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XU eyes sale of 67% of 6-hectare campus

THE Jesuit-owned Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan is bent on selling four of its six-hectare property in downtown Cagayan de Oro as part of a plan to build a “campus of the future” within its Manresaproperty.

Cebu Landmasters Inc., Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Jose Soberano III during the firms grand launching at Luxe Hotel this city yesterday.

The four hectares or about 67 percent of the present campus which Xavier plans to sell are part of some 18 hectares the Jesuits intend to divest in downtown and uptown Cagayan de Oro.

Negotiations are ongoing between Xavier and Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) for the project development. The latter is a Property Guru Philippines Property “best developer” awardee.

In a statement, Xavier said its proposal is to sell around four hectares of its property in downtown Cagayan de Oro and some 14 of its 63-hectare Manresa property.

If the plans don’t miscarry, Xavier would keep two hectares of its present main campus, including the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The university wants to redesign part of the present campus that would still house its Dr. Jose P Rizal School of Medicine, College of Law and most of its graduate programs.

Uptown, the plan is to turn 21 of Xavier’s 63-hectare Manresa property into a much bigger campus that would be named in honor of the late Jesuit priest William Masterson who foresaw the potentials of the property in the 1960s.

Reads part of a statement released by XU: “To finance the construction of the new campus, XU is proposing to sell around 14 of the 63-hectare Manresa property to CLI.

The said developer plans to turn it into a township project which will integrate complementary commercial, residential, office, and leisure uses to the campus town.

XU is also proposing to sell around 4 of its 6-hectare property in Divisoria. CLI plans to convert this portion of the Divisoria campus into downtown CDO’s Central Business District, with XU’s Church of the Immaculate Conception at its heart.”

CLI confirmed that it has proposed to acquire a 14.3 hectares of the Manresa property to integrate complementary commercial, residential, office, and leisure uses to the campus town. The firm also confirmed that it plans to acquire part of Xavier’s main campus.  

Jose Soberano III, CLI president and chief executive officer, said the planned “campus of the future” can potentially cater to up to 25 thousand students, a far cry from the 11 thousand students the present campus accommodated before the implementation of the K12 program. 

CLI said it received a notice of interest from the university to develop its 63.5-hectare Manresa property.  

According to the developer, the project would change the landscape of uptown and downtown Cagayan de Oro. 

“Our proposed masterplan is inspired not only by the best campuses here and abroad, but also inspired by our deep roots in the Ateneo. We are highly committed to meet their expectations,” said Soberano.

Soberano said, “This possible venture with Xavier University will potentially be our second estate project in Mindanao after our Davao Global Township. It is in line with our thrust to expand our mastery to key VisMin cities by going up the real estate value chain and uplifting entire communities and neighborhoods through our estate projects.”

The firm has three other projects in Cagayan de Oro — the three-tower MesaVerte Residences, and the Casa Mira Towers CDO condominium and Velmiro Uptown CDO modern community.

According to CLI, it has set aside P13 billion for capital spending this year as it continues to roll out more projects in Mindanao and the Visayas.

In a statement, the XU Communications Office said the planned campus in uptown Cagayan de Oro would retain a 25-hectare forest reserve in Manresa, and would be near the university’s two-hectare basic education campus at Pueblo de Oro. It said that for greater efficiency and modernization, the campuses would be integrated.

The masterplan for the new campus includes well-designed school buildings and administration facilities that would cater to several academic and technical-vocational courses such as agriculture, arts and sciences, business and management, computer studies, education, engineering, and nursing.

The XU Communications Office said main masterplan elements include “an abundance of open spaces and greeneries – a main plaza, interconnected courtyards, sports facilities, an amphitheater, and a University Forum which will incorporate a museum, theatre, and a gallery.”

It added: “The state-of-the-art Manresa campus will provide innovative spaces for learning, pioneering research, artistic expression, whole-person formation, and experiencing excellence.”

The College of Agriculture facilities like demonstration farms, workshops, field laboratories presently located in Manresa would be transferred to XU’s 104-hectare El Gaucho property in Bugo. 

Xavier however said the ambitious project would still need the approval of the central leadership of the Society of Jesus in Rome.

It said the process of seeking approval includes stakeholder consultations with parents, students, faculty and staff, alumni, and the city’s civic and government leaders.

“The objectives of the consultations are to present the proposed project, raise concerns, address issues, and generate possible solutions. The consultations will ensure a forward-looking and comprehensive masterplan,” reads part of the XU statement.

If approved, Xavier said the project would take some eight to 10 years to complete.

It continued: “For the past decade, XU has been considering moving most of its operations out from its 6-hectare main campus in downtown CDO to provide a better learning environment for its college students. The current campus in Divisoria has been found to be too congested; too noisy from outside traffic and from activities in the covered courts and football field; and at risk of flooding.”

According to Xavier, its board of trustees considered several real-estate players, and then chose CLI to help in developing its planned “campus of the future” and township.


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