Monday, 21 December 2009

Property developers eyeing land beside SLEx extension

Emilia Narni J. David

A PROJECT to extend the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx) all the way to Quezon province is already gaining interest from a number of property developers, the head of the joint venture undertaking the tollway project said last week.

South Luzon Tollways Corp. (SLTC) President Isaac D. David said in an interview that real estate companies have already expressed interest in developing land beside the planned extension of the SLEx to Lucena.

"We have already heard from developers like Ayala, Eton, Globe Asiatique, Carmelray, Nuvali, and Crowne Asia that the extension would be something that is interesting to them," said Mr. David.

He added that some 7,000 hectares are being developed in anticipation of the tollway extension.

SLTC was contracted three years ago to extend the expressway from Calamba in Laguna to Lucena in Quezon, along with the ongoing tollway upgrade and expansion.

Mr. David said developers are already anticipating the vehicular traffic that would come with the extension.

The expressway extension has not yet begun because the SLTC is focusing on completing the first phase of the project, which is to expand the SLEx to eight lanes from five lanes from Sta. Rosa to Calamba, and to add new toll plazas on the whole stretch from Alabang to Calamba, Mr. David explained. A connection to the Star Tollway going to Batangas is also being built.

"We are right now doing engineering due diligence. The extension is being studied and designed but it still depends on the right of way [acquisition]," said Mr. David.

He added that the extension could be done in "three to four years’ time."

The company is in discussions with the operator of the SLEx, the Philippine National Construction Corp., a minor shareholder, regarding the operation of the expressway. Both companies have agreed not to make any moves regarding the transfer of operations in the expressway until today.

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