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Global City developer to spend P2B for promenade extension

Posted on 09:24 PM, March 24, 2010 [ BusinessWorld Online ]

THE DEVELOPER of Bonifacio Global City is planning to expand the retail, restaurant, and office strip at the center of the booming business district in Taguig, amid the increasing number of residents, workers, and companies in the area.

Extending the Bonifacio High Street, a one-kilometer-long promenade at the City Center, will cost P2 billion, said Noel Eli B. Kintanar, head of commercial operations at Fort Bonifacio Development Corp.

The expansion project calls for a two- to four-storey building with a gross leasable area of 23,500 square meters (sq. m.), more than 80% of which would be for retail. A fifth will be devoted to office spaces.

“We plan to open it in time for Christmas of 2011,” Mr. Kintanar said in a briefing yesterday.

The preliminary design features a landscaped park surrounded by “global fashion” boutiques, food outlets and specialty retail shops, a department store, and a gourmet supermarket.

Next year will also see the opening of a P1-billion science museum of the Bonifacio Art Foundation, which expects to draw some 250,000 visitors annually.

Fort Bonifacio Development has also begun selling lots at the 18,000-sq.-m. City Center North, the newest area being developed at the Global City, near the newly opened St. Luke’s Medical Center.

The mixed-use development has 14 lots for sale with sizes ranging from 1,790-2,070 sq. m., a planned sportsplex, a skatepark, and an open field for recreation and sports activities.

The developer is also constructing the 29-storey Bonifacio E-Services building, which is entitled to tax perks and other incentives from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority.

Designed for information technology and business process outsourcing firms, it can handle 24-hour operations, with 100% back-up power and structured cabling backbone for multiple data and telecommunications service providers.

The building will cost a little less than P1 billion, said Lourdes R. Reyes, chief finance officer of Fort Bonifacio Development.

The Global City counts 18 residential developments such as One and Two Serendra and One Mckinley Place, with seven more being constructed.

Multinational companies such as Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Ericsson, and GE Money have put up headquarters there. A new Shangri-La hotel is being planned in an area where the new Philippine Stock Exchange headquarters is expected to rise.

Fort Bonifacio Development expects the Global City’s gross floor area to hit 2.6 million sq. m. by 2012, from only 400,000 sq. m. in 2003, when Ayala Land, Inc. and Evergreen Holdings, Inc. of the Campos group took over the development from Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

Last year, the number of residential units went up to 9,526 from 7,600 in 2008, while residents grew to 25,178 from 20,000.

Global City has an office floor area of 290,000 sq. m., hosting 38,469 workers, up from 30,000 in 2008.

Pedestrian counts have increased as well, with daily traffic placed at 211,000 at the Market! Market! mall alone, up from 100,000 in 2008.

As a result, the developer hiked the number of public buses serving as the Global City’s mass transport system to 24 last year from 16.

Mr. Kintanar noted that land values have increased by 76% since the Ayala Land-Evergreen Holdings takeover, based on “accommodation values,” which now range at P14,000-P16,000 per sq. m. of gross floor area.

Ayala Land and Evergreen Holdings came up with a new grid-based master plan for the 240-hectare Global City following the acquisition, to make it “pedestrian friendly” and to avoid traffic gridlock.

The old plan, which featured a rotunda at the center, was revised to create a 3x3 grid system that will provide “efficient traffic and easily understandable circulation and access to individual properties and to public parking from all points of entry.”

Mr. Kintanar said a new bridge would be built this year to provide a second exit point to the northbound section of C-5 Road, at the upper east gate.

Bonifacio Global City is aiming to be the country’s “premiere business district,” he said, by achieving the scale of Makati’s 50-year development in just fifteen years. Makati -- which was developed by the Ayala conglomerate -- and the Global City should complement each other, but like siblings, “there will be some rivalry,” Mr. Kintanar said. -- Felipe F. Salvosa II


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