Cebu City LGU eyes P10-B investments for Creative District

CEBU CITY -- The Cebu City local government unit (LGU) is eyeing to generate P10 billion worth of investments from potential foreign and local investors for the development of the city's planned 150-hectare Creative District project.

The Creative District project is proposed to be a vibrant multi-use area housing the city's arts and culture communities, catering to creative industry production like filmmaking, entertainment, cultural arts, design, architecture, and fashion.

"We're planning to invite investors to whatever scheme, a PPP (public-private partnership) or leasing our property, and hopefully they can sustain their investment as a result of doing some infrastructure in the Creative District. As of the moment, we just have the property," said Cebu City Vice Mayor Raymond Neri Garcia in a press conference in Cebu City on May 24.

He noted that most of the area for the district is owned by the Cebu City LGU, but the surrounding areas remain to be privately-owned.

"We are looking for a joint venture partner. There's a new PPP law, right? It's a very good law for joint ventures between the city government of Cebu and the private sector, so we're looking into that," Garcia added.

Cebu City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) Assistant Department Head Ann Marie Cuizon told reporters that their ballpark figure for investments is P10 billion, to be utilized for the construction of basic infrastructure like transport terminals in the district.

The LGU's visual mapping plan for the district, as presented to Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual in Cebu, include planned connectors for monorail and tram routes, passing art zones, commercial spaces, educational facilities, and parks.

"We integrated the district as part of our Comprehensive Land Use Plan which is 10 years, starting 2023 to 2033, as per our original proposal. By that time, it can already start," she said.

With its completion, the LGU said that the private sector segment of the local creative entertainment industry estimates roughly P30 billion in annual potential revenues to be generated through the project.

Although the district prioritizes businesses directly involved in the creative industry, the LGU also welcomes other businesses that can offer services in support of the sector, especially since it also hopes to make it viable for tourism.

No relocation of existing businesses in the area would be necessary, but Cuizon noted that they are presenting potential opportunities for these businesses to support the creative industry.

She added that they have already engaged two international organizations, which have connections with potential locators. To attract locators, Garcia said the LGU can offer tax breaks such as real property tax incentives for up to three to five years.