By NITZ ARANCON
MAYOR Oscar Moreno over the weekend hailed the plan of the Jesuits-owned Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan to sell some 67 percent of its main campus in downtown Cagayan de Oro as part of its efforts to build a “campus of the future” within its 63-hectare Manresa property.
“That will redefine Cagayan de Oro,” said Moreno of the proposed projects of Xavier University and Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI).
Xavier and the Cebu-based developer announced last week that negotiations are ongoing for the sale of some four hectares of the institution’s main campus and 14 of its 63-hectare Manresa property in uptown Cagayan de Oro.
If the deal pushes through, Xavier would retain some two hectares of its downtown property while the rest would be developed into a commercial area. Uptown, Xavier plans to build its “campus of the future” within a new commercial and lifestyle district being referred to this early by campus insiders as “Xavier City” or something similar to Taguig’s Bonifacio Global City.
At the most, the four hectares of Xavier’s downtown property alone could generate a whopping P3 billion for the Jesuit institution, two real estate appraisers and brokers told the Gold Star Daily.
They said every square meter of the present Xavier campus could command a price of P50 thousand to as much as P75 thousand.
“The first time I learned about it, I was very, very excited,” said Moreno, adding that he really appreciated the plan first brought to his attention by Xavier president Fr. Roberto Yap.
Moreno said city hall would help Xavier in its plans, explaining that if the project pushes through, it would greatly boost the city’s development.
The Xavier plan, he said, also poses as a big challenge to the local government as it moves to develop uptown Cagayan de Oro.
According to Moreno, the planned Manresa project would mean the opening of at least three new roads down to the lower Balulang area and elsewhere because Masterson Avenue would no longer be able to cope with the growing vehicular traffic.
Councilor George Goking, chairman of the city council’s trade and commerce committee, said Xavier’s plan could dramatically increase the city’s income and generate more jobs.
But Goking said he was worried over how the plan to turn four hectares of Xavier’s present campus into a new commercial area in downtown Cagayan de Oro, would impact on the vehicular traffic flow.
“Kon kinsa man ang mag-develop anang maong lugar, kinahanglan nga mag-construct gyud sila sa high-rise building for parking,” he said.
Goking said his committee and other local officials would help Xavier officials.
“Kon unsay atong mahimo, motabang ta kay kaayohan man kana sa atong syudad,” Goking said.