By Arra B. Francia
PROPERTY developers should take advantage of the government’s implementation of more infrastructure projects in Pampanga, as real estate consultancy services Colliers Philippines urged companies to build more hotels, convention halls, office towers, retail strips, and industrial spaces in preparation for the expected influx of residents and tourists in the area.
There are currently five infrastructure projects set to be completed in Clark, Pampanga in the next few years. This includes the Clark Airport Expansion, which is expected to bring capacity to 12 million annually by 2020, triple its current capacity.
Connecting Clark International Airport to Subic Port will be the Subic-Clark Cargo Railway, which seeks to maximize the underutilized Subic Port and effectively decongest Metro Manila. This railway is targeted to be completed by 2022.
The other projects are the 106-kilometer Manila to Clark Passenger Railway; the Skyway Stage 3 which will facilitate travel from San Fernando, Angeles City, and Clark through the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx); and the NLEx-South Luzon Expressway Connector Road.
“Colliers believes (these) should play a significant role in transforming Metro Clark into the country’s next major economic corridor. We see these infrastructure projects boosting office, residential, retail, hotel, and industrial demand in Metro Clark,” according to a report authored by Colliers Research Manager Joey Roi Bondoc.
To-date, dominant national players have already established their presence in Clark. The Filinvest group is building the New Clark City alongside the redevelopment of Mimosa Leisure Center. The Gotianun-led company is also poised to build a $200-million casino with an international partner in the future.
Businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. will also be developing its own mixed-use estate in Pampanga called Clark Global City. The group earlier said it will pour in P6 billion to redevelop the area.
The SM Group of country’s richest man Henry Sy, Sr. has also been expanding its footprint in Clark, adding office buildings and a 154-room Park Inn Hotel to its mall there. The company will be building a convention center within its complex by 2019, in a bid to capture the growing market for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) in Clark.
Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) and Megaworld Corp. are both developing their own townships in Pampanga, with the former’s 1,800-hectare Alviera in Porac and the latter’s Capital Town in San Fernando.
With more developers cashing in on Pampanga’s growth, Colliers noted that companies should differentiate their projects from others. This means being able to respond to the needs of both tenants and investors, beyond the usual office, residential, retail, and hotel projects.
“Developers should incorporate institutional uses such as education and health care. Other developers have been more aggressive in differentiating their communities by integrating entertainment and recreational facilities. Moving forward, developers need to be more innovative to be steps ahead of the competition,” the real estate consultancy said.
The company also encouraged the development of more industrial spaces and warehouses in Clark, as it sees the industrial hubs in the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas area spilling over to Clark. It highlighted the need for more standard factory buildings to support the growth of the country’s exports and imports.
More hotels and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) facilities should be built as well, as Clark International Airport’s expansion is set to attract more people into the area.
“We recommend that developers cash in on this opportunity by building more three to four-star hotels particularly as these facilities mainly cater to Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese tourists, who are the major visitors to the Philippines,” Colliers said.