By Mark Louis F. Ferrolino
Special Features Writer
LAPU-LAPU CITY — Developer AppleOne Properties, Inc. (API) started the construction of its Mahi project in Cebu, which is envisioned as a lifestyle destination.
The project will stand on a 7,500-square-meter lot in Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) 1 owned by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) in Lapu-Lapu City.
API has earmarked around P1 billion for the construction of Mahi, where 41% of the space will be used for a hotel and retail area, 30% for information technology (IT) industry, and 29% for common utilities and facilities.
“This development is a proof of our commitment to delivering innovative projects. And by this, we’re raising another game changer with an iconic brand at the heart of Mactan, and contributing to Mactan’s economic progress,” Ray Go Manigsaca, API president and chief executive officer, said during the groundbreaking ceremony for Mahi on March 20.
“In two to three years from now, this area will be a site to behold and a true landmark,” he added.
Mahi will include a five-storey building with two floors of office spaces, three floors of commercial and retail spaces, a function room, and a rooftop bar and restaurant.
The project will also house a 12-storey hotel with 180 rooms to be managed by Marriott International, Inc. It will operate under the brand name “Fairfield by Marriott.”
Steve Baek, senior director of hotel development of Marriott International-Asia Pacific, is optimistic about the hotel’s prospects in Cebu because of its market — a good balance of corporate and leisure travellers.
“When I see the market segment in Cebu, there are a lot operating there — the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) and the leisure — which is actually great for the hotel business,” Mr. Baek told reporters on the sidelines of Mahi’s groundbreaking ceremony.
Marriott International, he said, is looking forward to a successful working relationship with API in more business opportunities.
“API is a very renowned contractor and developer in the market with a great reputation and track record. Marriott International is so glad to have a chance to work with such a great business partner and owner,” Mr. Baek said.
Meanwhile, PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza said that Mahi will help modernize the face of Mactan ecozone.
“The Mahi by AppleOne Properties, Inc. is really a welcome venture that will change the face of not just Mactan Economic Zone but Lapu-Lapu City, and a big contribution to our development,” she said in a speech during the event.
Ms. Plaza added that the project is very timely since PEZA is starting to transform economic zones into townships, which will have industrial, commercial, and residential components.
In the years to come, Cebu-based API, according to Mr. Manigsaca, will continue its expansion in the mixed-use market and will bring in more international hotel brands in Cebu to cater to the province’s growing tourism sector.
API’s subsidiary, AppleOne Mactan, Inc., is the developer of the forthcoming five-star Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort and the first Sheraton-branded residence in Southeast Asia, The Residences at Sheraton Cebu Mactan Resort.