SUNTRUST Properties Inc., a unit of the Andrew Tan-led Megaworld Corp., plans to venture into the industrial estate business by investing P5 billion over eight years to develop a 200-hectare industrial park in Tanza, Cavite.
Harrison Paltongan, Suntrust president, told a press briefing the Ecotown Tanza project will cater to foreign investors, mostly in the electronics and machinery sectors, seeking to expand their facilities in Southeast Asia.
“This integrated industrial park is a township in itself, having all commercial conveniences — schools, medical facilities and others. There’s no need to go away for your needs,” Paltongan said.
If there is strong market demand, he said another 150 hectares would be added after completion of the 200-hectare township by 2022.
To date, this is the first and largest venture of Suntrust into industrial development. The firm is known for its expertise in affordable housing.
Paltongan said the Ecotown Tanza project is the company’s response to the booming domestic economy, as well as foreign companies looking for areas of investments amid crises, issues and higher valuations in other countries.
Of the 200 hectares to be developed, Suntrust is currently developing the 111 hectares approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). The firm is already 50 percent done with the 111-hectare development as of press time.
Some 46 hectares of the 111 hectares were allotted for an industrial park and lifestyle amenities including hotels, 4-hectare commercial and retail hubs, driving range, mini golf course, putting greens, swimming pool, jogging path, basketball and badminton courts, and open parks.
Another 50 hectares of the 111-hectare area will be developed into a horizontal residential segment or house and lots and other recreational facilities.
“We still have eight years to develop, and we see a lot of potential. Developments may expand, depending on market demand,” Paltongan said.
Paltongan said both the raw area of the industrial park as well as the house and lots to be developed will be wholly put up for sale, not for lease.
At present, some 24 percent or 35 foreign companies have already expressed interest in locating to the industrial areas, which will soon start construction of its hubs. Most of the locators are electronics and machinery companies based in Japan, Korea, Singapore, and China.
Suntrust is targeting a hundred locators to its industrial park. It will start accepting locators in November.
“The P5 billion is not only for construction costs but also for land banking… people are looking for other places to invest, and the Philippines comes as number one in this. There is a growth in trend to look for other locations due to the political unrest in other countries,” Paltongan said.
“We expect to generate around 500,000 (direct and indirect) employment in the industrial park within eight years. We look forward to hundreds of companies locating in Suntrust Ecotown,” he added.
Suntrust’s recently consolidated parent Megaworld grew its first-half net income by 289 percent to P16.44 billion from P4.23 billion a year ago.
Megaworld holds the property businesses of business magnate Andrew Tan, which consist of a 100-percent stake in Suntrust, 74.96-percent stake in Global Estate Resorts Inc, and 82 percent in Empire East Land Holdings Inc., apart from 30 other subsidiaries.
Megaworld is a unit of conglomerate Alliance Global Group Inc., which also owns and operates Emperador Inc., McDonalds local franchisee Golden Arches Development Corp. and Resorts World Manila operator Travellers International Hotel Group Inc.