From Frontera Verde to Ortigas East: Redeveloping a Young Commercial Development

The story of Tiendesitas as shared by the Urban Roamer last time is not just a story confined within the commercial complex. Rather, its story is just part of a greater story at play in the area where Tiendesitas is located.

The area was originally called Frontera Verde (Green Frontier) which was envisioned to be a mixed-use development project of Ortigas & Company. With Tiendesitas as the centerpiece, the original idea was for the area to have a number of residential and commercial establishments that would make it a new center of commerce in the eastern metropolis.

SM Center Pasig
Transcom Building

Soon after Tiendesitas’ opening in 2005, a few structures followed in the course of 10 years. There was the SM Hypermarket branch which provided the market component, a trade hall and events venue called Silver City (which also housed the popular Alchemy Bar), a children’s amusement place called Fun Ranch, the Ark Avilon mini zoo, 2 call center buildings, and the office and worship center for a Christian church.

Fun Ranch

But while those structures helped create foot traffic in the area, it was not enough to generate buzz or stimulate greater commercial activity in Frontera Verde. Perhaps the “accessibility” of the area played a major factor. Or perhaps the development of the area was lacking. Whatever the case, something had to be done to inject new life in the area.

As a result, changes were made in the area, albeit in the gradual scale. As mentioned previously, Tiendesitas was the first to be given the makeover in the middle of the 2010s. Then in 2018, plans were unveiled to redevelop Frontera Verde itself, which by then has been rechristened as Ortigas East, (not be confused with East Ortigas, which is the name SM gave to one of its newer malls, which bring me to something I’ll be bringing up later)

Silver City

This time though, Ortigas and Company is serious in Ortigas East’s (re)development as two major projects have been launched. One of the is a 34-storey office building called Glaston Towers and a cluster of residential buildings called the Verdant Towers.

A rendering of Glaston Towers (courtesy of Asya Design and SkyscraperCity)
A rendering of one of the towers of Verdant Towers (courtesy of SkyscraperCity)

Now why and how has Ortigas and Company become so more gung-ho now for the area now called Ortigas East? The answer may lie with what went on within the company itself, especially during 2013-2016. That period was actually quite a tumultuous period for the company as two factions, both belonging to the same Ortigas clan nonetheless, vied for control of the company. What made this feud more interesting was that each faction had the support of a behemoth in property development, with one faction being supported by the SM Group and another by the Ayala Group.

Eventually the feud was settled and in 2016, it was announced that SM and Ayala will each have a stake in Ortigas and Company. It was the boost Ortigas and Company needed to move forward with its plans, most especially in Ortigas East with the added manpower and capital to boot.

CCF Building

It remains to be seen whether Ortigas East will finally live up to its potential as promising development that Frontera Verde was supposed to be. It will be interesting to see how things will turn out.

Acknowledgements as well to Skyscrapercity and ABS-CBN News

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