Controversy and Alphaland Makati Place

As the 2016 Philippine election season is fast approaching, controversies are sure to pop up regarding any of those vying for the election season. This season, it seems that a favorite target is Vice President Jejomar Binay, who has expressed his intent to gun for the presidency itself.

Whether the allegations against him are true or false, that is for the ongoing investigations to decide. As far as the Urban Roamer is concerned though, it’s interesting to learn more about the places behind the controversies. Thus we take a look at the rising development that has been subject to another Binay-related controversy, the Alphaland Makati Place.

Located along Ayala Avenue and Malugay Street up north of the main Makati Central Business District, the area Alphaland Makati Place is located is itself a rising commercial area as other developments have sprouted nearby like The Columns and Lerato. Its developer, Alphaland, has been involved in other projects in the metropolis as well, notably the Alphaland Southgate Tower at the corner of EDSA and Chino Roces Avenue and the Makati Tower along Ayala Avenue which it used to own but is now ceded to its project partner Ashmore Group.

The crux of the controversy behind the Alphaland Makati Place lies with the land’s history. Apparently, the one-hectare land was a property of BF Goodrich (formerly Sime Darby) that was donated to the Boy Scouts of the Philippines (BSP) in 1976, with BF Goodrich keeping ownership of the structures there as well as having exclusive rights to lease the property. The original agreement would have been in effect until 2001 but in 1997, BF Goodrich asked for an extension of the agreement which was questioned by the BSP.

Such was the case when Jejomar Binay entered the scene in 2004, acting in his capacity as Makati mayor and also the national president of the BSP. An agreement was eventually made the following year in which the BSP got 60% of the property while the 40% went to BF Goodrich.

The BSP then moved into developing the property in which Alphaland has now entered into the picture. Alphaland already has presence in the area as it served as the local arm of BF Goodrich/Sime Darby and was looking into going into real estate development at that time. A deal was hammered out in 2008 that while BSP will still own the land, Alphaland will develop the property in which the BSP would get 15%.

Then Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado who back then also served as senior vice president of BSP (boy, they sure keep those BSP positions around Makati) said he initially opposed that deal as he wanted 20% for the BSP. But he was persuaded by Binay’s alleged “bagman” Gerry Limlingan to accept it as the deal actually gives the BSP 20% but the 5% would be for Binay to finance his 2010 campaign.

The camp of Binay and the Boy Scouts of the Philippines have maintained the deal was above board and deny the allegations of Mercado. Alphaland has alleged that it was Mercado who wanted the kickbacks. I guess we have to see how this issue will pan out as to who is telling the truth here. But so far, construction of the 3-tower Alphaland Makati Place remains in full swing.

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For the meantime, checking out the data available on Makati Place reveals some interesting information about this

Alphaland has been touting Makati Place as a green building as it provides water and electrical efficiency and its parking facilities are located underground to reduce “heat island effect.” It is also being touted as future-ready as it will have a built in data network system, fiber technology, IP connectivity that lets you access housekeeping service, utility bills, even control of your home devices as well.

The towers are connected to the 6-storey podium which houses a mini mall and the City Club, which is an exclusive leisure, business, and entertainment venue for residents and even non-residents. (though they would have to pay membership fees)

pool at the City Club (courtesy of Alphaland)

The mini-mall has not yet been fully opened though there are some establishments have now opened there.

It has been reported that the turnover date for this project, at least for one of the towers, would be later this year.

 

Acknowledgements as well to Rappler, Alphaland Makati Place, and GMA News.

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