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Reclamation project to give Manila much-needed facelift

By Ray Eñano | Posted on Mar. 14, 2013 at 12:01am |
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Manila residents deserve something better than its current filthy state. The Philippine capital city has long lost its grandeur, with more businessmen and tourists flocking to Makati, Taguig City, Quezon City and Parañaque City.
Manila experienced a mini boom in the mid-70’s when the city hosted the joint World Bank-International Monetary Fund annual meeting in 1976. The martial law government of the late Ferdinand Marcos supported the construction of the Philippine International Convention Center and several five-star hotels to accommodate thousands of delegates and media attending and covering the international event.
Manila’s development as a modern urban center, however, stopped as businessmen, tourists and workers gravitated toward Makati, which shortly established itself as the country’s financial center.
The business process outsourcing phenomenon also skipped Manila, with companies preferring to operate in Makati, Quezon City, Mandaluyong and even in major cities in the provinces such as Cebu and Davao City.
Manila essentially is losing out to other cities in Metro Manila because of the limited land available for property development. Manila Goldcoast Development Corp., owned by the family of chairman and chief executive William Tieng, has offered to solve Manila’s limited land area.
Tieng, who also owns Solar Entertainment Corp., plans to increase Manila’s land area by reclaiming 148 hectares of part of Manila Bay, or at the back of the Philippine Navy and Manila Yacht Club and 600 meters toward the open sea.
Singapore model
The proponents of “The Manila Solar City” hopes to duplicate the success of Singapore and Hong Kong in reclaiming lands  and making them usable, on which more buildings and infrastructures could be built. The Marina Bay, Singapore Flyer and several financial centers now stand on Singapore’s reclaimed lands, luring more tourists and businessmen. Japan’s Kansai International Airport and Tokyo Bay area also sit on reclaimed lands.
“The surrounding areas of the project, such as Ermita and Malate, will also benefit from the Solar City project in terms of increased value of their properties and increased business resulting from the influx of tourists, residents and workers in the area,” Manila Goldcoast said in a paper.
“From the reclamation of 148 hectares, the new land assets value that will be generated is estimated to be P148 billion at current market value. And assuming that the buildings to be constructed will average 20 storeys, the total floor area that can be constructed will require an investment of around P680 billion. The project will therefore contribute over P800 billion in value to the national /city of Manila assets,” it said.
The proponent also plans to build a port at the southwestern portion of the project that can serve incoming and outgoing cruise ships.
“Cruise ships do not frequent the Philippines because of the lack of ports especially suited for them. MGDC, however, plans on building a port especially for these cruise ships, which would not only improve the view of Manila Bay through the grandeur of these ships, but also add more public options for leisure activities [by] providing access to them,” the company said.
Effective breakwater
Manila Goldcoast hit back at critics, who feared the reclamation would cause flooding to communities near the project. The reclamation will actually serve as breakwaters that will protect harbors and marinas from wave actions.
“Due to its outlying design, the areas below the project would be protected from water rushing from the north due to winds heading south, and vice versa,” the company said.
“Also the project may diffuse or at least bisect waves from the West Philippine Sea, effectively decreasing wave strength and velocity before it even hits the low-lying areas along Roxas Boulevard. In other words, the project also has functional practical effects, through protecting the coast along Manila Bay in the unfortunate incident that a storm surge recurs.”

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