Manila City Mayor Joseph Ejercito Estrada has approved another multi-billion-peso reclamation project in Manila Bay – envisioned as a 318-hectare commercial and tourism hub along the shorelines of Roxas Boulevard.
Dubbed “Manila Waterfront City,” the project is the fourth reclamation venture approved by the mayor in less than two years.
“Reclamation projects are the cornerstone of our urban renewal program,” Estrada said during the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) Chairman Alberto Agra, General Manager Janilo Rubiato, and Waterfront Manila Premier Development Inc. President Kenneth Gatchalian at the Manila City Hall.
“They translate to more lands, better infrastructure, more businesses and more jobs, increased revenues, and better opportunities for all,” Estrada said, adding that it was only through reclamation that Manila could expand economically.
The new island will host commercial centers and residential buildings, hotels, entertainment facilities, and gaming venues such as casinos, according to Gatchalian.
It will also house amusement parks, medical centers, government offices, schools, and other establishments such as art museums, aside from sports facilities and amenities for aquatic sports such as rowing and sailing. It will have a port for international cruise ships.
“The inspiration here is basically expanding what the city of Manila has right now which is its historic character… the concept is basically extending Luneta (Rizal Park) and sticking to the historic content of Manila which in itself is what it is known for,” Gatchalian said.
A year and a half will be needed to secure required documentation before initial reclamation works commence.
“By 2020 there’ll be huge physical movement, right now we’re at the documentation stage,” Gatchalian said.
Rubiato said Waterfront Manila was given 18 months to get permits, such as the environmental compliance certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The PRA, as the central regulatory body for reclamation projects, will evaluate the requirements to determine the “soundness and viability” of the project.
Three other reclamation projects have been approved by the mayor.
In June, Estrada signed a memorandum of agreement with PRA and real estate firm J-Bros Construction Corp. for the construction of a P100-billion, 419-hectare commercial district in another portion of Manila Bay.
“Horizon Manila,” the biggest reclamation project in Manila Bay, involves the construction of three islands between the Manila-Pasay border in the south and Roxas Boulevard in the east, stretching to about 3.5 kilometers along the shores of Manila Bay.
The two others are UAA Kinming Group Development Corp.’s “New Manila Bay International Community” (407.42 hectares) and the P7.4-billion expansion of the Manila Harbor Centre in Tondo by the construction firm R-II Builders, Inc.
The construction of another project, the 148-hectare “Solar City,” which was approved prior to Estrada’s term, will start soon.