Gatchalian to Invest P2B for Palawan Hotel-resort Project

Businessman William Gatchalian is planning to invest an initial P2 billion over the next two years to develop Uson Island, Palawan, into a first class hotel- resort.

Gatchalian said the hotel chain, Waterfront Philippines, Inc., which he owns, will develop the 1,200-hectare Uson Island in Palawan into a first class hotel-beach resort with three separate hotels, a golf course and a convention center.

He said the first phase would involve the construction of three separate hotels, each with a capacity of 300 rooms and fronted by white sand beaches.

The masterplan for the development was made by RRPayumo and Partners.

Its total cost is estimated at over P5 billion. Construction of the first phase, Gatchalian said, is scheduled sometime near the end of this year.

Gatchalian added that he has been negotiating for the lease or acquisition of three to five more hotels that are currently closed or experiencing problems.

These include the Grand Boulevard Hotel, Admiral Hotel, Hyatt Hotel, Philippine Village and Puerto Azul.

Gatchalian said he acquired 78 percent ownership of Grand Boulevard Hotel last year by taking over the exposure of some creditor banks in the Panlilio-owned hotel.

However, the Panlilios have been seeking a rehabilitation and filed a case in court blocking the foreclosure of the hotel, Gatchalian said, adding that he won the case in the lower courts as well as in the Court of Appeals.

The case is now with the Supreme Court and Gatchalian expressed optimism that once a ruling is handed down by the High Court, he would be able to finally proceed with the P500-million renovation of Grand Boulevard Hotel.

Gatchalian said he has also been negotiating for several other hotel properties which are experiencing some labor or financial difficulties or have been foreclosed. He said acquiring existing hotels through assumption of their debts is a much quicker and cheaper way than building completely from scratch which takes three to four years.

Gatchalian said he has made an offer to lease Hyatt Hotel. Likewise, he has expressed interest in acquiring the Admiral Hotel which is adjacent to his boutique G Hotel. Gatchalian added that he had inquired about the Philippine Village Hotel which is near the airport.

Gatchalian expressed regret that so many hotel properties are closed especially at a time when tourism is picking up and there is a growing demand for hotel rooms.

Gatchalian said Waterfront has eight existing hotels. Gatchalian said he hopes to have up to 20 hotels under his chain.

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