This is the kind of transformation that Megaworld Corp. envisions for Iloilo City as it embarks on its P25-billion development of the old Iloilo airport in Mandurriao district.
“THE new city of the future.”
Megaworld broke ground its 10-year Iloilo Business Park project Thursday, more than four years after it bought the 54.5-hectare lot from the national government for more than P1 billion.
Present during the groundbreaking were Senator Franklin Drilon, Megaworld vice president and commercial division head Kevin L. Tan, Governor Arthur D. Defensor Sr., Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Megaworld vice president for operations Philipps Cando and Iloilo business leaders.
Jericho Go, Megaworld first vice president for business development, said the turning point for their plans for Iloilo City was two years ago when two major business processes outsourcing firms offered to lease buildings in the city despite the absence of working designs and plans.
“Our clients said ‘Iloilo? Without seeing the site, we are willing to sign.’ That’s how confident our locators are in Iloilo City,” Go said.
Go said he presented the proposition to Megaworld chairman Andrew Tan but the latter said he had to think it over.
Go said it took them four years to begin their development plans because of the power problems in the city.
Megaworld sounded off its plans for the old airport lot last month after the inauguration of the 160-megawatt coal-fired power plant of Panay Energy Development Corp., a subsidiary of Global Business Power Corp., in LaPaz, Iloilo City.
“What we noticed about the Iloilo is the active participation of your officials, especially Senator Drilon and Mayor Mabilog who went out of their way to convince us to begin our development. Unlike in other areas where officials would tell us to this and that lest we cannot start our works, Ilonggo officials encouraged and helped us,” Go said.
When asked what attracted their locators to Iloilo, Go replied: “The high quality of labor.”
“The workforce is very proficient given the number of educational institutions here. They are also good in customer relations,” he added.
Megaworld’s initial development is the Richmonde Hotel Iloilo and Richmonde Tower. The 12-story hotel will host 90 guest rooms, ranging from superior rooms to junior suites.
Richmonde Hotel Iloilo is the third project of Megaworld under this hotel brand. The hotel is projected to serve businessmen and tourists.
The Richmonde Tower will occupy the second to sixth floors of the hotel, offering more than 9,000 square meters of office space for BPO locators. Both projects are scheduled for completion within the next two years.
A standalone BPO building and the Festive Walk comprised of retail establishments and restaurants will also be developed in the area.
The initials projects are expected to be finished in later part of 2012 and will cost P2.5 billion.
Further developments over 10 years will infuse P18 billion in Iloilo’s economy.
Megaworld vice president Kevin L. Tan said the Iloilo Business Park will focus on BPO offices being part of their company’s BPO Triangle Strategy.
In a statement, Megaworld chairman and chief executive officer Andrew Tan said their entry in Iloilo is an affirmation of their confidence in the city and province.
“With our groundbreaking rites today, we affirm the strong business prospects of Iloilo City and the Western Visayas region in particular. The Iloilo Business Park is an important component of the BPO triangle I am envisioning that will make the Philippines an exciting and thriving BPO destination worldwide," he said.