$30M Subic Bay golf course to rise

A Japanese company will infuse $30 million to develop the Subic Bay golf course into a world-class venue for tournaments.

Smart Community Co., Ltd will also establish a facility that will offer housing complexes and fulfilling lifestyle choices for retirees.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia said the Subic agency had awarded the golf course development project to a firm headed by Japanese businessman Masafumi Miyamoto, founder of the Smart Community Co., Ltd., the first and largest continuing-care retirement community in Japan.

“This project is a game-changer for Subic,” Garcia said, noting that it will transform Subic’s existing fairways that had been left rotting in the past few years into a major year-round tourist attraction. He added visiting friends and relatives of those who would reside in the retirement village would likewise generate more economic activities in transportation, shopping malls, medical facilities, hotels, tourist attractions, banks, restaurants, and other businesses.

The project would cost a total of $30 million, excluding a fixed annual rental fee of $350,000 and a five-percent gross revenue share payable to the SBMA for the entire 50-year lease period.

Garcia said that in awarding the lease development contract to Miyamoto, the SBMA considered the overall concept of the project, the proponent’s financial capability, market availability, and business plan presented to agency officials in December last year.

“This s a two-pronged development project that considered the best potentials for what could be considered a major asset in the Subic Freeport,” Garcia said. Accordingly, the first component, at the cost of $3 million, would involve the renovation and re-development of the whole golf course within two years, from June 2016 to June 2018. This will cover clubhouse renovation, installation of sprinkler systems and repair of ponds, improvement of the golf course, and upgrade of machinery and equipment, golf carts, and service vehicles.

Garcia said the project proponent had promised that the golf course would remain operational throughout the renovation period through a rotational renovation plan that would keep a minimum of nine holes open at a given time. The second component is the $27-million development of all allowable open areas for the Subic Smart Community within a six-year period. This would consist of the construction and development of an initial 200 condominium units from 2016 to 2018. Next would be the completion of about 1,800 condominium units with various amenities like gym, sports center, arts and crafts studios, karaoke or music rooms, function rooms, library, and bars and restaurants, among others.

Garcia said that Miyamoto’s proposal was based on a market study that showed Japan’s aging society as becoming a financial burden to both the Japanese people and government. This situation had reportedly led to the emergence of elderly care businesses that had rapidly grown to a $252-billion industry just in 2015.

“Subic Bay has been chosen particularly because of its relatively constant weather patterns conducive for year-round golf play and because of its untapped areas that have great potential for a retirement complex,” Garcia noted.

Aside from starting the Smart Community in 2004, Miyamoto founded in 1986 the Square Enix Co., Ltd., which is engaged in publishing, distribution, and licensing of digital entertainment content worldwide, including the highly successful Tomb Raider Final Fantasy. Miyamoto also founded the Sunpia Golf Club, in Japan’s Tokushima City, which has a total of 100 hectares, with three helipads, 300 parking slots, and driveways lined with cherry blossom trees. –Mhike R. Cigaral

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