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SM buys airport casino lot

Group also acquiring 10-hectare Manila Bay property of Ashmore
/ 05:22 AM April 26, 2018

Property giant SM Prime Holdings has acquired the 11-hectare property where the old Casino Filipino complex once stood near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque for around P6 billion, planning to transform the site into a new residential hub given the strong demand for urban residential space.

SM Prime is also finalizing a P20-billion deal to acquire the 10-hectare lot owned by the Ashmore group near Solaire Resort and Casino along Manila Bay, which will be the site of a new upscale waterfront residential complex.

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The property developer plans to launch 15,000 residential units priced at an average of P3 million each as part of its expansion program this year.

Bulk of the residential inventory to be launched this year will come from the Parañaque project. The 11-hectare property—formerly leased to the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) until the airport casino was shut down due to snowballing losses in 2014—was acquired by SM Prime last year from the Mercado group, SM Prime president Jeffrey Lim said in an interview at the sidelines of the company’s stockholders’ meeting on Tuesday.

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The former casino property in Parañaque had been bought for roughly P50,000 per square meter or roughly P6 billion, SM Investments chair Henry Sy Jr. estimated.

“We’re getting the permits to build residential condominium. From there, it’s just five minutes going to here (Mall of Asia complex),” Lim said.

The residential condominium units in Parañaque will likely be launched at a price of around P100,000 a square meter, he said. A strip mall will likewise be part of the development.

In a separate interview, SM Prime chair Henry Sy Jr. said he had moved to acquire the 10-hectare Ashmore property near Solaire to boost the group’s landbank in the metropolis to meet strong demand for residential property while a massive reclamation project proposed by the group has yet to be completed.

Sy said the Ashmore deal—priced at around P20 billion or P200,000 a sqm—would give the group additional premium landbank to build on a new upscale waterfront residential development. The land will be mostly for residential development as it is not too far from the SM Mall of Asia complex but there will be a strip mall at the lower levels of the vertical development.

The waterfront area will be suitable for high-end development but with smaller cuts, Sy said.

Sy noted the purchase price of around P200,000 a sqm for the Ashmore land was a bargain as other lot purchase transactions within the area had breached P300,000 a sqm.

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In the first quarter of this year, about 30 percent of the group’s residential reservation sales came from Chinese buyers. The phenomenon started only in the second half of 2017, Lim said.

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TAGS: Casino Filipino complex, residential hub, SM Prime Holdings, urban residential space
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