Giant mall chains and real estate developers Ayala Land Inc. and SM Prime Holdings Inc. have offered proposed developments to awaken the sleeping old Central Business District (CBD) in downtown Iloilo City.

Mayor Jed Patrick E. Mabilog stressed the interest of the country’s leading property developers to come, settle and do business here is a clear manifestation of investor’s confidence to the booming economic and tourism potentials of the metropolis.

Ayala and SM will tender their proposals in a bidding procedure scheduled next week, noted City Planning and Development Officer Jose Roni Peñalosa.

Whoever wins will be a win-win solution for the downtown CBD even as the two firms have already established developments in areas outside City Proper, he added.

The Iloilo Central Market will be transformed into a mixed-use medium-rise commercial complex suited to host call centers and BPOs.

Aldeguer Street is seen to be set up into a pedestrianized night market site. Sidewalks makeover is also planned from Arroyo to Aldeguer streets.

lloilo’s CBD Heritage Zone encompasses the triangular area bounded by Iznart-JM Basa-Aldeguer streets in the City Proper.

It also covers commercial-residential mixed blocks bounded by major streets of JM Basa, Iznart, Muelle Loney, Rizal and General Luna.

It likewise stretches to neighboring blocks bounded by the side streets of Guanco, Arroyo, Aldeguer, Arsenal, Mapa, Delgado, Yulo, Solis, and Aduana.

Other five firms also initially set sights on the development project.

The initiative involves the improvement of public infrastructure, public utility, private establishments and conservation of heritage buildings in the Iloilo Downtown CBD Revitalization Pilot Project.

The plan was based on the assessment of Cities Development Initiative for Asia (CDIA) which helped finished the pre-feasibility study funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and undertaken by the Consultants for Comprehensive Environmental Planning Inc. (Concep).

The Iloilo CBD is the city’s economic center that is the traditional high-urban destination for the towns of the Metro Iloilo-Guimaras region.

Conceptually, the CBD’s revitalization aims to transform the Iloilo downtown into a competitive, interesting and dynamic place that attracts businesses and where the existing community therein can grow in a sound, convenient and healthy place.

The strategy for development is centered on two themes:

One is improvement of both public infrastructure, public utility and private establishments in a manner that will make the area interesting and convenient for urban consumer markets in general.

Another is preservation of City Heritage through the conservation of heritage buildings – this heritage feature shall be made integral to the redevelopment effort to attract tourists in particular and to foster pride of place in the community.

Infrastructure developments in these areas are expected to improve the city’s economy as well as bolster tourism industry, said CDIA.

Mabilog presided over an investors’ forum which was attended by representatives of major national property groups and potential local partners last July 3-5.

The forum was an opportunity to present the Downtown CBD Revitalization Project and encourage financiers and investors to participate in a bidding process.

The procedures and guidelines for the bid process were provided by CDIA for the Special Bids and Awards Committee (SBAC). 

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