By Doris C. Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer

The p28.5-billion redevelopment of Ayala Land Inc.’s “crown jewel,” Ayala Center, has taken shape with the debut of two upscale hotels, two new office buildings and a revitalized Glorietta shopping center before the year ends.

Local property giant ALI is also set to launch this November a new high-end two-tower residential development, Garden Towers, the first skyscraper of which will cost P3 billion to build. The launch of the new residential project under the Ayala Land Premier brand follows the rollout of the three-tower Park Terraces where 1,128 units are now 84-percent sold since the first tower was unveiled in 2010.
By December, the 32-room all-suite Raffles Makati and the 280-room Fairmont Hotel will open their doors to affluent business and leisure travelers—the newest luxury accommodations to be built in the Makati central business district in nearly two decades. They will share a 30-story building with high-end serviced apartment Raffles Residences with 237 units, of which 110 units will be included in ALI’s hotel inventory. Raffles Residences will occupy the 11th to 30th floors, Raffles Makati, the 9th to 10th floors while Fairmont will be at the 3rd to 8th floors.

By April 2013, a third hotel brand—the 348-room mid-budget Holiday Inn and Suites Makati, which will be directly connected to the Glorietta hub—will also open for business.

“This is the most ambitious program Ayala has done,” ALI president Antonino Aquino told a press briefing. “We’re almost complete and about to inaugurate various components.”

Raffles will offer accommodations starting at $350 a night while Fairmont will offer at the $200 to $220 price points. Holiday Inn will offer accommodations for $130 a night.

“As we pursue our growth strategy with the development of other business districts in Metro Manila and across the country, we will continue to enhance Makati so it maintains its place as the premiere destination in the Philippines,” Aquino said. “Makati began the trend of master-planned communities in the Philippines over 50 years ago. It will remain a prime example of sustainable urbanization and the main vehicle for transformation this year is the Ayala Center.”

The Ayala Center makeover is seen boosting ALI’s recurring revenues. In addition to the completion this December of the Glorietta redevelopment, with a gross floor area of 54,000 square meters of retail space, the ambitious redevelopment also includes the addition of two office towers with a gross floor area of 50,000 sqm. The office towers will cater to business process outsourcing firms.

For the Glorietta shopping center, which has 650 existing stores, 214 new stores will be added. The complex will also have a “re-energized” activity center for diverse, round-the-clock events.

This redevelopment plan, the first phase of ALI’s long-term master plan for Ayala Center, covers only a third of the 24-hectare prime property, Aquino said. It is also part of ALI’s P60-billion investment plan for six major districts in Makati for the next five years.

While this phase of the Ayala Center redevelopment focuses on the area closer to Pasay road, ALI reserves the landbank nearer to the Ayala Ave. side for future phases of redevelopment.

On the residential component, the first tower of Park Terraces, which was launched in 2010, will be ready for turnover to residents in 2015; its Point Tower in 2016 and the third tower in 2017.

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