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Uy group to undertake P62-B reclamation project

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By Krista A. M. Montealegre,
National Correspondent

THE dealmaking rush continues for Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy after his consortium was awarded a P62-billion reclamation project in Pasay City.

Udenna Development Corp. (UDEVCO), Ulticon Builders, Inc. and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited submitted an unsolicited proposal to reclaim and develop 265 hectares of foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay located at the western part of Pasay City, Lawrence G. Velasco, project development director of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center, said in the second Philippine Construction Congress on Tuesday.

Sought for comment, Pasay City Chief Legal Officer Severo C. Madrona, Jr. said in an e-mail on Wednesday the city government and the consortium signed on Nov. 8 the contractual joint venture agreement, which was ratified by the Sangguniang Panlungsod on Nov. 10.

Both parties sealed the deal after the Pasay City Public Private Partnership Selection Committee received no counter-offer to challenge the unsolicited proposal of Pasay Harbor City Consortium, which was submitted on March 6, Mr. Madrona added.

The Pasay City government published an invitation for competing proposals last September.

Before the consortium could proceed with the project, it would have to go through several government agencies for evaluation, including the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) upon recommendation of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).

Mr. Madrona said the new reclamation project is situated in a different area from that of the 300-hectare reclamation project of the SM Group, which sealed an agreement with the city government in 2013 but has yet to clear all regulatory hurdles.

Based on the terms of the agreement, the Pasay Harbor City Consortium will shoulder the entire cost of the project, which will be completed within four years from issuance of the notice to proceed.

As part of its proposal, the consortium will allocate at least 135.15 hectares or 51% of the area to be reclaimed, including roads and open spaces, for the Pasay City government or PRA.

“Reclamation deals in the Bay area are attractive for companies because it commands a certain premium in terms of unobstructed view of the Manila Bay,” Claro dG. Cordero, Jr., head of Jones Lang LaSalle’s research, consulting and valuation advisory services, said in a mobile phone message.

“The relatively low density of developments in reclaimed areas is also an added feature that certain businesses/companies are looking for,” Mr. Cordero said.

The Bay Area has seen increased activity with the opening of several multibillion integrated resort and casino projects at the Entertainment City, a gaming hub organized by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to rival Macau and Las Vegas.

UDEVCO, which is developing its own $300-million integrated resort and casino in Cebu, is owned by Mr. Uy, while Davao-based Ulticon Builders is owned by Carlos “Charlie” S. Gonzalez.

A known friend of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, Mr. Uy has been on an aggressive acquisition binge to expand his business beyond Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc.

This year alone, Mr. Uy secured a license to develop the first integrated resort and casino outside Manila, acquired Bonifacio Global City-based school Enderun Colleges, purchased the company developing a 177-hectare logistics hub in Clark and took over the local operator of FamilyMart convenience stores.

His logistics company Chelsea Logistics Holding Corp. made its debut on the stock exchange last June, using the proceeds of the offer to expand his fleet and further acquire more shipping companies.

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