How Ayala is turning a race track into an entertainment hub

by Cathy Rose A. Garcia,

Posted at Jan 11 2013 05:42 PM | Updated as of Jan 12 2013 03:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Leading property developer Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) is transforming the former Sta. Ana racetrack into an urban entertainment hub called Circuit Makati.

The company is investing P20 billion in the next five years to develop the 21-hectare property into a major destination for lifestyle and entertainment in the metropolis.

The project will include a performing arts venue, high-rise residential projects, malls, offices, a hotel, a football field, skating park and event grounds.

How Ayala is turning a race track into an entertainment hub 1
A view of Circuit Makati in this photo illustration from Ayala Land Inc.

Circuit Makati's name pays tribute to the Sta. Ana race track, known as a "racing circuit."

In a press conference on Friday, Ayala Land president Antonino Aquino said the area has always been the center of entertainment, but the project will focus more on "family entertainment."

Aquino said the Circuit project will help "complete" the offerings of Makati City, the financial capital of the country.

"This is intended to complete the Makati offerings because in Makati, you have a full set already on the business district side. You also have the cosmopolitan part, where the retail - Ayala Center - is located and we also have other developments catering to offices, BPOs... (Circuit) is really going to be an integral part to complete Makati," he said.

Ayala Land took inspiration from various places around the world when it was conceptualizing Circuit.

Meean Dy, head of ALI's strategic landbank management group, said they were inspired by the lights of Ginza in Japan, fashion week and Broadway shows in New York and Millennium Park in Chicago.

Circuit is hoping to give Filipinos world-class entertainment venues, namely the Circuit Theater, a 1,500 seater performing arts venue; Circuit Lane, an interactive walk; and the Events Grounds, a 2-hectare open air area with a 20,000 capacity.

The Circuit Lane is described as similar to Bonifacio High Street with retail and dining establishments but with a heavier focus on entertainment. It will include a "black box," a venue for small art exhibitions, workshops and comedy shows.

There are also areas for outdoor sports and activities, such as urban karting, skating and football.

But Aquino said its new urban entertainment hub will not compete with Pagcor's Entertainment City project.

"That's a Pagcor project so there will be more of the casinos. Our focus is on family entertainment," Aquino said. He added Ayala is not likely to venture into gaming due to "various risks" involved.

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The Circuit Makati's Events Grounds

Malls, residences

Circuit's first residential project will be launched next month by ALI unit Alveo Land.

Alveo president Robert Lao said the first tower will have 40-storeys with around 400 to 450 units. The company is targeting to launch one tower almost every year.

"So in the 10-year pipeline we're looking at having 8 to 10 towers, (at a cost of) P2.5 billion for each tower," Lao said during the briefing.

Ayala Land is also planning to open a Seda Hotel in Circuit Makati by 2016. Seda is an Ayala-brand hotel, which was recently opened in Bonifacio Global City and Cagayan de Oro.

Circuit will also have malls and office spaces. The mall will have 45,000 sqm of gross leasable area, while there will be office space with around 30,000 sqm of gross leasable area, mostly catering to business process outsourcing companies.

Retailers at Circuit will be encouraged to add an interactive element to their shops. Aside from the usual local and global brands, the mall will also be bringing in fresh concepts in fashion and dining.

Ayala is also putting up a "warehouse" retail area, which will feature popup stores, food trucks and shops of start-up entrepreneurs.

Ayala Land senior vice president Bobby Dy said most of the projects will be started within the next two years, and will be completed by 2016.

Circuit Makati, which will be formally launched next week, is located just about a kilometer from the end of Ayala Avenue.

Aquino said there are plans to integrate Circuit Makati into its bus rapid transit system in Makati.

The company is also working with the local government in improving road access and traffic management in the area.

The Circuit Makati project is a joint venture between ALI and the Philippine Racing Club, which moved the Sta. Ana racetrack to Cavite.