With the facilities of the Santa Ana Park relocated to Naic, Cavite in 2009, work began on the redevelopment of the old Santa Ana Park property, at least most of the property. Spearheading the redevelopment was Ayala Land which had a vision of transforming the area to become Makati’s next commercial and residential hub.
The result was Circuit Makati, a development which spanned 21 hectares of the original racecourse. Work began in 2011 and is still ongoing at this time of writing. Nevertheless, as the work progressed, Circuit Makati slowly began to take shape as new facilities and venues were being built in the area over the years.
While it can be seen as yet another commercial development for an already highly urbanized and highly congested metropolis, there is one unique thing that makes Circuit Makati stand out, its proximity to the Pasig River. Say what you want about the Pasig River, but objectively speaking, the river (at least at the part where Circuit Makati is located) does not smell bad. Also, it brings a cool atmosphere that is present in riverside communities, urbanization aside.
Come to think of it, Circuit Makati is perhaps the first commercial development in the country that embraced and took advantage of its location by the Pasig River. It is a boost that Pasig River sorely needs as there are efforts to bring the river to life once more.
Circuit Makati also stands our for having two facilities that you are hard-pressed to find in a commercial development. One of them is an outdoor events venue called, of course, the Circuit Events Ground. With a capacity of handling up to 20000 people, the Circuit Events Ground was opened in 2013 and has since become a popular venue for outdoor events like concerts, live events and the like. This makes Circuit Makati one of the very few commercial developments that has a dedicated outdoor venue for live events. (SM Mall of Asia does not count since their “concert grounds” do not have a fixed location)
A few blocks from the ground stands another unique facility at Circuit Makati: a dedicated area for skateboarders that is officially called the Mountain Dew Skate Park. For skateboarders, this is a piece of heaven since they can now do what they love freely, without having to be bothered by authorities who would drive them away. Yet again, Circuit Makati is one of the very few commercial developments that offer such facility.
While horseraces are no longer held here, sports remains alive at Circuit Makati with the presence of a football field with a blue artificial turf, the Gatorade Chelsea FC Blue Pitch Field. (built with the help of European football club Chelsea FC) And beside the field is a kart racing venue, City Kart Racing.
Being a commercial development, of course there is the retail area, the Circuit Lane, which offers rows of retail and dining choices. Not as many as those in, say Bonifacio High Street, but the somewhat quiet, low-key vibe of the area as a whole, makes it more “intimate” in character that makes for good and low-key kind of fun, away from maddening crowds that we see in the shopping mall these days.
The only thing that is unfortunate to see in all this was that some of the heritage of the old Santa Ana Park were not saved and made their way to today’s Circuit Makati. It would have been a good opportunity to do some adaptive reuse that was wasted.
At this time of writing, Circuit Makati is still halfway complete as the construction for the residential and office buildings have yet to be completed. But for now, it is nice to see Circuit Makati shaping up as a unique commercial district in the city, offering unique sights and facilities that make it stand among the rest as a unique landmark on the rise. At the very least, it will be interesting to see how it will turn out once everything has been completed.