The Philippines is looking to build a new city designed to replicate the robust economies of Hong Kong and Singapore. On the forefront of the ambitious project, estimated to cost nearly $3 billion for the reclamation works alone, is SM Prime Holdings, which is considered among the largest property developers in Asia.
The next Asian mega city will rise on the edge of the Manila Bay, “spanning the coastal areas of Pasay and Paranaque,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. SM Prime plans to reclaim some 1200 hectares of land area as stated in a proposal submitted before the Philippine Reclamation Authority.
In an interview, SM Prime chair Henry Sy, Jr. told the publication the project is awaiting approval but a clearance from both the local and national governments has been granted. Sy said his company will soon start reclamation activities on the first 300 hectares of the project, which will be on the Pasay side.
SM Prime is optimistic that by next year, work will commence on the Paranaque side of the project. Sy indicated that the massive development, billed as the biggest property undertaking in the Philippine capital in recent years, will be completed over the next five years.
A New Metropolis In The Making
According to Sy, the project has the potentials to become the next metropolis that could rival that of Hong Kong or Singapore. The sprawling area, projected to equal the size of some progressive cities inside the capital, to be realised from the development will be a good start to qualify as a bustling urban centre.
Combined with business-friendly regulatory measures such as reduced corporate tax rates and supported by infrastructures like a proper airport, Sy predicted that the planned city will easily become “the next Singapore or Hong Kong.”
Temporary Drawdown in China
However, SM Prime has admitted that building a new metropolis next to Manila will also mean that the company’s resources will have to be refocused. Sy acknowledged that a number plans will be impacted by the project, possibly including the goal of SM Prime to put up one SM City mall in mainland China every year.
This vision will see a noticeable slow down, according to Sy.
“We’re anticipating we’re using a lot of capex (capital expenditure) in the reclamation,” the executive told PDI.
To date, SM Prime owns and operates 60 shopping malls in the Philippines and has significant presence in key Chinese cities like Xiamen, Chengdu, Chongqing, Jinjiang, Suzhou and Zibo, Property Report said in a related news article.