By Mark Aragona for Yahoo Southeast Asia | Yahoo Southeast Asia Newsroom – Thu, Sep 18, 2014
Things are definitely getting hotter down south.
A brand new central business district is rising in the 74-hectare area of the former FTI. Top real estate developer Ayala Land Inc. is investing P80-billion into ARCA South, which is located beside SLEX and C-5, just 4.7 kilometers from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. In conjunction with the government’s public private partnership (PPP) projects that will link up the estate to the rest of the metropolis, the project will be a highly-connected master-planned business and residential district designed to be the “gateway to the south.”
In an interview with Manila Bulletin, Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano disclosed that Ayala “plans to do a mix-development with office buildings for Process Outsource companies and commercial and residential establishments.” She also expressed her gratitude to her city’s private partners for converting the rows of dilapidated warehouses into a modern commercial and business district.
As per estimates, ARCA South will provide office space for 400,000 workers. ALI aims to open two BPO towers by 2017, with three more to come by 2019.
In terms of housing and commercial space, ARCA South will not only have the three ALI brands Ayala Land Premiere, Alveo, and Avida, but will also house nine office buildings, the Lifestyle Mall, a 200-room Seda hotel, an integrated basement parking network, and several commercial and entertainment centers.
ALI has also partnered with the Mercado group to create a 250-bed QualiMed Quaternary Hospital to serve as the central medical destination for people located in the south. Also in place will be a round-the-clock operations center to manage traffic on its roads, as well as a real-time alert and emergency response system.
ALI Vice President and Strategic Landbank Management Group head Meean Dy explains that, “what we will be doing in ARCA South is no different from what we did in Makati or in BGC. We sold some lots to parties who eventually will help prime the development. But we took the responsibility in putting in the elements required for a city-residential, retail, office, hotel, and a hospital. The only difference in ARCA South is that we are doing it all at the same time instead of one by one.”
Easing traffic through inter-connectivity
ALI Project Development Manager Stephen Comia relates that the project “will be a well-connected mixed-use development, capitalizing on the planned government infrastructure projects improving accessibility to and from the CBD.”
The first of these PPP projects is the Southeast International Transportation System (ITS) to be built on a 5.5-hectare parcel beside ARCA South.
According to a source in the DOTC, the ITS is designed to “make travel more efficient and convenient for passengers, as well as decongest traffic in the main thoroughfares of Metro Manila since provincial bus terminals within the metropolis will no longer be allowed to operate.” By accommodating around 4,000 buses, the Southeast ITS will connect ARCA South to 200,000 daily commuters coming from southern locations such as Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, and Bicol.
The second important PPP project is the Skyway/C5-C6 connector road. By linking the Southeast ITS, C5 highway, and ARCA South through separated access ramps, it will provide access to the Skyway and allow motorists to enter Makati on the next exit within 5-10 minutes.
Roads reserved for pedestrians, open spaces
ALI VP and chief architect Joel Luna explains that connection is vital to the estate, because in order to thrive ARCA South will necessarily interact with other cities and commercial locations.
To that end, “about 40% of the entire development will be dedicated to roads and open spaces,” with office and hotel spaces to be built above the retail establishments… The roads above ground will be reserved mainly for pedestrians; vehicles will be directed to use the underground integrated parking. The first housing community to be rolled out, Ayala Land Premier’s Arbor Lanes, is designed to be 60% landscape and open spaces surrounding five blocks of 13-15 storey condominiums.
The development also plans to have something appealing for everyone. Dy adds that, “we will have multiple retail formats – from a transit-oriented mall to serve the commuters of the ITS; to a regional mall which offers a complete retail experience; to a lifestyle mall offering a wide array of upscale fashion stores; and specialty retail and select dining establishments.”