Vista Residences upbeat on Boracay foray

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Even before construction starts for its multi-billion peso project in Boracay, Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. is planning to acquire another 15-hectare property after seeing strong interest from investors, a company official said.

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The company’s Costa Vista Boracay project, announced only this month, has already been receiving interest, with prospective investors sending letters of intent, said Vista Residences President and Managing Director Elizabeth Kalaw.

“We’re excited about the results of the interest, so we’re planning to put an additional launch. We’re exploring to get additional property in the area,” Kalaw told reporters.

The project was initially projected to cost P2.2 billion, but with the planned acquisition of additional property, investments may probably double, Kalaw said.

Costa Vista Boracay is a mixed-use project that will feature six mid-rise residential towers, private villas, a hotel, a pavilion with viewing deck, pool, convention center, and a commercial quarter. It will be formally launched in December.

With the positive response from investors, the firm expects to sell out the 1,000 units of the residential towers within six months after its launch, Kalaw said. The company is forecasting sales of the residential units to hit P3.5 billion, she added.

Analysts said the Villar family-owned firm was right in its Boracay foray, as tourist arrivals are seen growing over the years.

KMC Savills Managing Director Michael McCullough said there is still strong demand for hotels and resorts in the area, as it remains the country’s top tourist destination.

“If you look at the occupancy rates (in Boracay), it’s in the upper 80-90 percent, McCullough said in a phone interview.

Claro Cordero Jr., head of research at Jones Lang Lasalle Philippines, echoed McCullough’s view.

“There are still market opportunities for resort and residential developments in Boracay due to the increasing number of tourist arrivals,” Cordero said.

But there is a need to address certain issues to make the island resort more viable over the long-term such as improving access to Boracay, and upgrading the management of sewerage and solid waste, Cordero said.

Data from the Malay Municipal Tourism Office, tourist arrivals in Boracay in the first six months of 2016 reached 982,710, up15.32 percent from a year ago. The local tourism office expects visitors to reach 1.7 million by year end.

Encouraged by the upbeat response on its Boracay project, the company aims to develop projects in other parts of the Visayan island such as Iloilo and Bacolod. But these planned projects won’t be resort types like the one in Boracay.

“Depending sa area, kasi itong Boracay its more of the resort type eh, pero ang iniisip namin for some areas like Iloilo, business area,” Kalaw said.

Vista Residences is the condominium development arm of Vista Land.

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