Glorietta, Ayala Center

The Ayala Center Story: Final Part – Redeveloping Glorietta and beyond

The Glorietta blast that happened on October 19, 2007 is considered to be the end not only of the old Glorietta but also of the old Ayala Center east of Makati Avenue. Indeed, one would look back and realize that the fallout of this particular event not only changed Glorietta but the entire landscape of complex, especially on the southern end.

A look at the satellite imagery showed the extent of the changes in the landscape not only in the buildings that came and went but also in the road network which is something not many people are aware of. It is also an ongoing development that continues to this day,

Ayala Center in 2001 above and in 2019 below (image via Google Earth)

Glorietta 5: the latter-born sibling

After the aforementioned blast, Ayala was determined to “rebuild” Glorietta 1 and 2. But before it could do so, something had to be done with the affected tenants there, at least those that chose to stay. While some of those retail tenants that remained managed to find space in the remaining Glorietta wings, others were left behind. So Ayala hurriedly constructed a new building at the site of an open parking lot beside Rustan’s to accommodate those affected retailers. The building opened in 2009 as a “new wing” of Glorietta called Glorietta 5.

Glorietta 5 marked the beginning of Ayala venturing into mixed development projects which combined retail area and office space, with the retail mall occupying 3 floors at the podium and a 5-level office tower above it, which is being occupied by business process outsourcing (BPO) offices. However, it has one big flaw. I’m not talking about the plain architecture and all but rather the lack of connectivity that has long been the guiding principle of Ayala Center. Sure it has an underground link to Glorietta 4, however long-winding it looks, and it’s just walking distance to Rustan’s. But the lack of a physical connection like an elevated walkway gives an impression that Glorietta 5 is this bastard sibling that everyone’s avoiding. And it shows in the meager foot traffic it’s getting compared to the rest of the commercial areas there, even SM and Landmark.

Still, it did its job and served as the temporary home of National Bookstore and other retailers while Glorietta 1 and 2 were being rebuilt. Currently, it serves as the country’s biggest outlet of Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo, occupying 2 levels of the building.

A new vision for Ayala Center’s south wing

While at first it seemed Ayala was concentrating its efforts on redeveloping Glorietta 1 and 2, those plans evolved into something bigger. Soon enough, the southern portion of the complex from the area south of Landmark to the part across Dusit Thani was now up for development. As a result, the former standalone Anson’s appliance store relocated to Ayala’s new parking facility The Link in 2008. Speaking of parking, the Park Square 1 and 2 were demolished as well, with Park Square 2 the last to stand until 2011.

The streets in this part of the complex were also reoriented in the process, the former sharp curves and turns of Palm Drive as it passes through Glorietta 1 and 2 had its curves reduced and more “gentle” while East Drive and West Drive lost the sharp curves in favor of a “straighter alignment”

Fairmont Makati

Replacing old Park Square 2 Anson’s building would be a twin hotel development site. One of the hotels would be managed by the hotel chain behind the famed Raffles Hotel in Singapore while the other would be managed by the Fairmont hotel group. Raffles Makati and Fairmont Makati would open its doors to the public by December 2012.

Raffles Makati

Two years later, a new parking facility would be opened in the site of the old Park Square 2, aptly named Park Square. It still has the retail spaces as the old Park Square buildings though they are fewer now. It also serves as the public transport hub of Ayala Center (for now) serving mainly passengers to and from the south and the east of the city.

Completing the vision for the south part of Ayala Center are two residential tower projects, the 3-tower Park Terraces across Glorietta 2 which was completed by 2017 and the 2-tower Garden Towers across Glorietta 1, set for completion by 2021.

Garden Towers and Park Terraces on the background

The new Glorietta 1 and 2 opens

2012 was a landmark year, not only with the opening of Fairmont Makati and Raffles Makati. More importantly, it also was the year Glorietta 1 and 2 finally reopened to the public, with a new look both inside and out.

For one the interiors are now more lighted compared to Glorietta 3 and Glorietta 2 is more noticably higher above ground compared to Glorietta 3 across, which makes for some sort of disproportionateness But perhaps the most notable in this redevelopment is the new Glorietta Activity Center, replacing the one at the old courtyard. Indeed, the new activity center can accommodate more people in the area above the stage, as well as a larger viewing angle for those at the upper levels. Despite this, the old courtyard served its purpose as an extension of the activity center as well as staging smaller events in the mall.

The other notable part of the new Glorietta 1 and 2 would be added in 2018, a mini-park and dining area at the rooftop Ayala named Top of the Glo. One particular part of the area is the Japan Town, a Tokyo-inspired area filled with Japanese restaurants.

There is also one surprising aspect which has been inspired by the aforementioned Glorietta 5, the presence of two BPO office towers, one on each of the two Gloriettas at 7 levels each. And Makati Shangri-La and the aforementioned Fairmont and Raffles hotels aren’t enough, the Glorietta 1 side is also home to a 19-level hotel, the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites Makati.

One Ayala and the dream transport hub of Makati CBD

The closure and subsequent demolition of Hotel Intercontinental in 2016 paved the way for Ayala to implement yet another component for what is basically Ayala Center 2.0 plan.

Currently under construction at this time of writing is Ayala’s most ambitious project in Ayala Center, to date: an integrated office, retail, hospitality, residences and transport hub right at the corner of EDSA and Ayala Avenue. Given its address at 1 Ayala Avenue, the development has been given the name One Ayala.

One promising aspect of One Ayala is its promise of better mobility and access to public transport. The ground floor will reportedly have terminal for point-to-point buses, with wide bays for regular city buses and a separate terminal for public utility vehicles at the basement. Walkways are supposed to be wider and shaded, as well as easier and better access to the Line 3 Ayala station, as well as the McKinley Exchange terminal where buses bound to Bonifacio Global City are currently stationed. This is a welcome relief, especially for passengers having to bear the narrow walkways of the current Ayala station as well as the stairs at the northbound side which lead to McKinley Exchange.

Redevelopment for Glorietta 3 and 4?

During the redevelopment work for Glorietta 1 and 2, there were rumors that Glorietta 3 and 4 will be temporarily closed once the said work is completed to complement the redesigns that were being made in the former. However, for some reason, those plans did not pan out, for now at least.

However, that does not stop some small-scale redevelopments in Glorietta 3 and 4. One of those is the redesign of Food Choices, the foodcourt area in Glorietta 4. There are also some new stores being planned it seems.

That being said, the future of Glorietta 3 and 4 is still an open question. There is a need for uniformity in design between all Glorietta wings, especially if Ayala intends to bring back Glorietta’s old glory. If they will pursue it at some point in the future and if so, how they will put in into action is something that remains to be seen.

For now, the Urban Roamer ends this Ayala Center series. Here’s hoping you were able to gain a new perspective on this storied commercial complex, along with the hope that whatever Ayala Center evolves into in the future will be something worthy of its rich legacy.

Acknowledgements as well to Skyscrapercity, Santos Knight Frank, Wikipedia, Skyscraper Center, Premier PH Properties, and BluPrint

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