Business Booms at the Bay

USD 8 Billion Investment are in the Offing for the Metro's Reclamation Sites.

August 13, 2018

​Projects totaling an estimated USD 8 Billion are in the pipeline for reclaimed lands in Metro Manila's "Bay Area"- straddling the cities of Paranaque, Pasay and Manila.

This was unveiled by the Philippines' leading real estate professional services and investment management firm JLL.

Largest of the projects in the horizon are the 1,200-hectare expansion of the existing SM Mall of Asia Complex by SM; the 650-hectare Navotas North Bay Business Park; the 419-hectare development by Manila Waterfront City; the 407-hectare reclamation project by UAA Kinning Development Corp.; and the 318-hectare project of Manila Waterfront City. Other reclamation projects being proposed are the 265-hectare undertaking by Pasay City Harbor City Consortium; the 148-hectare Solar City; and, the 50-hectare Manila North Harbor expansion.

The new investments represent a steady rise in the yearly cumulative supply of spaces at reclaimed properties made available to companies who are setting up shop in Metro Manila. According to data culled by JLL, from the 286,100 square meters (sqm) of land developed then leased out in 2015, the expanse of available reclaimed space has grown to 785,800 sqm this 2018.

Highest demands for space in the Bay Area comes from BPOs and Online Gaming companies, followed by Logistics and Retail.

According to Lizanne Tan, JLL's Regional Director and Head of Markets: "The biggest value and benefit seen by investors, company owners, and other relevant markets is that reclaimed areas are able to offer office locators big floor plates which allows them to be more flexible." JLL Head of Research and Consulting Janlo de los Reyes also points out that the Bay Area is steadily becoming a very viable option for office locators, putting it alongside the likes of Makati, BGC and the Ortigas CBDs. "The Bay Area is reachable through the Skyway, and a good midpoint because it has easy access to both the airport and the port which makes it an ideal choice for a lot of companies."

He adds, "Those who choose to locate in the Bay Area is also taking exception of the lease and rental rates as these are moderately priced due to the area still being further developed." Janlo highlights that the Mall of Asia complex can be a very good reference for reclamation area studies because it has residential, entertainment and office components. Lizanne also points out that the area has already dealt with flooding and drainage problems in the past and has proven to be a more ideal location for offices.

Buds Wenceslao, Chief Executive Officer of DM Wenceslao and Associates continues to push for the Bay Area's advancement saying: "Reclamation areas help build better cities. As urban areas are developed, more jobs are created, thereby increasing revenues for both national and city governments." DM Wenceslao and Associates is behind Aseana City, a 204-hectare project that stands along the shoreline of Manila Bay.

In the southern part of the country, the Mactan North Reclamation and Development Project in Cebu is being undertaken by the Lapu Lapu City Government and the Philippine Reclamation Authority which cover 400 hectares of foreshore and offshore areas. The project aims to integrate industrial, commercial, residential and tourism development. Another reclaimed project in the works in Cebu is the Mandaue North Reclamation Area which is poised to become the city's prime business district with hotels, malls, schools and hospitals already being built in the area.

With the volume of ongoing construction and the uptick in reclaimed areas- particularly in the Bay Area, JLL is confident that the Philippines' real estate market will, again, haul in big investments well beyond 2018. Lizanne stresses, "Every time we are able to offer investors more space and opportunities to grow, this helps our economy and furthers nation-building. It's simple, but it's a foundational truth. And we should look at even more ways to make it more appealing for them to operate here in our country."