the lively Salcedo Village community,” said Susan Yu, Sales director for Shang Salcedo Place.

Steering towards functionality and exclusivity, this signature development is deliberately built with only 749 units. Shang Salcedo Place delivers a balanced number of residential units and amenities, which guarantees that all residents are well-serviced, and all transactions are hassle-free.

Inspired by Shang Properties’ unwavering dedication to deliver its signature quality, a team of experts came together to create and accomplish the landmark’s impeccable build. With a structure designed by Hong Kong-based firm Wong & Tung International Ltd., and timeless interiors created by internationally renowned Filipino designer Manny Samson, Shang Salcedo Place is in every aspect a masterpiece.

Shang Properties is the Philippine arm of Malaysia’s Kuok Group, with core businesses in offices and retail leasing, and residential development such as The Rise Makati, The Shang Grand Tower and The Enterprise Center in Makati, and The St. Francis Shangri-La Place, Shangri-La Plaza, One Shangri-La Place in Ortigas Center, and Horizon Homes, Shangri-La Hotel at the Fort.

 “Shang Salcedo Place is truly a great addition to Shang Properties’ growing collection of premier residential developments in Makati City,” said Shang Properties marketing manager Milen Treichler. “We think that a community as lively as Salcedo Village deserves to be complemented by a residence that mirrors its lifestyle, and Shang Salcedo Place fits that bill perfectly.”

Come 2016, Shang Salcedo Place will officially be part of the vibrant Salcedo Village community, and the high-life will be within its residents’ reach. Interested parties may call the Shang Salcedo Place showsuite at +632 519 0000, email sales@shangsalcedoplace.com, or visit their showsuite at Level 3 Tower 1 The Enterprise Center, 6766 Paseo De Roxas cor. Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
World-class Filipino design at Anya Resort and Residences

(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 6, 2015 - 12:00am
http://www.philstar.com/real-estate/2015/02/06/1420521/world-class-filipino-design-anya-resort-and-residences
 
MANILA, Philippines - Real estate developer Roxaco Land Corp. recently joined forces with interior design powerhouse Manny Samson and Associates (MSA) in coming up with a unique take on residential resort living through its flagship development, Anya Resort and Residences.

Located in Tagaytay, this destination residence plays up on the well-known strengths of both partners: Roxaco, with its experience in high-end residential living, as exemplified by its first two luxury projects, Península de Punta Fuego, Terrazas de Punta Fuego, Anya Phase 1; and Manny Samson, with his world-view that embraces both the cosmopolitan and the rustic from his many acclaimed projects here and abroad.

Under Samson’s belt is a long list of luxury developments that can be found in five out of the seven continents. In the Philippines, he is in the forefront of some of the top hotels and resorts, including the first teaching hotel in the country. In the global arena, some of his most notable projects include well-known resorts in Malaysia and Uruguay, and the Four Seasons, an international resort brand with resorts located all over the globe.

 “The natural advantages of Tagaytay’s location played a role in directing our design inspiration,” Samson said. “Its cool weather and spectacular views contributed to the city becoming a weekend destination getaway, and guided our design to bring in the warmth and familiarity of rustic Filipino elements. In order to make it stand out among others as envisioned by the clients, it has embraced authenticity — considering international standards for luxurious design, at the same time retaining the grand quality of rustic traditional Filipino elements.”

Taking Roxaco’s cue to design “from the inside-out,” Samson and his associates adopted a Filipino tropical design direction highlighted by the use of rustic elements that mirrored both the interior and exterior architecture. “The idea is to harmonize both the interior and exterior looks in order to achieve a holistic design that caters to the pegged concept,” Samson explained.

“Plus, the interiors have been planned in such a way that the spaces would maximize the flow of cool breeze. Areas have been laid out highlighting the scenic view of the adjacent landscaping. The sensitivities of privacy and personal space were also incorporated into the design, as elements have been fine tuned to synch with the resort’s lush landscaping.”

By underscoring the key elements of comfort and functionality of the Filipino Aesthetic, the Anya brand takes on the Filipino identity through the unmistakable presence of elements such as bamboo and abaca, among others.

But beyond promoting a Filipino theme in its design and craftsmanship, Anya Resort and Residences fuses international standards into the luxurious design, conveying an exuberant spirit into the modern lifestyle.

“The modern Filipino tropical design is brought to life by the use of indigenous materials blended with modern components, creating wonderful ambiance and aesthetics. The use of natural wood for floors, doors, cabinetry works, and accent ceiling imparts an inviting, warm and cozy feeling of home. The use of mother of pearl (capiz) and special finishes as wall and cabinetry accents presents elegance in the interiors,” Samson noted.

For more details, visit www.anya.ph or call +63 917 888 ANYA (2692).
Collapsed high-rise floor kills 2

By Joel E. Zurbano | Feb. 05, 2015 at 12:01am
http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/02/05/collapsed-high-rise-floor-kills-2/
 
ONE floor of a 63-story residential tower under construction in the upscale Bonifacio Global City collapsed on Wednesday, killing two construction workers and injuring 11 others.

Nine of those injured were taken to the St. Luke’s Medical Center while the other two were brought to the Ospital ng Makati.

Most of the victims suffered arm, shoulder and back injuries.

It was not immediately clear what caused the floor at The Suites Residential Tower to collapse around 8:15 am, but there were claims the incident happened while cement was being poured into the floor.

“I had just left the building when it collapsed,” construction worker Edwin Suarez said.

Taguig City police chief Arthur Felix Asis said his men were now investigating the construction on 5th Avenue and 28th Street.

Based on its project profile, the single-tower residential building, owned by Ayala Land Premier, will consist of 284 residential suites and limited- edition Sky Collections rendered in two- to four-bedroom configurations.

The project will also feature Triple-A-grade office building and is intended to be home to top local and multinational companies. The Suites is right beside the new Hotel Shangri-La, Mind Museum, and the Unified Philippine Stock Exchange.

In a statement, Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. said it will provide assistance to the victims.

“The Bureau of Fire Protection of Taguig City is currently undertaking search and rescue operations,” the company said.

“We are still awaiting the official report on the number of casualties and currently investigating the cause of the incident. Rest assured that, together with MDC and Fastem, we will assist the families of the workers.”

The Department of Labor and Employment assured the families of the two workers who died and the others who were hurt of financial assistance and to hold the people accountable for the incident.

But the labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa blamed the Labor Department and local officials in the city for the incident. With Vito Barcelo
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Monday, February 16, 2015
PHL among 20 best foreign retirement havens for 2015, according to Forbes

February 15, 2015 8:44pm
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/437290/economy/business/phl-among-20-best-foreign-retirement-havens-for-2015-according-to-forbes
 
With its low cost of living and its leaving foreign income untaxed, the Philippines has been named among the 20 best foreign retirement havens for 2015 by American business magazine Forbes.

"For US retirees the principal appeal of the Philippines is a low cost of living in a tropical environment full of English speakers and outdoor beauty," Forbes said in its article "The Best Foreign Retirement Havens For 2015."

"Foreign income is untaxed, and permanent residency can be had on a minimal showing of retirement income," it further noted.

It noted popular locations such as Tagaytay that are "elevated and therefore cooler" and Subic Bay, with its US navy base infrastructure.

Forbes also noted that there are nonstop flights between Manila and US that take an average of 15 hours.

According to the magazine, it identified the 20 "appealing foreign countries" based on a review of factors such as cost of living, cultural attractions and scenery, safety, tax matters—especially breaks for retirees—local hospitality, weather, availability of adequate healthcare and prevalence of English.

Other countries included in the list are: Australia, Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, France, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Portugal, Spain, Thailand, and Uruguay.

Last year, Forbes ranked Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental fifth on the list of best places to retire.

Malacañang welcomed Forbes' assessment and said Filipinos should exert more effort in improving the country's investment climate.

"Siyempre po ikinakagalak po natin ang pahayag na ‘yan ng isang reputable na pahayagan, ang Forbes, at ito ay dapat na maging basehan upang tayo ay higit pang magpunyagi sa pagpapaganda ng investment climate sa ating bansa," Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma said on government-run dzRB on Sunday.

According to Coloma, Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. noted that in 2014, foreign tourist arrivals reached 4.83 million—a 3.25-percent increase from 2013—and tourism revenues hit P214.8 billion.

"At dahil po dito, ibayong pagsisikap pa rin sa bahagi ng pamahalaan sa pangunguna ng Department of Tourism sa paggawa ng lahat ng nararapat para mapanatili ang pagiging attractive destination ng ating bansa," Coloma said.

According to the National Tourism Development Plan, the Tourism department had a target of 6 million visitor arrivals in 2014.

This year, the agency eyes 8 million foreign tourist arrivals. — Kathryn Mae P. Tubadeza/BM, GMA News
New brands, slower tourist arrivals to temper Metro Manila hotel rates —Colliers Intl

By DANESSA O. RIVERA, GMA NewsFebruary 13, 2015 12:08pm
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/435393/economy/companies/new-brands-slower-tourist-arrivals-to-temper-metro-manila-hotel-rates-colliers-intl
 
Metro Manila hotel rates are under pressure amid the influx of hotel brands in the country, as well as the seemingly slower growth trend of tourist arrivals, property consultancy firm Colliers International Philippines said in a report released late Thursday.
 
Average hotel room rates across major classifications exhibited stable to declining growth by end-2014, Colliers noted in its latest research and forecast report.
 
Data from the property consultancy firm showed the average five-star room rates grew 0.3 percent, the average four-star room rates continued to decline by 3.8 percent, and the average three-star room rates dropped by 11.5 percent in the second half of 2014.
 
"As the competition among hotels intensifies, operators are forced to adjust their prices in order to attract more travelers to stay in their hotels," the report read.
 
In fact, 2,038 new hotel rooms opened in Metro Manila, bringing the total room inventory to 19,373, Colliers said.
 
Meanwhile, some 3,580 hotel rooms will be delivered annually over the next four years as hotel operators bank on improving economic conditions, it added.
 
Last year, the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) grew 6.1 percent, after accelerated government spending helped the economy recover in the fourth quarter.
 
French-based hotel management company Accor targets to open six new projects across various locations in Metro Manila in the next two years.
 
The Wyndham group – known for its Microtel brand – will introduce its select-service hotel brand Tryp in the Mall of Asia complex in 2015.

Also, there are openings of hotel developments in Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.'s (Pagcor) Entertainment City pushed back to the first quarter of 2015 due to bottlenecks in construction, Colliers said. These are the hotels opening in the City of Dreams Manila including the Grand Hyatt City of Dreams, Nobu Hotel, and Crown Towers.
 
In terms of tourist arrivals, the number of tourists that went to the country totalled 3.96 million from January to October 2014, according to the Department of Tourism.
 
This was a 2.3 percent growth year-on-year, the lowest registered for the country since 2010, Colliers noted.
 
"If the trend continues, Colliers estimates that 4.8 million foreign tourists visited the country in 2014, far behind the government target of 6.0 million tourists," the report read.
 
With the influx of new hotel rooms and slower growth of tourist arrivals, occupancy rate in Metro Manila is seen to decline to 65.6 percent, Colliers noted.
 
"The outlook remains rosy, however, as the country will host two significant events in 2015: the Papal Visit in January and the APEC Ministerial Meetings, both of which are expected to spur demand for accommodations in Metro Manila," it noted.
 
Pope Francis visited the Philippines last January 15 to 19.
 
Meanwhile, various APEC meetings will be held across the country starting November 2014 in preparation for the World Leaders’ Summit on November 17 and 18, 2015.
 
These areas include Pampanga, Manila, Bataan, Albay, Tagaytay City, Iloilo, Boracay Island, Bacolod City and Cebu. —KG, GMA News
Residential property sales, inventory dropping
Market correcting, now back to ‘more rational’ levels

Doris C. Dumlao
@inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer
5:30 AM | Friday, February 13th, 2015
http://business.inquirer.net/186616/residential-property-sales-inventory-dropping
 
MANILA, Philippines–Metro Manila’s residential property market contracted in 2014 in terms of both additional inventory and sales take-up. But the current levels were, according to property consulting firm Colliers Philippines,  “more rational” compared to the exuberance seen in the previous three years.

In a briefing on Thursday, Colliers Philippines director for research and advisory Julius Guevara said that nearly 40,000 residential units were sold last year, 7 percent lower than the take-up in 2013.

He said the decline might be due largely to a similar reduction in residential unit launches, which fell by 33 percent to nearly 39,000 units last year.

He said the residential property market was only continuing the “correction” that started in 2013 after hitting a high of 51,000 residential units taken up in 2012.

“We feel the market has now returned to more rational levels in terms of home-buying,” Guevara said, noting that Metro Manila’s primary residential condominium market would likely be able to sustain an annual residential unit take-up of 30,000 to 40,000 levels.

Asked to define what Colliers considered a “rational” residential market, Guevara said this was a market driven by real underlying homeowner demand and not investors who intend to rent out these units.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has been tightly monitoring the real estate exposure of the banking industry and mapping out new regulations as a preemptive move against possible property bubbles.

Based on Colliers’ latest report, total residential licenses issued by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board declined by 4 percent in 2014, weighed down by the slowdown in the following segments: socialized housing (-15.7 percent); mid-income housing (-9 percent) and high-rise residential (-2.6 percent).

Only the low-cost housing segment expanded in 2014, with licenses issued increasing by 6.6 percent. Colliers said this was because more local developers were venturing into the affordable housing segment to meet the still huge supply backlog.

From 2015 to 2018, Colliers expects a total of 30,935 residential units to be delivered in the major business districts of Metro Manila, 40 percent of which are scheduled for completion in 2015. About 75 percent of these units are studio and one-bedroom types with floor areas of 18 to 90 square meters.

“The majority of these units will likely cater to young professionals and investors who are diversifying their investment portfolios,” Colliers’ latest research report said.

“As such, the influx of these smaller-sized units is expected to create pressure on rental rates and resale prices,” it noted.

The larger three- to five-bedroom units, according to the research, would account for 7 percent of the new supply with unit cuts of between 100 and 500 square meters.

In Makati central business district, the research noted that overall vacancy rate declined by 4 basis points to 8.1 percent in the fourth quarter due to the strong take-up of Grade A and Grade B projects.

Leasing activities, however, remained high in the lower end of the spectrum as Makati remained a preferred location, with vacancy rate in this segment declining by 60 basis points, it noted.

In the premium residential market, vacancy rate declined by 17 basis points to 4.4 percent, as there were new projects completed during the period. Colliers expects vacancy rate in this segment to rise by 260 basis points, as more units are slated for completion.

For the rental market, the research noted that rental rates in Makati CBD, Rockwell and Bonifacio Global City (BGC) posted a more stable growth in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Rent, property prices to rise 4-6 pct this year

ABS-CBNnews.com
Posted at 02/13/2015 3:37 PM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/13/15/rent-property-prices-rise-4-6-pct-year
 
MANILA, Philippines - Property consultant Colliers said residential rents and property values in three of the country's priciest areas - Makati, Fort Bonifacio and Rockwell - will grow at a stable pace this year, with enough demand for current and upcoming condominiums.

Colliers said the value of residential rents will grow moderately at 4-5 percent growth, while capital values will grow by 4-6 percent.

Colliers said a 15 percent increase in prices is a signal that an asset price bubble could be forming, but adds that the Bangko Sentral and even developers have been implementing measures to prevent that.

"The developers are well aware of this. They experienced Asian financial crisis, taken prudent measures to address this, pre-selling condo market-- reduced project launches by 33 percent in 2014. it's because they saw that there's been a decline in sales," Julius Guevarra, Colliers director for research and advisory, said.

"The BSP is taking a close look at real estate sector, a lot of measures, looking into real estate shadow banking phenomenon. Developers are lending to borrowers through down payment schemes. These are moves in the right direction," he said.

Meanwhile, Colliers also said the sale of residential units in Metro Manila dropped 7 percent last year which is considered more rational after three years of high sales. - ANC

DPWH to start work on Buendia Tunnel project in April

February 15, 2015 6:53am
http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/436842/economy/business/dpwh-to-start-work-on-buendia-tunnel-project-in-april
 
Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson announced on Wednesday that work on the 880-lineal meter Senator Gil Puyat Avenue-Makati Avenue–Paseo de Roxas Underpass project will start in April, once pre-construction activities are completed in March.

“As early as now, I appeal for the understanding of the motorists and commuters on any inconvenience the project may cause as I have directed the contractor to maximize project time schedule,” Singson said in a post in the DPWH website.

“The Department is also coordinating with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Makati officials for the traffic management within the vicinity.”
 
The P1.27 billion project will ultimately address traffic congestion within the Makati Central Business District and its surrounding areas. Construction was expected to take 22 months.

The project will see the construction of a four-lane vehicle underpass along the innermost lanes of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, passing through Makati Avenue and Paseo de Roxas intersections, as well as a covered tunnel portion of about 570 meters. — Joel Locsin/DVM, GMA News
Clark Green City project attracts interest from PH, foreign firms

Reuters
Posted at 02/13/2015 6:05 PM
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/02/13/15/clark-green-city-project-attracts-interest-ph-foreign-firms
 
MANILA - The Philippines will hold a tender within the first quarter of the year for the right to develop a portion of a 9,500-hectare (23,475-acre) former US base into a masterplanned city north of the capital, a government official said on Friday.

The Clark Green City project has piqued the interest of major Philippine property firms and foreign companies such as Sumitomo Corp, Hitachi Ltd, Farglory Land Development Co Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp, said Arnel Paciano Casanova, president of the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

BCDA will publish on Feb. 19 the auction terms for the development rights of a 200-hectare parcel of the mixed-use project. Both foreign and local investors may submit bids.

"We are also doing parallel discussions with foreign partners who could locate in the special economic zone," Casanova told reporters.

The BCDA, tasked with converting former military bases into masterplanned communities and business districts, also plans to get joint venture partners to develop the rest of the 1,300-hectare phase 1 of Clark Green City.

The agency expects private firms to spend a total of 59 billion pesos ($1.33 billion) to develop the 1,300-hectare parcel, almost four times the size of New York's Central Park, Casanova said.

Clark Green City is targeted to generate 1.57 trillion pesos worth of economic activity annually and create nearly a million jobs when development is complete, government studies show.
 

Plastic trash at sea: PH, Indonesia among top contributors

http://www.rappler.com/thewrap/february-15-2015-edition/plastic-trash-at-sea-ph-indonesia-among-top-contributors

In a landmark study, scientists have estimated that millions of tons of plastic waste go into the sea worldwide every year, with middle-income nations – including the Philippines – shown to be among the top contributors. Between an estimated 4.8-12.7 million metric tons of garbage goes into the sea annually, and the top contributors are China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

If the trends the researchers saw in their study hold up in the next few years, we can expect mismanaged waste to increase further.
RLC profit up 35.4%

Doris C. Dumlao
@inquirerdotnet
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:36 AM | Monday, February 16th, 2015
http://business.inquirer.net/186807/rlc-profit-up-35-4
 
Gokongwei-led property developer Robinsons Land Corp. grew its net profit for the quarter ending December by 35.4 percent to P1.4 billion.

RLC’s profit was boosted by the growth in its office and hotel portfolio alongside the stable performance of its shopping mall and residential projects.

The increase is also due to some base effects given the extraordinary property losses incurred in the same period in 2014 brought about by Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) that ravaged Eastern Visayas.

The three-month period covering October to December is the first quarter in RLC’s fiscal year, which ends every September.

Total revenue rose by 9 percent to P4.79 billion while cash flow as measured by earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) went up by 11.2 percent to P2.58 billion.

RLC malls, office and hotels, contributed 83 percent of Ebitda.

The commercial centers division generated 46 percent or P2.2 billion of gross revenue, up by 12.6 percent.

The office buildings division contributed 10 percent or P467.2 million of the company’s revenue, up by 29.1 percent from last year’s P361.8 million. Lease income was derived from 10 completed office buildings with a total occupancy of 99 percent, including Cyberscape Alpha and Cyberscape Beta which opened in fiscal year 2014 and are located in the Ortigas Central Business District (CBD).

Currently, Cyberscape Alpha is 100 percent leased out while Cyberscape Beta has a lease take up of 94 percent.

The hotels division contributed 9 percent or P446.9 million to the company’s revenues, up by 11.4 percent obtained from 13 hotel properties for the period, including the newly opened Go Hotels Butuan as well as hotels opened in fiscal year 2014, namely: Go Hotels Iloilo and Go Hotels Alpha Ortigas.

The company also recently opened Summit Magnolia which forms part of the Magnolia Town Center, its mixed-use development in Quezon City.

Its residential segment contributed P1.68 billion in revenue, slightly up from P1.67 billion in the previous year.

RLC’s financial position remains solid, with 34 centavos in debt for every P1 in equity as of end-December. Net debt to equity stood at 31 centavos to P1 in debt.

This month, the company will issue fixed-rate bonds worth P10 billion.

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