The Rise of Clark Green City Draws Local and Foreign Investors

Clark is becoming an attractive investment destination in the Philippines today.

The development of Clark Green City looks promising to investors from different industries like real estate, industrial park and township builders, and institutional developers, according to Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

“CGC involves the development of some 36,000 hectares of land at the heart of Central Luzon or approximately half the size of Metro Manila,” said BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Arnel Paciano Casanova.1 It is also said to be patterned after Songdo International Business District, a smart city in Seoul, South Korea.

CGC will adapt a Green Building System through the use of renewable energy from sustaining sources. This system will be applied to all the facilities and buildings in the green metropolis. According to BCDA, “Clark Green City will be environmentally sustainable, socially inclusive, economically competitive, culturally relevant, and technologically integrated.”

It is estimated to generate 1.57 trillion pesos ($35.8 billion) worth of economic activity annually and create 925,000 jobs upon its full development.2 The first phase of CGC is reportedly up for bidding by the end of this quarter of the year.

UP as CGC’s First Locator

The University of the Philippines (UP), the country’s premier state university, has teamed up with BCDA in instituting an educational hub in Clark Green City, similar to UP Ayala Technohub in Quezon City.

UP President Alfredo E. Pascual, together with Casanova, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on 19 May 2014 to allow UP to spearhead the development of an academic and research centre in CGC, and expand its programs and services in Central Luzon.3

The UP Clark Campus will be the first locator of CGC, and the first tenant of its academic district. BCDA is also tapping the other big universities in the country, as well as Ivy League schools.

Aside from academic, the 50-year master development plan recently approved by the National Economic and Development Authority Board [NEDA] includes four more districts: government, central business, academic, agri-forestry research and development, and wellness and eco-tourism.

The Perks of a Special Economic Zone

Being in a special economic zone, CGC has tax benefits which will be favourable to 100% foreign-owned companies. To attract more investors, BCDA will grant fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for CGC locators.

In accordance with Republic Act 9400, “duly registered business enterprises that operate in the special economic zone shall be entitled to the same tax and duty incentives as provided for under Republic Act 7916.”

According to CBRE Philippines senior director Jan Custodio, Clark “is entitled to incentives similar to that of PEZA [Philippine Economic Zone Authority], so this makes it attractive for BPO companies to locate and do their operations in the area”.

He also said the lifting of the PEZA incentives in Metro Manila opened doors for developers to pursue projects in nearby provinces.

The Key to Metro Manila’s Decongestion

Many global investors are now looking for expansion opportunities outside the already congested Metro Manila. With its modern infrastructures and competitive labour pools, Clark is now among the preferred outsourcing destination outside the country’s capital city.

Located at 80km north of Manila, Clark is poised to be the next Bonifacio Global City (BGC), a highly urbanised district in Taguig, Metro Manila, which is also home to different BPO firms.

We see Clark as possibly the next frontier for BPOs,”according to Rick Santos, founder of property consultancy firm CBRE Philippines.5 Concomitantly, BGC is a former military base like Clark.

Just like its benchmark Songdo, Clark is adjacent to an international airport (Clark International Airport) and seaport (Subic Bay Seaport), which are linked by Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. These make for convenient import and export transactions.

According to Jeff Pradhan, vice president of sales and marketing of Peregrine Development International, owner and developer of Global Gateway Logistics City, the government should implement a land use plan that would further develop Clark. “You already have the first wave of investment there… the pace of growth in Clark is one of the fastest in the world,” he added.

Moreover, Central Luzon is the third largest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), next to Metro Manila and CALABARZON. It is also the second wealthiest region outside the National Capital Region.

With these advancements, Clark can thrive as an international business district in the near future, and be the next top investment destination in the Philippines.

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