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DOT sets bid for Roxas Blvd transformation

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 27, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government will bid out next month the Roxas Boulevard Park Redevelopment Project intended to transform parts of the area into a commercial strip, a top Department of Tourism (DOT) official said.

“The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will hold the bidding process by September,” Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr. said.

He said the DPWH and the DOT are also in the process of finalizing the project cost.

“Full budget is not yet finalized. We have yet to bid it out in September,” he said, noting the DPWH would release the cost of the project.

Last week, the two agencies unveiled plans to redevelop Roxas Blvd. into a park complex by 2015.

Based on the plan, the government wants to increase accessibility of Roxas Blvd. to pedestrians and bikers, as well as widen the “green” space in the area.
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“The Roxas Blvd. Park Redevelopment project is a convergence between National Government agencies, local government units and the private sector. This is not just a beautification project,” Jimenez said.

The program, he said, would re-establish the importance of Manila as a capital city and enhance the value of property all over the district that it crosses.

“This is a business plan aimed at restoring and enhancing Manila as a viable capital for tourism and business,” Jimenez added.

 The redevelopment would involve the improvement of the 7.6-kilometer Roxas Blvd. that stretches from Ermita in Manila to Parañaque City.

Specifically, the park project that spans almost eight kilometers and the three cities of Manila, Pasay and Parañaque will begin with cleaning debris from previous redevelopments, hardscape and softscape improvements, soil replacement, and planting of endemic greeneries.

The project will also involve paving pedestrian walkways and bike lanes, transforming a segment of the road into a commercial strip to spur economic activity in one of the most important and historic thoroughfaresin the country.

 Paulo Alcazaren, lead architect of PGAA Creative Design who serves as government’s consultant for the project, highlighted some economic and tourism benefits of revitalizing Roxas Blvd.

These include an increase in property values along the improved Roxas Blvd. Park by five to 10 percent in two to five years,  and about 10 to 15 percent after three years; improved traffic and circulation in surrounding districts; more customers and tourists to the districts’ commercial establishments; and a new face of Metro Manila as the capital of the Philippines.

Alcazaren also cited Alicante Esplanade in Spain, Champs Élysées in France, Orchard Road in Singapore and Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. as some of the best practices and inspiration for streetscape improvement.

Alcazaren’s group was responsible for the increased pedestrian walkability along Ayala Ave. in Makati’s central business district, Iloilo River Esplanade in Iloilo City, and other numerous park projects in Southeast Asia including Singapore and Malaysia.

The creation of a shopping street in the Roxas Blvd. Park aims to broaden the revenue impact of the place, as well as increase the value of property in the area.

“We envision the current Roxas Blvd. Park service roads to be a commercial or shopping road. We want to convert the service roads as an events place and strip of night cafes. We are also thinking of creating something like that in Makati-Ayala CBD where owners of commercial establishments themselves have put together an organization just to help in the preparation and enforcement of rules because they are the ones affected,” DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said.

Jimenez and Singson both appealed to stakeholders in the private sector to support the project to maximize the business impact along the boulevard.

There will also be a series of meetings and consultations with local government units concerned to hammer down solutions to possible common problems in the area such as security, billboards, illegal and ambulant vendors.

“The most successful tourist destinations in the country are the ones with highly participatory and collaborative local government and private sector,” Jimenez said.
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