May 23, 2018, Manila
– The Philippine government’s economic strategy is anchored on two main pillars - infrastructure implementation and decentralisation. The Duterte administration’s goal of spreading business opportunities outside of the country’s capital is spilling over to major urban hubs such as Clark, a former American military facility transformed into a freeport zone that is located about 90 kilometres north of Manila.
For more than 20 years, Clark’s take-off as a central business district (CBD) outside Manila has been constricted by the lack of supporting infrastructure, chief among which is a high-speed train that would connect the country's capital and Clark and its environs (Metro Clark). Realising the importance of connectivity in stimulating business activities in the area, the current administration has lined up a number of projects that Colliers believes 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 the country’s next major metropolis.
Among the planned infrastructure projects that should boost Metro Clark’s property market are the following:
• Clark Airport Expansion
• Subic-Clark Cargo Railway
• Manila to Clark Passenger Railway (Phases 1 and 2)
• Skyway Stage 3; and
• NLEX-SLEX Connector Road.
Given the relatively cheap developable land in the area, Colliers believes that the development of integrated communities is a practical route for many developers. To maximise Metro Clark’s potential, Colliers encourages both local and national developers to take the following steps:
• Highlight differentiating features of master-planned communities;
• Build three and four-star hotels and meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) facilities;
• Explore transit-oriented, tourist-centric retail projects
• Redevelop brownfield assets and old office and retail buildings especially in downtown Angeles and San Fernando;
• Explore opportunities in the fringes of Metro Clark such as Porac;
• Develop flexible office space to accommodate firms that require smaller space; and
• Explore operation and maintenance (O&M) opportunities involving transportation projects in Northern-Central Luzon area.
Colliers also encourages local players with sizeable landbank but with limited experience in building master-planned townships to partner with national players in developing large integrated communities. The enhancement of the country’s infrastructure backbone should unlock land values in urban areas outside of the country’s capital including Metro Clark. This should dictate the strategies of local and national developers. And with Metro Clark being a major beneficiary of the government’s “Build, Build, Build” programme, we see more developers gravitating towards the region over the medium to long term.
Among the national developers we see benefiting from the development of Clark’s infrastructure network are the Filinvest Group with its planned mixed-use project within the New Clark City and redevelopment of Mimosa leisure centre; Udenna with its integrated Clark Global City; and SM Prime with its SM City Clark complex. Ayala Land should also benefit as it has ramped up the development of its Alviera township in Porac which is five to ten minutes way from Clark Freeport. Other nearby developments by national players that we see benefiting from Metro Clark’s transformation are Megaworld’s Capital Town project, Century City’s Azure Residences, Torre Lorenzo's Tierra Lorenzo San Fernando in San Fernando; and Ayala’s Marquee mall and residential developments in Angeles City. The projected surge in residential demand in Metro Clark should also benefit other national players such as 8990, NorthPine, Pueblo de Oro, P.A. Alvarez, Robinsons Land, and Vista Land.
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