Three locations at SRP eyed for transfer of Cebu City Hall
CEBU CITY, Philippines — With the current city administration’s plan to relocate the city hall to the South Road Properties (SRP), an official of the Cebu City Planning and Development Office (CPDO) presented to the city council last week the three proposed site options.
CPDO head Architect Joseph Michael Espina, however, clarified that these site options are still “very preliminary” and need the mayor’s approval.
The move to transfer the city hall, visited by thousands of clients daily, to the SRP is expected to boost the economic activity in the city-invested area and pave the way for the current administration’s plan to convert the legislative and executive building of the city hall into a bigger Cebu City Museum.
The existing city hall, located at Dr. Jose P. Rizal St. corner M.C. Briones Street and D. Jakosalem Street in Barangay Sto. Niño, has a total lot area of 4,300 square meters, with the four-story Legislative building occupying a floor area of about 1,552 square meters and the Executive building standing on 950 square meters with eight stories.
Espina said a lot area thrice or as four times as big as the existing lot area of the current city hall is conducive for the new city hall, which will have foreground and other elements that would make the new city hall an imposing and respected structure as the city’s seat of power.
Three proposed SRP locations
The first of the three locations eyed by the CPDO is the 19,000-square-meter property at the SRP tower.
Espina said the location is in front of the waterfront area and is advantageous for it has direct access to the south coastal boulevard highway.
He said it is also a prominent location because it has the best view of the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressways (CCLEX).
However, Espina noted that of the three options, this location has the smallest land area for the new city hall. It is also not conducive for an expansion as its southern portion is already the Ayala-SM consortium.
“Fronting it is already the waterway towards the Mactan channel, and it is also very near the highway… it is prone to noise pollution from the vehicles. It is also near the industrial area: that’s LUDO Oil Mill just in front. And it is exposed to sea level rise and storm surges because it’s very near the Mactan channel,” Espina said.
Second proposed location for new City Hall
The second proposed location is a 55,000 square meters property at the southern portion of the SRP, near the Talisay boundary.
This location, Espina said, has direct access to the South Coastal Road and is very near the new Central Business District (those are the Filinvest properties) and nearer the planned Cebu Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) stations.
The disadvantage, however, is that this location is nearer the Inayawan dumpsite and it is also subjected to the noise pollution from the highway.
Espina said the location could also be exposed to sea level rise and storm surges as it faces the open sea towards Bohol.
Third proposed SRP site
Moreover, Espina said the third option, at the tip of the Pond A, with a 5.5 hectares land area, is what they prefer.
This site, he said, is advantageous in terms of traffic and utilities. Espina said they plan to develop the Pond A into a grid-type street system and to build a circular rotunda there.
“We will replicate the Fuente Osmeña but 140 meters inside diameter, probably that is the foreground to the new site option 3 for the proposed new city hall…It has a lot of area for expansion…The foreground could be a linear park,” he said.
Espina said it could be a prominent site as it is central to the South Coastal Urban Development (SCUD) Project and the commercial area like the SM Seaside and the new CBD and the BRT station.
Espina, however, said that half of the land still needs to be reclaimed and it has a limited view of the CCLEX bridge.
The CPDO is proposing to build three buildings: Executive and Legislative buildings and Service building that could house the Department of General Services, fire trucks, and all other services and service equipment.
Meanwhile, Councilor James Cuenco suggested that the city could settle with the cheaper option to make the prime locations available for lease for the private sector and, in turn, could generate more income for the city.
Espina said the least valuable or cheaper option is to have the new city hall built near the SRP tower, but for him, this site is not very conducive for the city hall.
He said that should the city decides on option number 3, the city need not occupy the entire 5.5 hectares. This land’s remaining square meters may still be leased to private businesses for commercial use.
If the project would be implemented in phases, Vice Mayor Raymond Alvin Garcia also suggested moving the legislative building first.
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