Launched in 2011, the 72-hectare old airport in Mandurriao has been converted into the Iloilo Business Park.
Megaworld public relations and communications head Harold Geronimo said that they invested in the city because of its culture and business growth.
“Iloilo is diverse in terms of culture and the business here is booming. In fact, many investors from Cebu and Davao are looking for lands here to start their business,” he said.
One of three developers venturing in the Iloilo, Megaworld houses the largest township in the city, with an investment of P35 billion.
The business park will be home to two five-star hotels, business process outsourcing (BPO) companies, malls, residential buildings and a dining strip.
I-Con (Iloilo Convention Center), the city’s convention center, is also situated in the business park, in between Richmonde Hotel and Courtyard by Marriot.
“(The convention center) is centered between hotels to attract international tourists who want to have conventions. If they are to conduct conventions, they are assured of quality stay in the hotels,” Geronimo said.
He added that it was Senate President Franklin Drilon, a native of Molo, Iloilo, who first asked for a venue for conventions to be constructed in the city.
As part of its tourism platform, City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog then planned to build a convention center.
Mabilog’s spokesperson Rey Delfin said that there has been a 41.5 percent increase in tourism from 2014 to 2015.
“Megaworld donated a 1.7-hectare lot and the services of the architect as well. I-Con was inaugurated by the President in September 2015,” he said.
I-Con General Manager Ludy Ho said that since its inauguration, the convention center has hosted the Philippine Councilors’ League and the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Summit last year.
“We’ve also hosted the Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation convention for the last two years,” she said.
As for the hotels, Geronimo said that Courtyard by Marriot is the first luxury brand found in Iloilo and will be better than Marriot Cebu.
About 10 BPO office towers are also set to rise and will make the business park the largest IT-BPO district in Western Visayas.
The dining strip on the other hand, will embrace the Dinagyang’s festivities, which is the city’s official festival.
“The Festive Walk Promenade stretches at two kilometers. It will be the longest shopping and dining strip in the country,” Geronimo said.
The six residential towers will have 1,216 units feature a blend of history and modern art.
“Most OFW (overseas Filipino worker) families bought residences in one of our towers, One Madison Place. The other two, Lafayette Park Square and The Palladium, have a more contemporary theme mixing European and modern art,” Geronimo said.
Although the residential towers are yet to open in 2017, all six are already sold out.
The business park is set to provide 35,000 jobs in the city in the next decade.
“We have 2,000 graduates a year. Aside from that, our community college’s graduates are the poorest of the poor, so meron talaga silang matatakbuhan (they have something to run to),” Delfin said.
About 32 percent of the township has been developed.
SOURCE: SunStar Cebu