SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The first phase of the P15-billion Tipo High-tech Eco Park (THEP), a 209-hectare development in a newly-opened expansion area of the Subic Bay Freeport, is expected to be completed by next year as Subic ramps up facilities to boost the economy amid the waning Covid-19 pandemic.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the 58.49-hectare Phase 1 area of the eco-friendly mixed-use project is now 57.81 percent completed, with Phase 2 and Phase 3 development also underway.
“This used to be an area for the SBMA’s social fencing program, wherein several families of upland farmers occupied grasslands in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, planted them with crops and, in the process, helped prevent the incursion of illegal settlers,” Eisma pointed out.
“After this was designated as an expansion area for investments, the project developer had since compensated the upland farmers involved in the program to gain the right to develop the area. Now some of the farmers or their family members are employed in the development project,” she added.
Eisma inspected the industrial eco-park on Wednesday with SBMA directors Maria Cecilia Bitare, Rolando Ampunin, Benasing Macarambon Jr., and Brian Patrick Gordon.
“Phase 1 already has 13 warehousing units, of which nine are ready for occupancy,” Eisma said. “Xantheng Subic International Corp. (XSIC), which is the major proponent of the eco-park project, is now building nine more warehouses to complete the development by 2022,” she added.
As planned, the THEP will house light industrial factories, commercial facilities, residential buildings, and a nature park. The project is at a most strategic area in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, as it is near an entry/exit point of the Subic Freeport Expressway (SFEX).
XSIC President Simon Shu said that Phase 2, which is a 72.8-hectare industrial area, is already 11.79 percent developed, with a completion date of 2024, while Phase 3, which is a 68.87-hectare mixed-use area, is 2.92 percent developed and is set for completion in 2026.
Accordingly, Phase 2 already has two warehouse units with occupancy permit, while the developer is currently building four more units. Phase 3 is still in the preparation stage.Shu said the company began developing the area in 2019 after it diversified into warehouse subleasing.
“We are dedicated to mixed-use development of zones consisting of industrial and technology parks, mixed-use commercial areas, as well as high-end residential and recreational zones,” he said.
He added that with Xantheng’s development and management unit, the firm will oversee and manage the park and offer value-added and professional services to locators.
Shu said that in the development stage alone, the XSIC has already hired more than 500 construction workers, including some upland farmers in the area, who were part of the social fencing project of the SBMA. The firm plans to hire more upon the start of THEP operations, he added.
According to the master plan submitted by THEP to SBMA, the development will include 101.47 hectares for light industries, 17.99 hectares for a commercial complex, 7.11 hectares for mixed use, 23.16 hectares for residential buildings, and 23.16 for a nature and environment conservation park.
There will also be a reserved area for utilities use and other purposes for a total development area of 209.27 hectares.