SM, Ayala eye heritage restoration project

Posted at 07/03/2012 6:51 PM | Updated as of 07/03/2012 6:51 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Mall developers SM Prime Holdings and Ayala Land Inc. appear to be interested in the heritage restoration and redevelopment project in Talisay City, Negros Occidental.

Ayala and SM, as well as Negros Occidental-based retailers 888 China Square, Lopues Department Store and Carmella Valley Corp. recently attended a market sounding session conducted by Talisay local government and the Public Private Partnership (PPP) Center.

The Talisay project is the country's first heritage restoration project to be undertaken as a PPP project. It involves the transformation of the 13,757 square meter Talisay City Complex, which includes the old Central Public Market and City Hall, into a mixed-use commercial complex. Part of the project would involve the conservation and restoration of the complex's century-old structures.

PPP Center executive director Cosette V. Canilao said heritage restoration projects are "highly viable", as the tourism industry grows.

"We consider the Talisay heritage project as a clear example of the scope and breadth that public-private partnerships can be tapped. Traditionally, PPP focused mostly on hard infrastructure like roads. This time around, government is using PPP for social infra like our school buildings and hospitals. With Talisay, we are exploring heritage and tourism. The recent market sounding made it clear to us that there is much interest from the private sector for this type of PPP project," she said.

The Aquino administration is planning to roll out 8 PPP projects this year, including the LRT 1 South Extension.

Last year, the government bid out just one PPP project - the P2 billion Daang Hari road project which was awarded to Ayala.