Ayala Land Inc. is out to preserve its status as the premier property developer in the Philippines. It is giving the financial district a face-lift with the development of the P20-billion City Gate project at the northern tip of Ayala Avenue, and openly challenging Alphaland Makati Place of investment banker Roberto V. Ongpin.
Ayala Land last week announced it would spend an initial P6 billion to acquire and develop the former Jaka Tower along Ayala Avenue into a 49-story premium office tower to be called Alveo Financial Tower.
The unfinished Jaka structure, a major component of City Gate, is being envisioned to be a signature office building in the heart of Ayala Avenue.
“With its much-coveted location on Ayala Avenue, Alveo Financial Tower has become a rare investment opportunity for high-powered businesses and organizations wanting to be part of the country’s premier financial center,” Alveo Land head of project development group Jennylle Tupaz said.
The market reception to the Alveo Financial Tower is encouraging. The company started pre-selling the office units in Alveo Financial Tower at an average selling price of P240,000 per square meter, or P11 billion in total sales. The company has sold over 60 percent of the total units so far, generating P5.6 billion in sales take-up.
At P240,000 per sq. m., Alveo Financial Tower will be the most expensive office development along the Makati Central Business District. One office unit with an average size of 116 square meters will cost P27.8 million. The tower is slated for turnover in 2020.
Alveo Financial Tower sits on a prime 2,400-square-meter plot of land along Ayala Avenue. It will offer 363 office units and a variety of amenities and facilities that enhance corporate activity. As envisioned by planners, City Gate will have elevated walkways that will connect it to Ayala Center and to the rest of the central business district.
Dedicated mining roads
Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. has taken a proactive stance to resolve an emotional mining issue in his home province. The provincial chief opted for a Solomonic decision to allow two mining companies to resume operations and at the same time prevent road and environment degradation.
Ebdane, in an Aug. 3 letter to Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, recommended a conditional lifting of the suspension order on Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Inc. and Zambales Diversified Metals Corp. after the two complied with the requirements of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau and the Environmental Management Bureau to build a “backdoor mining hauling road,” or “one-mine haul road,” devoted for mining operations.
Ebdane also dismissed insinuations by critics that he was engaged in “selective mining” when he recommended the conditional lifting of the suspension order on Benguet Nickel and ZDMC.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan in June passed a resolution endorsing the decision of seven barangays to require mining companies to construct “backdoor mining road” in their areas to ease traffic and prevent the destruction of national and barangay roads by dump and hauling trucks carrying mineral ores.
Ebdane said the resolution instituted the public policy to require mining firms to construct the dedicated mining roads
“The public policy requiring mining firms in Zambales to build those alternative roads have been duly raised, discussed and approved by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan,” Ebdane said.
The Sangguniang Panlalawigan on May 18 empowered Ebdane to sign an agreement with local executives of the Zambales towns of Sta. Cruz, Candelaria, Masinloc, Palauig and Iba for the construction of alternative roads devoted for mining operations.
“We are not operating in a vacuum. There is a complete paper trail to this public policy. We have the supporting resolutions and documents to show and prove it,” Ebdane said. “Besides, I have the authority to engage with local executives when it comes to mining issues.”
“The purpose of this ‘one mine haul road’ is to protect and spare the host or impact communities from the security, safety, and environmental risks, which may arise from… the hauling activities such as the use of massive mining equipment and dump trucks,” Ebdane said in his letter to Paje. “The ‘one mine haul road’ shall serve as the exclusive passageway for the use of hauling trucks and other equipment of the mining companies from the mining site to port.”