SM group in talks to buy dormitory buildings chain
PROPERTY giant SM Prime Holdings Inc. is in talks to acquire a growing chain of dormitory buildings under the “MyTown” brand, which could mark its entry into the specialized for-lease property segment that caters to young urban professionals, particularly in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.
Industry sources said SM Prime was in an advanced stage of discussion with Philippines Urban Living Solutions Inc. (PULS), owner, developer and manager of purpose-built staff-housing at walking distance from major central business districts in the Philippines under the “MyTown” brand.
PULS currently owns and manages five buildings with more than 1,000 beds all operated under the “MyTown” brand. It plans to reach 6,000 beds by 2018.
An investee company of Franklin Templeton Investments and BPI Capital Corp., PULS specializes in building 10- to 20-square meter residential units rented out near Metro Manila central business districts.
One industry source said the SM group would like to test the dormitory market in anticipation of demand for more affordable living space among BPO workers. This business is seen catering to young people who need quality shelter near their place of work but can not afford yet to purchase their own home.
Based on its website, MyTown units come in four configurations, each fully-furnished with a bath, kitchenette, a desk, and smart bunk beds with ergonomic gadget provisions. MyTown buildings also have a wide range of comprehensive amenities and recreational areas. Its biggest property to date is MyTown New York, a 700-bed dormitory in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati, which is also equipped with a movie theater, game rooms, resto bars, KTV rooms, function and study rooms, and a roof deck.
MyTown currently has a 40-bed dormitory in Pembo, Makati, a 20-bed property in Pitogom Makati, a 92-bed unit also in Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati and a 160-bed property in Santolan Road, Quezon City. It is set to launch a 60-bed property in Pitogo, Makati
Each fully-fitted room is rented out at about P17,000 monthly. Two people sharing a room thus pay P8,500 each while four people sharing pay P4,800 each.
MyTown buildings also come with retail outlets, such as convenience stores, restaurants, coffee shops, payment centers, laundromats, and pharmacies.
PULS was established in 2013 by a group of Dutch and Filipino ex-investment bankers. Their objective was to create a safe, secure and fully-fitted residential space that can improve the living conditions of young professionals in Metro Manila and let them save on transportation time and cost.
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