SM Prime Holdings Inc. aims to begin its about P4 billion development of the Manokan Country and adjacent properties, which it is leasing from the Bacolod City government, by mid-2024, Gusi Balatbat, its vice president for property development, said Tuesday, October 10.
Balatbat said SM will pay P132 million in advance rent covering seven years for the 16,875 square meters property when it signs a lease agreement with the Bacolod City government that is targeted to take place soon.
The property to be leased for development includes the Manokan Country, Vendors Plaza, Bacolod Arts, Youth and Sports Center and nearby areas at Fr. Ferrero Street.
Manokan Country tenants were assured during a Sangguniang Panlungsod public hearing jointly led by councilors Al Victor Espino and Celia Flor on Tuesday, that while the development of of their current site is underway they will be relocated to the SM parking lot across the street.
SM will build them a temporary structure where they can continue their business rent free for 18 months.
Flor urged the Manokan tenants to pay their arrears to the city government during the rent-free period to qualify to return to the new Manokan Country building when it is completed.
The relocation of the Manokan vendors to their temporary site is targeted at the end of March 2024
The target date for the completion and operation of the new Manokan Country is October 2025, Balatbat said.
The Manokan redevelopment will involve the construction of a multi-level building, which will include space for retail shops, parking levels and future commercial and office spaces, Balatbat said.
Space for other dining areas and a supermarket will also be provided, he said, adding that the design is still fluid.
They are also looking at potential BPO towers that could generate 10,000 employees, he said.
There are 25 slots that will be allocated for the Manokan tenants at the new building.
The Manokan Country tenants were told that the National University and BPO buildings being built by SM will provide a potential of about 10,000 customers that will greatly boost their incomes.
David Montoya, Manokan Country Vendors Association president, said the SM plan that was presented at the hearing was nice and they support the development.
It was stressed that vendors selling food other than chicken will not be allowed at the temporary relocation and the new Manokan sites, Montoya said.
It was pointed out that they should sell only chicken precisely because the facility is called Manokan Country, he said.
The SP Committee on Laws, Ordinances and Good Government and Committee on Transportation and Traffic chaired by Espino and Committee on Markets chaired by Flor will present their report on the hearing to the Sangguniang on Wednesday, October 11.
The SP will adopt the report and next week they will introduce a resolution giving the authority to the mayor to sign the lease agreement, Espino said.*