Japanese experts see potential large-scale development for Lahug property

Japanese experts recommended to the Capitol to develop its Sudlon, Lahug property into a commercial and residential facility.

The team who inspected the 2.7-hectare property saw the potential for a large-scale development in the area. One part of the property is identified as commercial while the other is residential.

The experts, who were requested by Governor Hilario P. Davide III to conduct a study on possible public-private partnership (PPP) projects, were in Cebu last February 2-8.

All of them were students of Asia PPP Institute (APPI) of Toyo University. Professor Sam Tabuchi, director, APPI, headed the eight-member delegation from Japan.

Hiroaki Adachi, government officer in the field of development assistance, and Kei Mizushima, consultant in regional development and PPP, made the study on the land use of the Capitol properties.

In their proposal, Adachi said the Capitol may sell the residential area to the private sector that can develop residences for low-income buyers.

He explained that in this way the province already achieves the public purpose of the disposal of the property.

The other part of the property, he said, could be leased to and operated by the private sector. The Capitol can generate revenue from the lease agreement while the private sector earns through its prospective tenants.

The Capitol is also asked to request eco-friendly development plan for the property.

According to the team, the Sudlon, Lahug lots and the Cebu South Bus Terminal generated high interest among local private companies they have interviewed during their study in Cebu.

Leasing more public properties

Adachi’s team also inspected the Baex building that was damaged by the 2013 Bohol earthquake.

Their initial proposal for the rehabilitation of the building is to ask the private sector to build, operate and own the structure while the province continues to own the land.

In this way, the Capitol will be paying lease to the private sector for its office space and so does the private sector for the land lease.

The payment of the land lease to be paid by the private sector to the Capitol will just be used to offset the lease payment to be paid by the Capitol to the private sector for the office space.

The proposal also suggested to the Capitol to lease its other public properties to its private partner.

In this scheme, Adachi in his report said that the “Province can improve its functions without investing in buildings.”

The team suggested that if the Capitol considers rehabilitating the Baex building, the outlook must be developing the entire provincial office and not piece by piece development.

Adachi said the new building should bring together other offices that were scattered by the earthquake to increase the efficiency of administration.

They also suggested for the Capitol to consider to sales and lease of the spaces outside of the Capitol to be used for the creation of a more organized provincial office space.

During their interviews, the team said that local developers are interested to use the space of Baex building for commercial purpose, office, or for business processing outsourcing operations.