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Manila backs conversion of PPA property in Port Area into a financial district

By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio (The Philippine Star) Updated July 30, 2011 12:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The local government of Manila is appealing to the National Government to finally agree to the conversion of the multi-billion lot behind Manila Hotel into a financial center.

Speaking before businessmen during the 19th Metro Manila Business Conference at the Manila Hotel yesterday, Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim said they would like to build a financial center in Manila, similar to that in Makati.

Lim said he is eyeing the lot owned by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) that is why he is calling on the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to manage this land. He said that he has already proposed the project three times but no action has been taken yet.

Lim said the property is 20 hectares and is occupied by dilapidated warehouses. He estimated that the market value of the properties in Roxas Boulevard is between P80,000 to P100,000 per square meter.

“You can check anywhere in the world, the most expensive are waterfront properties,” the mayor said in Filipino. He said all the warehouses must be demolished and the only building left would be the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Lim described that the financial district will be sandwiched between Intramuros and Manila Bay. He said the property is fronting the walls of Intramuros and the back is the view of Manila Bay. He said this is a clear advantage of the proposed financial district because Intramuros has a golf course. Golf is the game of choice of most businessmen.

Aside from the businesses, Lim said condominiums may be built in the proposed financial district but he said the minimum number of floors is 30.

Lim said that before his term, there was little to no construction in Metro Manila because of an ordinance released in 2001 limiting buildings to 19 storys. Lim said businessmen were complaining that shorter buildings means that they will not be able to maximize profits.

Lim said he checked the National Building Code and there is no limit in the code. Lim said he repealed the ordinance and now there are two 57-story condominium projects under construction. One is in China town and the other is at the back of the Admiral Hotel. “This will change the skyline of the city.”

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