8 January 2015, Manila Standard Today
Al Ahli Group signs deal to build clark hub
The Al Ahli Holding Group of the United Arab Emirates on Thursday teamed up with state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority to develop a tourism and entertainment hub in the proposed 9,500-hectare Clark Green City project.
The Dubai-based conglomerate said it expected to start ground works for the project within the next two to three months.
Al Ahli Holding Group chief executive Mohammed Khammas said the company was bringing with it “hundreds of millions of dollars” to develop projects in Clark and the Philippines.
“It’s going to be something of an economic driver, of significant investments and a long-term vision. Whatever we will be doing here is very long term and will have a huge economic impact creating local jobs in the thousands,” he told reporters during the launch of Little Manila, one of the first projects the group was pursuing in the Philippines.
The memorandum of agreement was signed after four months of discussions, which was the fastest the company encountered in securing partnership with foreign partners, Khammas said.
BCDA president Arnel Casanova said the Dubai-based company was also interested to set up another cluster of businesses in BCDA-owned properties in Metro Manila.
Casanova said at least four big foreign companies planned to take part in the development of the first phase of the 9,500-hectare Clark Green City project.
“There could be direct negotiations with foreign investors coming in. Some of the bigger players are publicly-listed, so we cannot disclose any information as of now. But any foreign investor should be cleared by the President himself. Our local partners can come in and participate depending on the nature of the projects,” he said.
BCDA expects to clinch its first deal for the Clark Green City in the first quarter. The BCDA said special incentives await investors who were willing to put in a “substantial” amount of investments in the project.
The agency will pursue the development by pockets. The first portion up for development is a 1,300-hectare piece of the property.