Boutique property developer Arthaland Corp. (ALCO) has gained a foothold in Arca South – the former FTI complex now being developed by Ayala Land into a new central business district – with the purchase of a 4,000-square meter landbank for P1.05 billion.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Tuesday, ALCO said it had incorporated Savya Land Development Corp. and subscribed to 499,995 common shares of this company at P100 per share. This subsidiary purchased from Ayala Land two parcels of land in Arca South located in Barangay West Bicutan, Taguig City for a total of P1.05 billion.

The new landbank is a little over 4,000 square meters in size, ALCO treasurer and executive vice president Leonardo Arthur Po said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “We haven’t gone into the details yet but we’re looking at commercial or mixed use project which will break ground by next year,” Po said.

This latest transaction suggests that land value in Arca South is now worth around P250,000 per square meter.

The land purchase in Arca South is part of ALCO’s P30-billion five-year expansion program that seeks to diversify its earnings stream and expand its geographical footprint.

The former FTI complex is now being transformed from a collection of old warehouses into a mixed-use commercial development. Some lots in the 74-hectare complex are offered for sale by Ayala Land to property investors and developers.

For its part, after a successful residential high-rise project Arya Residences, ALCO is set to complete this year an upscale office project beside Shangri-la at the Fort. This will have a gross leasable area of 29,000 square meters, creating a new recurring revenue income stream for the company.

Recently, ALCO also signed a $166-million engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) deal with a unit of Chinese construction giant China Railway Group Ltd. (CREC) and Malaysian construction and property firm Knusford Berhad for a 38-storey office building in Cebu.

CREC unit China Railway Dongfang Group and Knusford will form a joint venture company in the Philippines to execute the EPC contract for office property Cebu Exchange, Arthaland disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday.

The collaboration among the three groups is seen to bring together strengths in design, building construction, project management and expertise in the Philippine property sector.

Arthaland’s Cebu Exchange will rise on an 8,440 square meter property. It is designed to accommodate information technology and business process management (IT-BPM) locators who are expanding their operations in the region. It is expected to be the first and only Grade-A office building in Cebu on target to achieve dual green building certification from the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program as well as from the Philippine Green Building Council’s Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence (BERDE) program.

China Railway Dongfang’s parent firm CREC is one of the largest construction conglomerates in the world. CREC was responsible for over 60 percent of the railway construction of China in addition to major projects in the construction of bridges, tunnels, airports, high-rise buildings and municipal facilities. While CREC is present in over 60 countries worldwide, the agreement signed with Arthaland is the first venture for CREC in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, ALCO announced the retirement of its president and CEO Angela Lacson effective Feb. 28. The current vice president, Jaime Gonzales, took over as president effective March 1.