MIGUEL R. CAMUS
It has been a long wait but Quezon City will soon get its own Central Business District (CBD) akin to those in Makati City and Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City as a 2009 agreement between property giant Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and state-led National Housing Authority (NHA) covering 29 hectares is set to be implemented this year.
ALI said in a press briefing on Thursday that it plans to start by September the construction of the joint venture—Vertis North—where the builder, company president Antonino Aquino said, is investing a total of P65 billion over 10 years.
Through the NHA, the government is eyeing to gain P11 billion in housing investments through its agreement with ALI. Vertis North is expected to generate about 200,000 jobs, 35,000 of which will be filled up during development of Phase 1.
While positioned to become a new landmark development for ALI, the project also highlights progress in the NHA’s efforts to relocate thousands of informal settlers, whose violent displays of protests in 2010 were blamed for delaying the creation of the CBD.
Areas of the development in the city’s North Triangle area will be ready in three to four years, ALI said, referring to the first phase of Vertis North. ALI is spending P12 billion to finance this phase, which covers the construction of 220,000 square meters of gross floor area for office, retail and hotel developments.
“Quezon City is fast becoming a center of gravity for economic developments as it works to be at par with international business standards,” Aquino said. The city was once the country’s capital until the honor went back to Manila.
ALI’s president said Vertis North will retain a separate and unique identity from Makati City and Bonifacio Global City, both also developed by ALI, and home to some of the largest local and multinational corporations.
“Quezon City has got the largest [land area]. It has the largest number of government offices. That is a differentiation that is going to be unique to Quezon City. It means there will be other types of businesses that will be attracted to Vertis North,” Aquino added.
Vertis North will rise beside the TriNoma shopping center, ALI’s initial foray into the Quezon City commercial segment. It will be located near developments by rival companies such as the country’s biggest shopping mall, SM City North Edsa, owned by the family of billionaire Henry Sy, and the Eton Centris mixed-use complex of taipan Lucio Tan.
The area is also serviced by various transport infrastructure projects through Edsa, Metro Manila’s main highway, and Metro Rail Transit 3 elevated railway.
During Thursday’s briefing, NHA General Manager Chito Cruz said his department is continuing its relocation program with 6,500 families out of 10,000 families having been transferred so far to areas in Rizal and Bulacan provinces. The remainder should be relocated by September, he added.