AS the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program goes into high gear, Metro Clark area will have a stellar role in the development of Central Luzon, according to a major property consulting firm.
“Metro Clark has the characteristics of the ideal investment hub—it has vast developable land, a large pool of talent and improving land and air infrastructure. We see more capital flowing to the city during the “Golden Age of Infrastructure” spurring the growth of the Central Luzon region,” Santos Knight Frank (SKF) chairman and CEO Rick Santos said in a press briefing held recently in Makati City.
Santos added Metro Clark will be a catalyst in the development pursuit of Central Luzon as it can provide connectivity and accessibility to other points of the island.
Originally the home of the 13th air force unit of the United States air force, Clark Air Base (CAB) was originally called Fort Stotsenberg and was the largest military base of the US armed forces outside the United States.
CAB also played a significant role in the 1986 Edsa uprising in the evacuation of former President Ferdinand Marcos and his immediate family and several advisors and confidants.
The end of the Cold War saw the reduction of operations of CAB with a huge portion of its personnel and equipment deployed to other bases, including sending them back to the US in 1990. On June 10, 1991, two days before Mount Pinatubo began the summer-long series of eruptions, CAB pulled out all except its essential personnel.
Santos said the huge infrastructure projects, such as the expansion of the Clark International Airport, have attracted property heavyweights like Ayala Land Inc., Robinson’s Land Corp., Megaworld and Filinvest to expand in the area, which covers the towns of Angeles, Porac, Mabalacat, San Fernando and Capas.
The latest development includes the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac, which recently held a groundbreaking of the P13-billion new national government center complex. New Clark City is envisioned to host a business district, tourism areas and world-class sports centers through the participation of major business names, such as Filinvest of the Gotianun family.
Filinvest will invest P5 billion in its recently acquired Mimosa Leisure Estate in Clark for property and tourism.
Ian Perez, director of SKF’s Occupier Services and Commercial Agency, said accessibility from Metro Manila is a major factor why Clark is very attractive to investors.
Moreover, he stressed that the completion of the upcoming Northern Luzon Expressway and Southern Luzon Expressway connector as well as the planned train project will enhance its f connectivity.
The airport is one major attraction of Clark as it is being used mostly by overseas Filipino workers from Northern Luzon. Clark can also help in decongesting the crowded Ninoy Aquino International Airport by serving the people.
SKF cited the newest development in the area as a catalyst for further growth, the New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Perez said Clark is also suitable as an industrial site, as it is home to several companies engaged in the manufacture of textiles, semiconductors and tires. Japanese tire manufacturer Yokohama’s facility in Clark produces 40,000 tires a day.
Office and property segments have also shown continuous growth as the information technology-business process management industry went to Clark Global City, formerly known as Global Gateway Clark (GGC).
GGC is now under the helm of the Dennis Uy-led Udenna Group.
Perez pointed out that Clark has a huge absorptive capacity in the office segment with 50,000 square meters in supply and 20 percent of it is vacant.
Furthermore, Perez said, Clark can also be a hub for hospitality and leisure. Global brands Marriott and Hilton are expected to start operations either at the end of 2018 or early 2019. An adventure water park called Aqua Planet, which sits on a 10-hectare property inside Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, is now open.