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Ascott, CLI to open Citadines

October 12, 2015

Gentlemen’s Agreement. Ascott general manager for Philippines and Thailand Arthur Gindap (left) and Cebu Landmasters Inc. chief executive officer Jose Soberano III (center) formalize their agreement to develop Citadines Cebu City, an international serviced residence brand under the Ascott group. Citadines Cebu City will be part of the Base Line Center complex on J. Osmeña St. With them is CLI chief operating officer Jose Franco Soberano (right). 

AN international brand in the hospitality sector will enter Cebu in 2019.

Cebu Landmasters Inc., (CLI) and The Ascott Limited (Ascott) inked a partnership Thursday to formalize Ascott’s entry to Cebu through Citadines Cebu City located in one of the towers of Baseline Center, a new development owned by CLI.

Citadines Cebu City is the first foray of Ascott in the Visayas-Mindanao region and is the eighth addition of Ascott properties in the country. Ascott is an international serviced residence owner-operator.

It has three brands – Ascott, which caters to the high-end market; Citadines for young professionals with flexible services; and Somerset, which is popular for executives and their families.

Ascott Limited has set its sights on expanding outside of Manila, primarily to thriving key cities with a high demand for premiere serviced residences. Cebu, considered as the country’s second major business and commercial capital, has a robust business climate and high tourism arrivals, as well as as a steady influx of local and foreign visitors or those who are here on business assignments, making it an ideal location for our next property, said Arthur Gindap, Ascott’s regional general manager for Philippines and Thailand.

Ascott will be managing Citadines Cebu City, the third international serviced residence in the country under the Citadines brand.

Citadines Cebu City is part of the one-hectare mixed-used development of Baseline Center, which will also house offices, retail and private residential units called Baseline Premier.

The 180-room apartment development will feature a range of studio king units (88 units) with sizes ranging from 30 to 40 square meters (sq.m); studio twin (66 units) at 34 sq.m; one-bedroom (22 units) at 48 to 51 sq.m; and loft (four units) with sizes between 49 and 93 sq.m. Of the total units, only 90 units will be sold as condo-hotel units.

According to Jose Franco Soberano, CLI’s senior vice-president and chief operating officer, the cost of the unit is at P140,000 per sq.m, inclusive of the turn-key package (interior, furniture, fixture and equipment). He said that for a 30 to 38-sq.m unit, the total investment is about P4.4 million.

All units come with fully functioning kitchen, separate work and living areas, home entertainment and broadband Internet connection. The serviced-apartment tower, which starts from the eighth floor of the building to the 21st floor, also has meeting and function rooms.

It will also have a recreational floor equipped with a swimming pool and fitness center. Also part of the integrated plan are commercial spaces, dining and retail outlets.

Soberano said the partnership with Ascott is a dream come true, especially that this is CLI’s first project with a hotel component.

CLI’s previous projects are concentrated in office, condominium and house and lot developments.

Cebu is known for its thriving tourism and trade industries so we think she deserves to have an international brand that will cater to the needs of both local and foreign investors or tourists, he said during the press conference held at the Marco Polo Plaza Cebu. He said this is a specialized but profitable corner of the market, as it targets both leisure and business travelers who stay in Cebu for the long-haul.

CLI also launched last Thursday the P3-billion Baseline Center, which will be developed in two phases. The project’s first phase will break ground next month.

Citadines Cebu City, according to Gidnap, will primarily cater to the long-staying market or guests who stay at least a month here. Banking on Cebu’s strong growth story, Gidnap believes they will capture a good market here because of the strong presence of expats and steady influx of foreign and local tourists, travelers, and investors.

Foreign direct investments are steadily growing here. The company’s strategy is really to position itself in key cities where expat communities are growing, he said, adding that they are also eyeing other key locations that can accommodate more than one Ascott brand like in Iloilo, Davao, and Bacolod.

The long-staying market comprises fifty to seventy percent of Ascott’s business.

Confident of Cebu’s growth potential, Gidnap hopes to partner with CLI to bring in its two other brands.

We can have all our brands here because of Cebu’s thriving landscape, he said.

Gidnap, who also handles Ascott’s operations in Thailand, said the room supply gap between Thailand and the Philippines will narrow in the next 10 years. Thailand is one of the Philippines’ strongest competitors as far as the tourism sector is concerned.

Ascott Limited is a member of CapitaLand. It has more than 250 properties in over 90 cities, spanning more than 250 countries across the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Gulf region.

By 2016, Ascott will open Somerset Alabang Manila and Citadines Millennium Ortigas Manila.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 10, 2015.