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Going beyond ABCs to create ideal ‘District’

By: - Reporter / @amyremoINQ
/ 05:33 AM April 13, 2019

A new urban hub is on the rise, carrying the promise of a better planned and a more vibrant, livable district.

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The 160-hectare Bonifacio Capital District (BCD)—which will be jointly managed by property giant Megaworld Corp. and state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA)—will integrate existing townships and other properties in the southern portion of Fort Bonifacio, and will complement a thriving financial, lifestyle district that is Bonifacio Global City.

More specifically, this newest District will cover two Megaworld townships namely the 54.3-ha McKinley Hill and 34.5-ha McKinley West, as well as BCDA-owned land including the 25.8-ha Navy Village; and the 33.1-ha Bonifacio South Pointe property, among others. Of the 160 ha, Megaworld is developing 88 ha within BCD.

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“The BCD is envisioned to be a well-planned, mixed-use development that is managed properly and implemented in a way that will make it an ideal hub for the community, which will benefit from measures that enhance access and decongestion,” explained BCDA president and CEO Vivencio Dizon.

“A big distinction for the District would be the fact that it will soon host the new buildings of some of the primary institutions of the government, such as the Senate of the Philippines, the Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals,” Dizon said in an e-mail interview with Inquirer Property.

Key benefits

There is indeed a lot of promise and expectations riding on the creation of the BCD.

Beyond being just a district, it more importantly offers a host of benefits for some 800,000 people who are expected to occupy the BCD during daytime—from the residents, locators and tenants, to the private and government workers in this area as well.

Dizon pointed out that the BCD will be a community builder, will promote ease of doing business, and will be a better planned District.

He explained that as BCD will soon house major government institutions, these offices are seen to bring in more people and fuel the demand including property projects such as commercial and residential spaces.

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“BCDA is adopting the concept of mixed-use development in its properties, and government institutions are integral in making a community more vibrant and sustainable. Other government offices such as the Court of Appeals have also showed interest in transferring in Fort Bonifacio, which can help create more economic value for the District,” Dizon said.

Currently, development-based gross floor area (GFA) of existing and operational commercial, residential, office and institutional properties within the BCD is around 1.26 million sqm. Projected GFA of proposed mixed-use projects in undeveloped lots within BCD stood at roughly 2.1 million sqm. These new developments are seen to be completed in the next decade.

The BCDA chief also said that ease of doing business is “a top priority in developing the District (and) so providing efficiency in government transactions for businesses and individuals is a dream we hope to achieve in Fort Bonifacio.”

Dizon further pointed out that the BCD is also targeted to be a better planned District, offering “convenience to residents, office workers, tenants and investors as it means measures are in place to address access issues and traffic congestion, avoiding the experience in previous similar efforts.”

In ensuring so, BCDA and Megaworld created the Planning Review Board, which will set policies and restrictions for the development of the District.

The Board will ensure that each locator or tenant follows the design standards and guidelines of the district.  It is also in-charge of the short-, medium-, and long-term development of the entire property, thus making the District truly sustainable.

Better infrastructure

Apart from these key benefits, one can also expect better access and connectivity in BCD through the new infrastructure projects. This is especially critical given the huge volume of people that are expected to reside, work and visit the District.

“Solutions to congestion are in place, setting it apart from previous city building initiatives. Through the Build Build Build Infrastructure Program under President Rodrigo Duterte, our government will be able to enhance Fort Bonifacio as a major business and leisure district as it builds infrastructure that will improve connectivity and address congestion—main challenges for people working in the city,” Dizon said.

“These infrastructure projects include the construction of the dual three-lane Bonifacio South Boulevard; the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); the widening of the Lawton Aveue by DPWH; and the Metro Manila Subway Project by the Department of Transportation,” he further said.

For its part, the BCDA will construct the Bonifacio South Main Boulevard—a six-lane road, that will improve traffic flow and accessibility in Lawton Avenue and other prospective developments in Fort Bonifacio.

It will serve as an alternate access from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to Bonifacio Global City. Upon completion, which is targeted by January 2022, the boulevard is estimated to accommodate about 4,500 vehicles per hour.

The road will also have bicycle lanes on opposite sides. A linear park that will traverse the boulevard will further promote a livable green environment within the district benefitting residents and workers.

Another significant project would be DOTR’s Metro Manila Subway, a 35-km railway line that will reduce travel time from Quezon City to NAIA to 31 minutes. It can accommodate 370,000  passengers a day.

The reason why this project is critical for BCD is because of the fact that out of the 15 stations, two stations will be located within the District namely the Lawton East and Lawton West Stations. Partial completion is targeted by 2022, with full opening eyed by 2025.

Dizon added that the Bonifacio Global City-Ortigas Center Link Road Project will entail the construction of a four-lane Sta. Monica to Lawton Bridge across Pasig River. This will reduce travel time between the central business districts of Taguig and Pasig to 12 minutes, while alleviating traffic at Edsa and C-5 by about 25 percent.

Lastly, the ongoing widening of Lawton Avenue will convert the existing four-lane avenue into a six-lane highway and improve travel experience in adjacent thoroughfares like Edsa South Superhighway, and C-5.

“In the next five years, after completing the road developments, utilities network and the subway project, we will be focused on traffic management, which includes development of bike lanes and pedestrian networks as well as deployment of traffic marshals,” said Kevin L. Tan, chief executive officer of Alliance Global Group, the parent firm of Megaworld.

“We will also improve landscaping along the district’s major roads and designing the entire district with urban art installations. On security management, we will also expand the CCTV monitoring to cover all areas of the district, which will then be incorporated into our Central Command Center inside McKinley Hill,” Tan said.

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