Ayala wants to pursue Bacolod property project

Gilbert Bayoran
More than a year after Ayala Land Inc. backed out from participating in the development of a 7.7-hectare prime Capitol property in Negros Occidental due to a legal issue, the property developer now wants to pursue the transaction

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – More than a year after Ayala Land Inc. backed out from participating in the development of a 7.7-hectare prime Capitol property in Negros Occidental due to a legal issue, the property developer now wants to pursue the transaction.

Emilio Tumbocon, Ayala Land senior vice president and group head for Visayas-Mindanao, said in a July 3 letter to Gov. Alfredo Marañon that the firm is willing to proceed with the development of the Capitol project.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday, July 9, Ayala Land clarified that the letter was written in response to the governor’s letter dated June 20 informing the company that the Commission on Audit (COA) has decided to approve the Deed of Conditional Sale and render a favorable ruling on the Contract of Lease between the province and Ayala Land.

The COA approval was the green light needed by the company to push through with the transaction, it said previously.

“If you are amenable to our suggestion, we are willing to sit down with you to discuss the manner by which we could proceed with the transaction,” Tumbocon said.

In July 2011, the Committee on Awards and Disposal of Real Properties of the Capitol awarded the sale of 36,587 square meters and the lease of 40,481 square meters to Ayala Land after SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) failed to join an announced negotiated bidding.

In 2012, Ayala Land called off its investment after COA delayed the approval of the project and after SMPHI filed a lawsuit against the Capitol questioning the manner it awarded the bid.

Read: Ayala gives up Bacolod deal amid SM complaint

In his response to Ayala Land, Marañon said the prime property is now up for lease only, and may have to be put up for bidding again.

About 5,000 square meters of the 7.7-hectare property originally awarded to Ayala Land is now under negotiation with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Tumbocon, in his letter to Marañon, said: “While we are open to proceed with the Capitol Project, we remain seriously concerned with the pending legal case as this compromises our ability to acquire clean and undisputed legal title to the property and undertaking the full development of the same, particularly that area subject of our deed of conditional sale, especially since our plans require us to develop the area into components which are intended to be marketed and sold.”

Ayala Land said it wanted to invest P6 billion to redevelop the property into a residential-commercial complex it had dubbed as Ayala Northpoint Estate. A major component of the complex was supposed to be a PEZA-accredited information technology area. – Rappler.com

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