|By Krista Angela M. Montealegre, The
Manila Times, PhilippinesMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Nov. 02, 2010--AYALA Land Inc. (ALI) plans to undertake more hotel ventures next year amid a boom in tourism. The property developer last week broke ground for its first boutique hotel project in Bonifacio Global City, near the company's upscale West Tower Project at One Serendra, Antonino Aquino, ALI president, told The Manila Times.
By next year, ALI aims to have four boutique hotels in the country.
"I hope we'll be able to break ground in all of them between now and next year. Typically, it will take a year and a half to complete," said Aquino.
The boutique hotel is estimated to cost less than P1 billion with the flagship unit in Bonifacio Global City having 175 rooms priced under $100, according to Jaime Ysmael, ALI chief financial officer.
Besides its high-end projects in Lagen and Miniloc islands, ALI is also completing two more upscale projects in Palawan.
"ALI is constructing and refurbishing two more in Northern Palawan," said Aquino.
"Eventually, aside from the island resorts, we want have other resort hotels in the Palawan mainland which will cater to mainstream tourists," he added.
ALI is set to undertake a P2-billion joint venture with Asian Conservation Co., the operator of the world-class El Nido Resorts in Northern Palawan through subsidiaries under the Ten Knots Group. ALI has a 60-percent interest in the partnership.
The Ayala group recently formed a new hotel and resort company, as ALI aims to consolidate its hotel business under Ayala Hotels and Resorts Corp.
"The new company will be the principal vehicle for Ayala Land's hotel businesses," said Aquino, adding that it is uncertain if ALI will eventually list the new firm as a real estate investment trust (REIT).
ALI has another hotel subsidiary in Ayala Hotels Inc., which owns the Hotel Intercontinental in Makati and the Marriott Hotel in Cebu City. The ALI subsidiary also owns the 320-hectare Anvaya Cove and the 46-hectare Amara development in Liloan, Cebu.
Aquino said the success of the company's hotel ventures will likely depend on the state of the country's tourism industry "We think those are major developments we have already done and if there will be more opportunities because of more tourist arrivals, we will be looking at them also," he said.
ALI's profit in the first half hit P2.86 billion, higher than last year's P2.07 billion because of strong growth in its residential and leasing operations in malls, offices and hotels.
Its shares were unchanged at P16.70 each on Friday.
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