Widus sees $1-billion expansion in Clark

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KOREAN-LED Widus International Leisure, Inc., the operator of the Marriot hotel chain in Clark, Pampanga, is looking at expanding its hotel projects in the city to total to $1 billion in the next few years.

While the $100-million Marriot Hotel has yet to start operations — targeted by September this year, Daesik Han, president and CEO of Widus International, said the company already broke ground for a $300-million dollar hotel that will locate beside the Marriot Hotel.

The project, now under construction, is slated for completion by mid-2020 and will have 400 rooms. The hotel will be an extension of the $100-million Widus Hotel and Casino that has been operating in Clark since 2008.

This will bring the company’s total investments in the country to $500 million. Mr. Han, however, is looking to double that in the next few years.

“I plan to invest additional $500 million to make current development into a $1-billion project,” Mr. Han said Monday during the Bases Conversion Development Authority press briefing in Pampanga.

He said the company is set to sign, hopefully by next month, a term-sheet agreement with Clark Development Corp. (CDC) to develop another 3.3-hectare property situated behind the Marriot Hotel.

The master plan for the project, however, has yet to be drawn and may be finalized by the time the $300-million extension program for Widus Hotel is completed within an estimated two years.

The official is looking at pouring $500 million on the 3.3-hectare project, bringing his total investments to $1 billion.

Mr. Han is also considering a 250-hectare golf course in Clark but he said this will “not be a major investment.”

Aside from Widus, other property and infrastructure developers gave updates on their developments in Clark.

Among these is Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI), which has a joint venture with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority to develop 288 hectares of Clark Green City into a mixed-use township.

Francis Ceballos, SVP and cluster head of Filinvest Land, Inc., said the company is set to start the first phase or 60 hectares of the 288-hectare portion of the landmark Clark Green City.

Asked about the investments, Mr. Ceballos said: “Definitely, the investments here will not be small,” adding that the allocation on the Clark City development will have “a pretty good percentage” of the P45-billion capital expenditure of its parent firm, Filinvest Development, Corp. (FDC).

FLI, together with FDC, also has a lease agreement with CDC to develop, manage and operate the 200-hectare Clark Mimosa estate for 50 years.

So far, the golf course in the estate has been renovated while the 3.6-hectare office campus has its first two towers ready to receive tenants by the second half of the year, according to Don Ubaldo, senior assistant vice-president for Townships of Filinvest Alabang, Inc.

For his part, Clark International Airport Corp. Assistant Vice-President Darwin Lacson Cunanan said the Clark airport management is looking to serve some 2.5 million passengers this year following record-breaking passengers posted in 2017.

In April last year, it serviced about 214,000 passengers, a record high month for the agency. In addition, the first trimester last year saw a 841,000 passenger movement of “more than what we had in the whole year of 2011 and below,” Mr. Cunanan said.

For his part, Manuel Louie B. Ferrer, chief marketing officer, and corporate information officer of Megawide Construction Corp. said the tasks involved in Phase 1 of the expansion of the Clark Airport are moving “a little ahead of schedule.”

“Things are going very well on the site,” Mr. Ferrer said.

Megawide leads a consortium with India’s GMR Infrastructure. The consortium bagged a contract to build a new passenger terminal in Clark airport.

The 9,450-hectare Clark Green City is envisioned to be developed as the country’s newest sustainable urban community and globally competitive investment center. — Janina C. Lim