QC, Bay City as new business districts

Philippine Daily Inquirer by Marlet Salazar11-28-2014

KMC MAG Group, a real estate services firm based in the Philippines, sees Quezon City and Bay City area as the next business districts with developers exploring their potential.

Yves Luethi, vice president of KMC MAG Group, noted the "positive movements happening in both locations." The largest city in Metro Manila has shown a lot of potential, given the size, presence of government and educational institutions, major (broadcasting) networks, and road and railway network.

"Ayala (Land Inc.) is leading the pack with the development of Vertis North," he said. "Then there's Ayala­UP Technohub and the upcoming Ayala­UP Town Center."

"In terms of average rental rate," Luethi said, "it's already (slightly) higher than for example in Ortigas or Makati."

Developments at Bay City, the reclaimed area near Roxas Boulevard, have been ongoing since the building of Mall of Asia. At present, the area is home to different business parks like Aseana Holdings Inc. (by Aseana City), Future City (by SM), and Metropolitan Park (by Metrobank). The area is seen not only as a business district but also as an entertainment city. The developments are geared toward the market of hotel and recreation.

These developments in the two areas are hoped to help decongest Metro Manila, especially critical business districts Makati City and Ortigas. The group also took notice of efforts to decongest Metro Manila with the development of special economic zones in nearby provinces such as Cavite, Batangas, and Laguna.

"A lot of developers are booking at alternative areas and this will help in decongesting Metro Manila eventually," he added.

Spatial planning is a method used by the public sector to manage space and development to prevent decongestion. It can be applied in land use, urban, regional, transport and environmental planning.

The group said that "the new business districts will need to move away from building because the demand is there or because the workforce is there and instead move toward managing the diverse spatial needs of various stakeholders."

The transportation problem in the Metro Manila has also affected the industry both good and bad. Good that the workforce who have purchased houses in nearby provinces opted to rent in the city to avoid traffic. Bad in the sense that infrastructure is always a critical factor in any industry.

Like other suggestions in the past, the group sees that "setting up" other urban areas in locations outside Metro Manila may contribute to the decongestion. This is where spatial planning comes in. Spreading out offices and government agencies also spreads out the number of people.

The group also said that the government needs to focus in building the necessary infrastructure. It quoted the World Economic Forum 2014­2015 Global Competitiveness Report where the Philippines ranked low in terms of transport infrastructure: seaport is at 101st and airport is at 108th.

The support infrastructure, the group noted, plays a vital role in the manufacturing and services sectors as these contributes 70 percent to the country's GDR. These industries need better roads to deliver goods and commodities.

While the group's outlook is positive, KMC MAG Group said that the country needs to move fast if it wants to catch up with neighboring countries.