SM 'in talks' with foreign groups for Pasay reclamation project

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia,

Posted at Jan 10 2014 05:44 PM | Updated as of Jan 11 2014 01:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The SM group is in talks with some foreign groups for the development of its 300-hectare Manila Bay reclamation project in Pasay City.

SM Prime president Hans Sy said they are in talks with some foreign groups who may be interested in developing the project with them.

"It's not something na kami lang magiging developer niya (Manila Bay reclamation project). We will take in another developer. We have been in talks with some foreign groups coming in," he told reporters on Thursday evening.

Last December, SM Land finally received the go-signal from the Pasay City Council for the project, which had faced challenges from rival Ayala Land and other interested groups.

The project involves the reclamation and development of approximately 300 hectares of foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay. SM will undertake and fully finance the project, including all the costs of all the necessary permits and clearances from government agencies and the expenses to comply with all the government and legal requirements.

Sy said they are in the process of crafting a master plan for the reclamation project, in collaboration with foreign consultants. "It's in the process... By the end of the first quarter, I will make a presentation," he said.

He added the whole process of reclamation and preparing the property for development would take five years.

At the same time, Sy allayed fears of some groups that such a big reclamation project would have an adverse effects on the environment, particularly the coastal areas and marine life in Manila Bay.

"One thing we would like to clarify, as people would sometimes say that this reclamation is not environmentally-friendly, kasi they're thinking we would carve out a mountain and fill up the water, so if we do that syempre water will rise... But what we're doing, what we did with MOA area is what we call dredging.. Dredging is getting from the bottom seabed and putting it all up together, so the balance of the water and land is there," Sy said.