BAGUIO CITY – Despite having lost its long-term lease over the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone (JHSEZ) due to mutual breach on the original and revised lease agreements, the Camp John Hay Development Corporation (CJHDevCo) will focus its sights in building a new hotel and residential complex that will provide additional accommodation for high-end visitors coming to the city.
Robert John Sobrepeña, CJHDevCo chairperson, disclosed his team is simply awaiting that the State-owned Bases and Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) will pay them the P1.42 billion advance lease rentals that it paid to the government pursuant to the arbitral decision since the same would be used to build their proposed retail hotel and residential houses.
“We will move on from the John Hay experience and we will continue contributing to the city’s tourism industry,” Sobrepeña stressed.
He said the monetary award that the developer will get from the BCDA will be used for productive purposes, especially in contributing to the robust growth of the local tourism industry so that more foreign and domestic tourists will be enticed to frequently spend their well deserved break in the city.
According to him, CJHDevCo is eying putting up the retail hotel and residential complex within the property of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel along South Drive in order to ensure the adequacy of accommodation facilities that will cater to the growing demand of foreign and domextic visitors coming from all walks of life.
Earlier, the Makati-based Philippine Dispute Resolution Center, Inc. (PDRCI) declared the mutual restitution of the original and revised lease agreements over the 247-hectare John Hay Special Economic Zone following mutual breach among the developer and the BCDA, thus, BCDA was ordered to pay the developer the amount of P1.42 billion in advance lease rentals while CJHDevCo was ordered to return the leased property to the State in tenantable condition.
He said Baguio remains to be a good investment area, especially in terms of tourism related industries, that is why they want to continue doing business in the city through the put up of their own retail hotel and residential complex in order to continue making waves in the hotel and restaurant industry.
The CJHDevCo official underscored preparations for their future development plans in another property have already been put in place and ready for implementation of their project once they are able to receive the payment from the BCDA.
“We will continue to play our role in the continuous growth of the city as a premier tourist destination through our own simple contributions. We have been in the city for nearly 19 years and we know we are very much welcome to do business here,” Sobrepeña added.
He explained CJHDevCo is not the one delaying the implementation of the arbitral decision but it seems BCDA is compelling the developer to use the legal avenue in order to compel the State to directly give to them their monetary award and recognize the third parties that also invested their money in the former American military base before they will peacefully turnover the premises to the government.
He is optimistic that the existing impasses will end soon to allow everyone, especially Baguio City to move on and use John Hay as an engine of growth. By Dexter A. See