ARCA South, a sprawling property launched by Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) in 2014, is on track to complete phase-one development by the end of this year, company officials announced recently.
“Land-development works—as part of phase one and which include road network, utilities installation and other infrastructure—are 70-percent completed,” ALI Project Development Manager Stephen John S. Comia said. Excavation and construction have also begun for Ayala Malls, Arca South Corporate Center and Seda Hotel Arca South, while commercial lots are fully sold across the estate and the different residential towers continue to sell. Arca South has a 50-50 commercial and residential mix, and will feature offices, residences, a hotel and three retail formats—all with investment cost earmarked at P80 billion, or about 15 percent of ALI’s market capital.
Arca South will have three retail areas, but the first to rise would be the lifestyle mall. Ayala Malls will be a four-level structure, which will have an anchor supermarket, department store, four cinemas and about 350 stores. This is targeted for completion by the end of 2017.
Arca South Corporate Center is also slated to open by the end of 2017, with the first two of nine towers. They are built to the specifications of business-process outsourcing companies with 24/7 tenant operations. Seda Hotel Arca South, meanwhile, is a 265-room hotel targeted to open by 2018. Qualimed, Arca South’s 250-bed quaternary care hospital, will open by 2019.
“We really liked the property because when we saw it, we knew that we could transform Arca South into something great, similar to what we did in Makati City and Bonifacio Global City [BGC]. An P80-billion investment is not really a small amount. But for us, Arca South is not just another project…it is really the next big thing south of Manila,” Comia said.
Next big thing south of the Metro
Arca South is a 74-hectare project in Taguig City that sits where the Food Terminal Inc. complex used to be. It is almost the same size as the Makati Central Business District (CBD) and about three times the size of the city center of BGC. Once finished, Arca South will complete what ALI calls the “triumvirate” of CBDs at the heart of Metro Manila.
Seen as one of the largest master-planned, mixed-use development south of the Metro, the new business and lifestyle district is within a 7-kilometer radius of the Makati CBD and BGC, and about 4.7 km from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Its close proximity to these sites will be further improved by upcoming government transport projects, such as the Intermodal Transport System (ITS) and the Skyway C-5/C-6 road connector project.
The planned Skyway extension will connect to Arca South, with the project having its own exit along the Skyway based on current plans. This will make Arca South just one exit away from Makati City. The idea for the ITS, meanwhile, is that all provincial buses coming from the south would have to stop at a central bus station and all passengers would have to alight, get off to transfer to another mode of transportation to get to where they want to go. It is estimated that there are about 4,000 buses that come from the south daily, transporting about 200,000 commuters. Once these projects are completed, Arca South will be the most accessible CBD from the south.
Business and lifestyle hub with a ‘different feel’
Arca South is headed for rapid development, as combined residential sales reach 71 percent. All three Ayala residential brands are present in this new southern central business district. Ayala Land Premier, Alveo Land and Avida Land together sold over 1,000 units just one year after the launch of their individual projects, while commercial land have appreciated by 39 percent in less than a year since these were launched in 2013. Residential units are scheduled for turnover by the first quarter of 2018.
The vision for Arca South is to be a highly pedestrianized area with sidewalks and dedicated bicycle lanes; green spaces 50 meters wide and 40 percent of the total area dedicated to open space. Also, basement parking will be integrated in the district, which frees up the street level for pedestrians. Estate management for this development will be powered by an integrated operation system that will be complete with a control center for traffic management, estate security and monitoring, smart streetlights and a transport management system with real-time updates on bus locations and departure and arrival schedules.
“Estate services will also provide residents, locators and visitors information about the development in real time; provide tools for reporting city problems, provide feedback and let them express estate concerns. These systems can be in the form of digital signages, mobile and phone and web apps, and emergency/panic buttons,” Comia said.
What sets Arca South apart from the two CBDs, however, is the height of its buildings. “What’s unique about Arca compared to the Makati and BGC CBDs is that we’ll only have buildings of about 15 to 18 stories. A low-rise, medium-density development but is still a CBD with all the elements—from institutions to amenities to the different contributors to our economy. It creates a different feel,” Comia enthused.
Arca South is aligning the development to the needs of the market, Comia said. He added that they call Arca South a “city in sync” because “all the requirements, all services you will need as a resident, as an office worker or even as a guest—we will all have it here on Arca South,” meaning to say “all the demands of contemporary lifestyle are synchronized in Arca South.”