The Manileño dream of the future becomes a reality with Horizon Manila

Published June 25, 2021, 11:00 AM

by Johannes Chua

If a Manileño would be given a chance to describe a dream city, he would imagine a place where greens dominate the landscape, where buildings rise to take advantage of solar energy, and where all destinations can easily be reached without riding a car — and all these come with a view of the breathtaking Manila Bay sunset. He shouldn’t imagine further as this dream becomes a reality with Horizon Manila, a 419-hectare reclamation project that would propel Manila not only to the future, but transform the way we live, work, and do business.

For starters, Horizon Manila when viewed from a bird’s eye perspective, is divided into three islands, which contains 28 compact communities and districts. The whole property is connected to the main Manila area via a three-kilometer bridge tunnel over Manila Bay. This early, it has an appraised value of P321 billion, which is projected to increase as developments rise. 

Horizon Manila will be built by JBros Construction Corp., led by President Jesusito “JR” Legaspi, Jr.  For him, this project has the “potential to single-handedly put Manila in the forefront of development and international investment.”

The project is not just an extension of the densely-populated Manila City, but is in fact a “New Modern Manila City” in itself. The entire project will be built from scratch and only the best of the best are involved — from inception, presentation to implementation and construction. 

Horizon Manila, which received approval from the Philippine Competition Commission early this year, is a joint venture with the City Government of Manila. Legaspi says that the project is at no cost to the government, who owns 51 percent of the property. 

“This is really very beneficial for the future Manileños. The 51 percent includes almost 30 hectares of green space, 70 hectares of public roads which we will develop, and 85 hectares of prime land, which can earn revenues for the city,” says Legaspi, noting that Horizon Manila is projected to generate billions of business and real estate taxes for the government, providing funds for social services. 

One positive aspect that Legaspi sees is that a project of this scale would attract big-ticket foreign investments back to the country. It could also lift the economy as businesses in diverse industries such as retail, tourism, or banking would find new opportunities and feel a  renewed sense of confidence. 

Another commendable aspect of the project is that it is expected to generate at least 500,000 new jobs during and after the construction, providing employment for Filipino talent.  

Horizon Manila is about improving lives, providing opportunities, and making sure that people live in a sustainable, mobile, and connected environment. 

In this aspect, JBros Construction got the services of WTA Architecture to create a city that is forward-looking, yet also honors the heritage of Manila.   

This balance of new and old would be reflected in the 28 compact communities and districts within Horizon Manila. These districts, designed to cater to different lifestyles, include the Business District, which is like the CBD; an Art District, where museums and artistic venues are located; and Gateway District where parks and open spaces are available. Although these districts have their characteristics, the overarching quality of all is that they are part of a Smart City. 

“Put very simply, a Smart City is a city that uses technology to make living in it both convenient and sustainable. Horizon Manila accomplishes this through various ways and the intended outcome is for the benefit of those who would live and work there in the future,” says Legaspi.  

Among the features of Horizon Manila considered as components of a Smart City include a green plot ratio of one: All developers within Horizon Manila will be required to incorporate green spaces within its development. 

“For example, for a 2,000-square meter lot, the developer will be required to also put in 2,000 square meters of green spaces within their development. These can be placed on the roof deck, on the façade of their building, or even in indoor gardens. This, on top of the 30 hectares of dedicated public parks within Horizon, ensures a truly green development,” he says. 

Personal mobility is prioritized with an array of transportation options available for citizens, workers, and visitors of Horizon Manila. Besides the public transportation systems within the project, such as the water taxis, water ferries, bus rapid transits, and a monorail, walking and biking are convenient options due to the existence of pedestrian-priority zones and bike routes.

“A measure of a good city is when its inhabitants use public transport or walk to reach a destination. So our goal at Horizon Manila is that you don’t have to use a car to go around,” says Legaspi. 

With a land area that massive, there would be so many landmarks inside Horizon Manila. As this would be a complete city, it would cater to different needs for business, work, education, and recreation. 

The time has come for the rise of Horizon Manila, which is expected to see some works by the end of the year. But for those who want to be part of Manila’s future, the time is now, according to Legaspi:  “Stop dreaming and be a part of the future. Seize the opportunity to make a change. Let’s make Manila better together.”