Solar City on Manila Bay

FROM THE STANDS By Domini M. Torrevillas (The Philippine Star) | Updated September 10, 2013 – 12:00am

One day not long from now, you and I may wake up beholding a city risen from the waters of Manila Bay. No, it’s not going to be floating roofs and walls resulting from dreadful floods. It’s going to be the Manila Solar City, an ambitious project that is unique, delightful to imagine as coming true. The vision for such a dream project has long been presented by Goldcoast Development Corp., but opposition from environmentalists has put it on hold.

manila solar city new prime real estate in ManilaNow the hurdles are almost likely to have been overcome after Goldcoast has explained why Solar City should be finally built.

Let’s imagine how the city will look like – as explained by Goldcoast vice-chair Edmundo Lim, at a recent session of Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel.

Manila Solar City is the latest reclamation project along Manila Bay. The Cultural Center of the Philippines, Sofitel Hotel, the Marina — are among the structures lording it over reclaimed Manila Bay waters. Solar City is different. It consists of three islands jutting out vertically to the sea from the area fronting the end of Quirino Highway between the Ospital ng Maynila and Aloha Hotel. It is not, as oppositors thought, along the stretch that’s called the Baywalk, from the Manila Yacht club to the US Embassy.

manila solar city artist's havenOn the three reclaimed islands measuring 148 hectares will be built five-star hotels, commercial and residential buildings, restaurants and shops, a people’s park, a 50-meter wide promenade, a series of structures for visual and performing artists like design labs, schools, theaters, museums and rehearsal studious. There will be no casinos, gaming, or gambling establishments.

And the famous Manila sunset will be seen unobstructed, said Edmund.

The project, says Edmund, who represented his Goldcoast Development partner William Tieng, is uniquely architecturally and environmentally planned. People will be walking on the beautifully landscaped first level, and vehicles will be cruising on the second level driveways. The gardens will be a fascinating study for flora and fauna lovers. I don’t know, but tourists are likely to pick vegetables and herbs from a garden that will supply the needs of the islands’ eating places.

As to the islands’ causing waters to rise and flooding Roxas Boulevard, Edmund said not so, as water will flow naturally on the spaces separating the islands and so, will not rise up towards the boulevard.

The island will be fully lighted from a power house providing electricity 24/7. There will be no fear of brownouts, said Edmund. On the matter of security, CCTV cameras will be strategically located.

More fun is expected from an inland beach that allows people to swim and surf, with waterfalls and sand dunes simulating mini-Camiguin and Boracay islands.

An area is provided for a cruise terminal, allowing cruise ships to dock and unload tourists, expected to reach 2,500 persons per week.

Edmund proudly said Manila Solar City will do its own waste processing system out of wastes collected from the establishments on the islands. And, he added, it will have its own water treatment, water storage, and sewage treatment plants.

If all the environmental concerns are met, there should be no reason for a further groundbreaking delay. I understand some private investors are raring to design their buildings according to MSC specifications. After all, as soon as the reclamation is completed, within two years, the national government will own 30.52 hectares worth P30.5 billion, and the city of Manila will own five hectares of buildable area worth P5 billion. Edmund said when the Manila Solar City is fully developed, Manila will have a real estate tax base of P113 billion for land, and P580 billion for built-up properties, plus business permits and license fees. And the employment potential, continued Edmund, is from 250,000 to 500,000 jobs,in creasing a larger business and income tax base.

My media group would like to be one of the first to behold and enjoy the promises of MSC.

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