Sta. Lucia allots up to P500M to develop Silay residential community

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STA. LUCIA LAND, Inc. has teamed up with a Silay-based company to develop a 67-hectare master planned lake residential community in the city known for its ancestral homes, and rich culture.

The La Alegria project offers 1,101 residential lots with sizes ranging from 150 square meters (sq.m.) to 300 sq.m., and 83 commercial lots, ranging from 500 sq.m. to 1,000 sq.m. Lot prices start at around P4,000 to P5,000 per sq.m.

“[The development cost] is around P400 million to P500 million,” said Sta. Lucia President Exequiel D. Robles during the project’s launch on Thursday, adding the amount covers the construction of facilities, electrical and water lines, drainage and the man-made lake.

Work on the project has already started, including the initial road tracing, ahead of the formal launch on Sept. 8. Its target buyers are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and residents of Bacolod and Silay, although the company also considers those in Iloilo as a likely market.

The land on which the lakeside community will be built is owned by Claudio Lopez, Inc., a property company in Silay that has its own separate residential development projects in the city.

“In about a year and a half, we will be done with the whole project,” said Eduardo V. Tirona, president of Sta. Lucia marketing unit Orchard Property Marketing Corp.

Mr. Tirona is confident the project will be sold out in three to four years, due to its affordability. “But our land has more value because it’s on a prime location, and it’s unique in a way that it has more amenities and a lake,” he added.

Aside from the man-made lake called Lake Aurora, the project will also feature a lighthouse, swimming pool, gazebo and picnic area.

Michael J. Valderrama, general manager of Claudio Lopez, said his family’s company put in the land for the project while Sta. Lucia will be the developer.

“This is a huge development, and it will bring a lot of employment to the people in Negros, especially in Silay,” he said, adding a portion of the development will be allotted for Claudio Lopez’s own commercial projects.

David M. dela Cruz, Sta. Lucia executive vice-president and chief financial officer, said La Alegria is an example of the company’s thrust of developing the countryside and helping build cities outside Metro Manila.

“We’re pretty much scattered all over the country,” he said, citing the company’s projects in Cebu, Bacolod, Davao, Iloilo, Pampanga, Baguio and Nueva Ecija, among others.

The company’s target market is the middle to lower-middle class, and OFWs. “If you’re at The Fort, you’re not our market,” Mr. Dela Cruz said.

Although joint ventures have been “very successful” for the company, Mr. Dela Cruz said “it would be better and would complement the entire business if we start acquiring our own land.”

Sta. Lucia currently has 900 hectares under a joint venture arrangement, while another 900 hectares have been acquired by the company on its own.

Mr. Dela Cruz said the company has recently put up a business unit to look into the commercial component of the residential projects that were sold.

“To build a commercial establishment like a mall [is] capital intensive. We’re thinking now what to do with these commercial properties,” he said.

The options are either to lease them out to bigger retailers, an outright sale or to operate the properties and replicate the company’s experience in the Sta. Lucia Mall in Cainta.

Mr. Dela Cruz said the company’s commercial segment accounts for about 28-32% of revenues. “That’s our mall in Cainta. Everything else is residential,” he said. — Victor V. Saulon