Ayala to spend P65B to develop QC business district

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jul 05 2012 01:43 PM | Updated as of Jul 06 2012 05:14 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Quezon City will soon have its own Makati-style central business district. Leading property developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is investing P65 billion to develop Vertis North - a premier business district in the North Triangle property located next to the Trinoma Mall.

ALI president Antonino Aquino described the P65-billion project as the "biggest and most modern development" catering to the northern part of Metro Manila. The project broke ground on Tuesday morning.

The 29-hectare Vertis North will have 45 towers, composed of offices, retail space, a hotel, residential buildings and open spaces, which will be developed over a 10-year period.

In a press conference on Thursday, Aquino said the company is initially investing P12 billion for the three-year development of Phase 1 of Vertis North. Phase 1 will include a Kukun Hotel; office buildings, particularly for business process outsourcing companies; and Bonifacio High Street-type retail areas in a 7-hectare area.

"What Vertis North will look like will be no different from what ALI has developed in the past, like Makati - a large-scale mixed use development that is now the country's central business district... We feel QC being the largest city, in area and population, deserves to have its own CBD. This location is the best for a CBD in QC," he said.

The Vertis North area, which is located between EDSA, North Avenue and Mindanao Avenue, is roughly half of the Makati central business district. Like in Makati, Aquino said it will have a mix of developments, such as residential developments similar to Legaspi and Salcedo Villages in Makati; and open spaces such as Ayala Triangle and Greenbelt Park.

ALI is also making sure Vertis North will be an environmentally sustainable development by adopting storm water management technology. "In Vertis North, as in all other ALI developments, we make sure that we do not contribute to the problem further by actively reducing the occurrence of flooding," he said.

The project will also have a system of underground car parks and roadways, mirroring the roads above ground. Aquino said this will multiply the amount of road space in the area.

ALI eventually wants to build an Intermodal Transport Hub, which will give commuters easy access to MRT 3, buses along EDSA and the upcoming MRT 7 project. However, Aquino said the plan will still have to be discussed with various government entities.

Joint venture with NHA

Vertis North is a joint venture project between ALI and the National Housing Authority (NHA), with a 72-28 split of ownership. "This is a PPP (public private partnership). The land we're talking about in North Triangle was owned by the NHA," Aquino said.

NHA general manager Chito Cruz said the agency's initial contribution to the project is the P6-billion North Triangle property. "With the joint venture, we will be able to turn idle land into productive use. Our initial contribution is P6 billion and estimated revenue is another P6 billion, so we are doubling our investment with the project," he said.

Since the North Triangle property was idle government land, thousands of informal settlers had filled the area. However, the QC government has managed to clear the area for the first phase of the Vertis North project, but there are still remaining informal settlers in the area.

Of the 10,000 families who were living in the area, some 6,500 have already been relocated to housing projects in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan and Rodriguez, Rizal.

The NHA hopes to clear the area of informal settlers by September.

"There is a need for constant dialogue, negotiations and to sit down with the families. We are hopeful that we can take them out so we can proceed with the project by September," Cruz said.

The Vertis North project is expected to create 200,000 jobs during its entire development stage, of which 35,000 will be generated during Phase 1.