News Article

$3B investments await Aseana City

09/19/2012 | By: Albert, Malaya Business Insight

"Ask me in five years” was the quick reply of Delfin Wenceslao, Jr., chairman of construction company and property developer DM Wenceslao and Associates, Inc., when asked if he is satisfied with the development of his firm’s  projects.

But Wenceslao cannot hide his excitement when he talks about the company’s roughly 100-hectare landbank in Aseana City, which now starts to come to life.

Aseana City sits next to the multibillion dollar Las Vegas-themed gaming complex Bagong Nayon Entertainment City, commonly called Pagcor City.

Originally designed to bring into one place the various embassies of the 10-member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the place now houses a residential building, the Department of Foreign Affairs’ new building for passport processing, and will soon have a slew of new structures and businesses -- from residential buildings, condotels, business process outsourcing buildings, and Alphaland Corp.’s Marina Club and Bay City. 

Numerous coup attempts  and two financial crisis passed  before development in the reclaimed land went into full swing. The project was conceived as far back as the Cory administration in the late 1980s as a  reclamation partnership between  R1 consortium and the Philippine Reclamation Authority that now forms the now Pagcor City and Aseana Business City.

“We signed with the Aquino administration in 1989. There were several  coup attempts and investors backed out. We had designed the embassy row and a lot of the embassies have responded to the proposal. Then the economic crisis happened,” Wenceslao said in Pilipino.

But with interest picking up around the area, Aseana City has so far attracted one country to locate its  embassy there, Qatar which got  8,000 square meters of property.

A number of companies are also setting up their business in Aseana City --- Anchorland Holdings, Inc., with its Solemare Suites; Puregold Price Club, Inc.’s S&R membership store, Shell and Petron, and Powerstation. There is also the British School Group campus, as well as the BPO building.

Wenceslao said some $3 billion worth of investments are expected to be poured in Aseana City in the next five years, all joint ventures. 

Alphaland’s Alphaland Bay City, at 32 hectares, is one of the biggest projects in the area. It would  include a Marina Club. 

Alphaland said Alphaland Bay City “is designed in such a way that you won’t need a car to get around.” 

“Just park at one of our central locations and walk or take a shuttle. Buildings are interconnected by walkways, protecting you from the weather. We did this to make it truly a walking city, and to minimize energy use and pollution, including noise. A broad central park cuts through the entire city in a crescent, not only providing greenery, shade and pleasant public space, but also providing a corridor for wind to circulate. It also allows the buildings to be arranged in a manner that opens the sea view to more of the units, instead of maximizing space utilization in favor of short-term profit. We strongly believe that this kind of planning gives better long-term value to the development as a whole and your property in particular,” it said.

Other companies that have committed to locate in ASEANA City are the Tune group of hotels and Blue Leaf. 

Wenceslao said about 60 percent of the land will be developed under joint venture arrangements. 

Wenceslao said two more schools are being eyed, one of which will be a technical higher learning center of technology firm Bitmicro. 

Wenceslao said they have now become selective in their choice of possible locators to prevent competition of businesses within ASEANA City. 

Wenceslao said their focus remains mostly on tourism oriented opportunities.

Wenceslao said that if there’s one thing to say about ASEANA City, it is it’s location. 

“It’s 10 minutes away from the airport; 15 minutes to Makati. You’ve got recreational development with the Entertainment city. You want shopping, you just go to Mall of Asia,” he said.