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The township trend and how it can decongest Metro Manila by Nadine PacisPublished: April 22, 2015Updated: April 28, 2015

The upcoming township projects in the Philippines can help decongest the over-populous Metro Manila

According to property consultancy firms, the upcoming ASEAN economic integration is bound to fuel the already booming real estate industry in the country. The arrival of more foreign investors and tourists from ASEAN countries will result to a larger increase in demand for all sectors in real estate. In their March 2015 Market Insight, property consultancy firm Pinnacle Real Estate noted that the country’s top real estate developers are becoming more aggressive in expanding and diversifying their national portfolio as we approach the long-awaited ASEAN economic integration.

One product offering gaining much steam in the market is the township, a large-scale project that integrates commercial, office, and residential developments. Townships are designed as small districts that can accommodate thousands of residents and office workers, and providing them a place to live, work, and play. While township pioneer Megaworld has led the charge in expanding on these large scale projects, major real estate developers such as Ayala Land, Federal Land, and Robinsons Land, have also started to build more of these developments and have announced their plans to construct more.

Upcoming townships in Metro Manila
According to KMC Mag Group’s 2015 Metro Manila Property Outlook, the biggest developers in the country will be collectively spending more than P300 billion for 11 upcoming townships in Metro Manila.

Megaworld is spending around P132 billion for four of their townships in the Metro. The township pioneer’s Alabang West in Muntinlupa City, McKinley West and Uptown Bonifacio in Taguig City, and Woodside City in Ortigas are expected to come into fruition in a few years. Meanwhile, rival Ayala Land Inc., has four upcoming township projects in Metro Manila: Vertis North in Quezon City, Circuit Makati in Makati City, Arca South in Taguig City, and Alabang South Park District in Muntinlupa City.

Following the two developers is GT Capital Holding’s Federal Land, with two large-scale mixed use developments: Veritown Fort in the emerging Bonifacio Global City, and Metropolitan Park in Pasay City.  Robinsons Land also has a township in the works in Pasig City. The township is dubbed Bridgetown Business Park.

Not to be left behind is the king of Philippine Malls Henry Sy. Recently, he has announced that he has plans of his own to join the township trend. In an interview with Philippine Star, Hans T. Sy, son of the conglomerate founder, stated that SM Prime will soon be venturing in township and will be using their strength, large-scale commercial malls, to attract buyers.

Decongesting the capital
Several townships outside the capital are also underway, and these are the townships, along with other major real estate developments, are what real estate experts believe to serve as a key ingredient in decongesting Metro Manila. Many of the locations where the townships are being built are emerging cities and regions. Central Luzon, Cebu, and Davao are just three of these areas, and real estate developers are doing their best to get as much of the market as they can.

Megaworld is currently working on townships in Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao, and they will be launching five more townships this year. Two will be in Luzon, another two will be in Visayas, and finally, one in Mindanao. More recently, they have announced that Bacolod will be seeing two of their townships worth P35 billion in the coming years.
Meanwhile, Ayala announced that they are planning to build townships in 25 more cities. These townships will be on top of the current developments that they are building. Some of Ayala’s townships outside Metro Manila are located in Bulacan, Pampanga, and Iloilo.

Indeed, the township trend both inside and outside Metro Manila can add to the decongestion of Metro Manila and even help the capital run faster and smoother. After all, the idea of townships is to bring everything closer to its residents. Offices, commercial areas, and other lifestyle necessities are ideally located within the township’s vicinity for convenience and efficiency. No longer do residents need to go far to work, shop, and spend time with family and friends. Everything they need is within walking distance.

In fact, townships are more favorable for those living outside Metro Manila. The large scale community developments lessen the appeal of working and living in the capital, as they also bring in more attractive shopping choices and a larger number of job opportunities than ever before. The cost of living in those regions is also cheaper than in Metro Manila.

The only downside to this is that most of the residential units of these townships can only be afforded by the upper classes. This means that a majority of those working in the offices of townships will still have to drive or commute to and from these townships daily. For those living and working outside Metro Manila, it shouldn’t be a huge problem since the roads outside the capital are not as packed, and the traffic is more bearable. For the rest however, they still remain an unwilling contributor in the notorious Metro Manila traffic.

Townships could be the solution to decongesting the capital and spreading growth throughout the nation, but it can be better if more townships have residential options available for the middle to lower classes as well, especially since they are the ones who take up a big chunk of the office spaces. And again, improvement of infrastructure and better traffic and public transport management remains to be the best way to support the decongestion of Metro Manila.

McKinley Hill photo from Megaworld Corp.
Metro Manila photo from Wikimedia

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