Razon drops bid for Rizal Memorial
Businessman Enrique Razon Jr. dropped a multibillion-peso bid to redevelop the 11-hectare Rizal Memorial Sports Complex in Manila into a modern urban complex.
Razon said in a chance interview the proposed redevelopment of the sports complex on Pablo Ocampo St. in Malate would no longer be pursued because of the opposition by the Philippine Sports Commission, a major tenant in the complex.
“It will no longer proceed. PSC opposes it,” Razon said.
RMSC is owned by the city government of Manila, but PSC has usufruct rights to the property.
Razon’s group submitted a proposal in December 2016 to redevelop the country’s national sports complex.
The redevelopment would involve the construction of contemporary buildings to house modern offices and commercial areas run by smart technologies, with modern amenities and green open space.
The redevelopment also involves a preservation plan that will maintain and fortify the façade. A sports museum will also be built.
The proposed redevelopment aims to enable Manila to quickly catch up with other cities in the National Capital Region that have quickly grown and modernized.
The proposed plan will also provide a new revenue stream for Manila and create thousands of jobs.
Built in 1934, RMSC was reconstructed in 1953 after its destruction during the World War II and renovated in 2011.
Legendary baseball players Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth once played an exhibition match in the baseball stadium in the 1930s.
RMSC has not undergone any structural and facilities improvements or upgrading since its renovation in 2011, rendering it virtually unsuitable and unsafe not only for training athletes, but also for holding local and international games.
Managed by the PSC, the property itself is owned by the City of Manila.
Manila has not generated any income from RMSC for years, leaving the city with no funds to modernize the facilities.
RMSC consists of the coliseum, the swimming center, the baseball stadium and the track and football stadium. The four main facilities serve as venue of various local and international sports events including Far Eastern Games, 1954 Asian Games and the Southeast Asian Games in 1981, 1991 and 2005.
PSC earlier said it planned to rehabilitate RMSC for the country’s hosting of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
Various groups also expressed opposition to the planned RMSC redevelopment, citing the need to preserve the country’s national sports facility.