BUILD BUILD BUILD – BULACAN
Aerotropolis is a word that is 80 years old and the book that bears it in its title is 8 years old already; but many are still unfamiliar with. It sounds too sci-fi! But what is it exactly; and how does it relate or how is it significant to Real Estate in the Philippines?
“The shapes and fates of cities have always been defined by transportation. Today, this means air travel.” That is how the book by John Kasarda and Greg Lindsay starts. I agree with the first sentence, totally; but have to state that ground transportation infrastructure — in roads and railways — is even more important as it is an essential component in the inter-linking of nodes of various land uses. Water ports in a country with thousands of islands are also no less important.
Bulacan has been, intermittently on the news, due to its being the site for several infrastructure projects, the biggest and most ambitious of which is the so-called Bulacan Aerotropolis. It consists of the New Manila International Airport, large enough to service 4 times what the current “Manila Airport” could; and surrounding, connecting and complementing it are:
a new government center;
and dedicated zones for industrial, commercial, residential and institutional uses.
San Miguel Corporation, the proponent, has these all planned for their 2,500 hectare property in Bulacan.
Then, there are the railway projects in:
1.) The North-South Commuter Railway Project that connects Clark to Manila; and Manila to Calamba. It shall consist of 36 stations that span 147 kilometers.
2.) The MRT 7 that links Bulacan to Manila. It has 14 stations along its 22-kilometer stretch.
And the extensions, expansions and construction of new roads all around Bulacan. DPWH, the local government units, and even the private developers are literally paving new roads to cope with and to allow for more progress.
BACK IN TIME – BULACAN
Vigan is better known as the heritage town with well-preserved centuries-old houses; but many will claim Malolos Bulacan’s heritage houses are more significant, not just in beauty and splendor, but also in historical significance.
The José Bautista House is home to memorabilia like the original Philippine Revolution Flag, religious icons, art works, and various crafts, furnishings and furniture. It is French Art Nouveau as styled in 1877, but was originally designed in 1855 as Neoclassic. Other houses of note, which one should go see and appreciate are the houses or mansions of the families of Adriano-Vasquez, Luis Santos, Don Erastro Cervantes, Don Fausto Chiong, and Alberta Uitangcoy-Santos. Many can be found in the Kamestisuhan District, where as the name suggests, most of the Filipino-Chinese or Filipino-Spanish resided.
Why has life seemed to be good in the area back then?
City Planning and Architecture students are advised to explore, examine and analyze the remnants of history. Real estate then, as now, is centered on where lives thrive well; where there is economic activity; where the interconnectedness of social life, commerce and politics is most alive; and where the physical interconnectedness due to roads, rail and ports allows for such.
The roads and rail that lead to Manila ports brought trade opportunities and wealth to the hub and gateway that leads to the fertile grounds of Central Luzon and even further North.
The Aerotropolis and other interconnecting infra projects is a revival of history. It shall bring forth the resurgence and revitalization needed in the region north of Manila.
BACKYARD BUILDERS – BULACAN
The US$14B project is projected to create 40 million indirect tourism-related jobs. How many new households shall need to move in the Aerotropolis and peripheries? Will there be enough houses to accommodate the workers?
The good news is that the major national developers like that of Villar Group, Filinvest, Ayala Land, and others are already investing Bulacan. Additionally, the contributions of smaller developers, which are mostly home-grown, are important. They build where bigger firms will not, and in total land areas which are below the bigger firm’s appetites. In order to compete, they provide at par or even better amenities and services. They are the niche players and boutique developers.
We were welcomed by one such developer in their village, the Altana Subdivision. A big thanks to them for allowing us to have them as an example.
The Aerotropolis as a development concept has its share of critics, and rightfully so. Serious real estate development students are advised to read more and dig deeper. While putting up an airport has its benefits, its role as progenitor or catalyst of communities and cities is an overstatement. A doubtless truism though is that interconnectivity builds communities. Be it in Bulacan, Dubai, Dallas or elsewhere.
MyRealEstateNotes encourages further learning. This video should prompt you to ask more questions and seek to find the answers. Comment below as I believe we can learn from each other.