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Ayala earmarks P6 billion for UP property
[October 30, 2006]

Ayala earmarks P6 billion for UP property

(Business World (Philippines) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Ayala Land, Inc., the country's largest property developer, yesterday said it will invest P6 billion over the next five to 10 years to develop a 38-hectare property of the University of the Philippines (UP) into a fully integrated information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services community.

ALI Chief Finance Officer Jaime E. Ysmael said in a disclosure that the publicly listed property firm entered a 25-year contract of lease with the state university to develop the lot named the UP North Science and Technology Park. Development work will start within the first half of 2007.

The property located along Commonwealth Ave. in Quezon City will have low-rise office buildings to be complemented by supporting components such as retail, residential and hotel developments.

Marivic Anonuevo, head of ALI's corporate business group, said in a statement that the UP park "will pioneer BPO [business process outsourcing] campus development in the country."

In a telephone interview with BusinessWorld, Mr. Ysmael said ALI is now in talks with prospective locators for at least 10 office buildings. The first two buildings will be finished by next year.

"We are committed in the business process outsourcing sector. We believe the industry is here to stay. As one of the major players, we like to take advantage of the opportunities in this industry. This is the first development of its kind with multiple buildings and mixed-area development which addresses the needs of IT and IT-enabled services," he added.

ALI has ventured into the development of build-to-suit office buildings catering to BPOs, particularly call centers. The People-Support Center in Makati City was completed in April 2005. Nearby Convergys was completed in October 2005, while the InfoNXX Building in Laguna was constructed from July to November 2005.

After three years of negotiations, UP finally approved ALI's bid to convert the idle property last May 2006.

In its 2005 annual report, ALI said it expects to grow the leasable area in its portfolio over the next five years with some new buildings to be constructed in areas such as Quezon City and Alabang.

The science and technology park to be developed across the UP campus in Quezon City is envisioned as a university-based catalyst for technological innovation along the lines of the Stanford-based Silicon Valley corridor.

Mr. Ysmael said ALI is planning the development of another BPO campus in Canlubang in the second semester of 2007.

Ms. Anonuevo told reporters last April that growth in property development in the coming years will be fueled by the full-year operations of its BPO offerings.

Copyright 2006 BusinessWorld (Philippines). Source: Financial Times Information Limited - Asia Intelligence Wire.

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