SBMA eyes eight new priority multi-billion investment zones
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Consistent with the task of developing this free port into a service and logistics center, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is seeking to expedite the development of at least eight identified priority investment zones here this year.
SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said the agency has identified eight separate initiatives to develop more areas for business locators in the Subic Bay Freeport.
These include the redevelopment of Subic’s Central Tourist District, rezoning of the Subic Gateway Park for commercial and mixed-use development, conversion of the 16-hectare marshalling yard into the Gateway Business District, establishment of anchor educational institutions at the Paradise lot, development of a maritime industrial complex around the Hanjin shipyard, development of integrated resorts in Cawag and Minanga, redevelopment of the Subic Bay golf course, and the push for outward expansion.
Arreza said the development of new investment sites is crucial to sustaining Subic’s development momentum in face of Subic’s limitation in available open space.
Developed mainly as a base for the US Navy, the Subic free port zone has a land area of only 55,102 hectares, most of which are triple-canopy forests designated as part of the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS).
“We are very proud of the fact that we have attracted cumulative investments worth more than $7.16 billion and almost 1,500 investment projects as of 2010. Unfortunately, these investments won’t bring any economic benefit to us if they do not materialize for lack of space,” Arreza pointed out.
Of the eight identified new investment zones, Arreza said that two are already under re-development. These are the Central Tourist District, which is anchored on a P3-billion Ayala mall project scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of 2011, and the Subic Gateway Park, an industrial area that is being converted into a mixed-use district.
Among the investment initiatives at the Central Tourist District are the redevelopment of the Subic Bay Yacht Club by a private group that recently purchased the property from Land Bank; the development of a cruise ship terminal by Global Terminals; the construction of the Harbor Point Mall; redevelopment of the Times Square commercial complex; and the establishment of a regional bus terminal.
On the other hand, Arreza said the Subic Gateway Park is “emerging to be primarily our business process outsourcing (BPO) center within the next few years.”
Aside from this, the area has recently attracted some hotels, eateries and a Ford showroom, with Mitsubishi also planning to put up a display room nearby this year. A five-hectare lot in the area has also been reserved for an anchor university to attract educational institutions in the area. By FRANCO G. REGALA - mb.com.ph