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Megaworld to develop 6 more townships

/ 05:06 AM June 18, 2019

Upbeat on the sustained boom of the local property market, Megaworld Corp. plans to invest in bigger townships, enter off-the-beaten tracks, hatch new property formats and harness technology to design smarter estates.

In a press briefing after Megaworld’s 25th listing anniversary celebration at the Philippine Stock Exchange yesterday, the company unveiled plans to launch six more townships this year through 2020, bringing its township portfolio to 30.

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“We’re looking to build much larger townships,” Megaworld chief strategy officer Kevin Tan said, adding that the company would also go into promising new cities and municipalities.

To date, half of its townships are outside Metro Manila. However, the group remains largely Luzon-centric, Tan said.

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“Originally we went into townships or areas which we consider as second tier and third tier but we’re even now experimenting in going into areas where you take a longer-term perspective,” Tan said.

At the same time, he added that technology was now vital to the group’s digital transformation. In building i-townships or smart townships, Tan said Megaworld was putting in a lot of technology in its residential offerings as well as in the common facilities.

Megaworld is also looking at real estate investment trusts (REITs) as a way of unlocking values out of its office, hospitality or even township projects. However, this will be subject to new implementing rules that will ease restrictions on sponsoring REITs.

REIT gives investors the option to invest directly in the finished products that are already earning money as an alternative to investing in the property developer itself. This is seen to attract new investors and allow investors to better recycle money as the Philippine REIT law requires the distribution of 90 percent of income annually.

In the office property segment, about 15 percent of the business is derived from the online gaming industry, also known as Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs). In the hotel business, the group operates more than 5,000 rooms.

Tan added that Megaworld would also like to expand in the Visayas, although he noted that residential demand in Metro Manila remained strong.

The new developments that Megaworld will launch this year and next will cover about 2,000 hectares. Five of these are in Luzon while one is in Mindanao.

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“Currently, we have a little over 4,000 hectares of both developed and developable land. By next year, we will increase our land ownership and land holding to more than 6,000 hectares as we continue to focus on our goal to expand to key growth areas in the provinces, help boost tourism, provide jobs and further spur economic opportunities outside of Metro Manila,” Tan said.

Megaworld has 24 townships to date, including those in Metro Manila: Eastwood City, McKinley Hill, Forbes Town, McKinley West, Uptown Bonifacio, Newport City, Alabang West, Westside City and Arcovia City. Eight others are located elsewhere in Luzon: Capital Town Pampanga, Eastland Heights, Twin Lakes, Southwoods City, Suntrust Ecotown, Maple Grove, Hamptons Caliraya and Highland City. Six are in the Visayas while one is in Mindanao.

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