FILREIT to benefit from FLI’s growing Cebu presence

Leading Filipino builder Filinvest Land Inc. (FLI) plans to further boost its presence in Cebu through its office and township development projects. FLI said these could potentially be added to the portfolio of Filinvest REIT Corp. (FILREIT), the real estate investment trust (REIT) arm of FLI.

FLI said it is riding on the prospect of increasing economic growth and the resilience of the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry in Metro Cebu. “Cebu is the top-of-mind metropolitan city next to Metro Manila and the center of urban growth in the Visayas. High-potential land is available at lower investment costs so BPO companies are relocating there,” said Tristan Las Marias, executive vice president and chief strategy officer of FLI.

The company is also expecting economic activity to be spurred by the completion of infrastructure projects such as the Cebu Cordova Link Expressway, which connects Cebu to Mactan Island; a bus rapid transit making it accessible to go to and from the city proper; and the rise of recreational hotspots such as resorts, ocean parks, and entertainment hubs across the province.

Since purchasing land and entering into an agreement with the Cebu City government for a 50.6-hectare property within an economic zone in South Road Properties (SRP) in 2009, in addition to its buying additional land in the area, FLI has merged as the biggest CBD landowner in SRP. As one of its three major PEZA hubs in the country, Cebu SRP is strategically located in a 300-hectare development seen as the next premier economic center of Cebu City.

Aside from Cebu SRP, FLI is also banking on the continuous growth of its 1.2-hectare property adjacent to the Cebu IT Park in Lahug City, Cebu, which is home to Cebu Tower 1 in Filinvest Cebu Cyberzone. Cebu Tower 1 has 19,937 sqm of gross leasable area (GLA) primarily catering to BPO companies and 675 sqm of retail space.

Cebu Tower 1 is part of the inaugural portfolio of FILREIT (formerly Cyberzone Properties, Inc.), which received the permit to sell from the Securities and Exchange Commission last Friday (July 23), as well as the approval on its listing application from the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). The FILREIT IPO offer period will run from July 26 to August 3, 2021. The shares are expected to start trading on the PSE on August 12, 2021.

FILREIT’s portfolio has 17 office buildings, including Cebu Tower 1 and 16 located in Northgate Cyberzone in Filinvest City in Alabang, also a PEZA Special Economic Zone and IT park. These office buildings sit on prime property totaling over 300,000 square meters of gross leasable area (GLA) and were rated Grade A by Jones Lang Lasalle.

In addition to being home to well-known global tenants in the BPO sector — which occupy 88.4% of the portfolio’s occupied GLA as of March 2021 — Filinvest City is also known for being the first central business district in the Philippines to receive LEED®v4 Gold for Neighborhood Development Plan certification. Buildings inside Northgate Cyberzone are also cooled by the country’s largest district cooling system. Two new buildings are LEED Gold certified — sustainability features sought after by leading multinational BPO firms that make the FILREIT portfolio what we consider the “greenest” REIT, FLI said.

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