Corporate News



BY CLIFF HARVEY C. VENZON, Reporter


Central station near SM North shelved




Posted on July 23, 2012


THE GOVERNMENT has shelved a plan to build a train station near the SM City North EDSA mall as a link for three railway lines, a cabinet official said, pointing to timing problems the new stop could cause.

PLANS to build a central rail station near SM City North EDSA mall in Quezon City has been shelved due to foreseen looping problems. -- CRECENCIO I CRUZ
“It is currently being studied by engineers because it is not really included in the original plan,� Transportation Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II told BusinessWorld in a chance interview last week, referring to the Metro Manila Integrated Rail Terminal or “common station� initially targeted by the earlier administration to be completed by May 2010.

This was supposed to link the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT-1) and the planned MRT-7 for seamless travel.

SM Prime Holdings, Inc., the operator of SM malls, had earlier given the Light Rail Transit Authority P200 million for “naming rights� over the project.

In the meantime, rival Ayala Land, Inc.’s TriNoma mall solely enjoys direct connection to the train station in the area.

A new station near SM City North EDSA, in between LRT-1’s Roosevelt Station and MRT-3’s North Ave. Station, might cause complications to the train loop, Mr. Roxas said.

“The last station of LRT-1 and the last station of [MRT-3] in TriNoma is roughly 600 meters apart only,� he said. “So it will disrupt the trains’ loop timing.�

Mr. Roxas said that in the event that the project will no longer push through, the government might return SM Prime’s money.

“We may return [it],� he said. [But] I don’t know if we can return it… I am not familiar with the terms.�

“We will do what is right. We cannot just proceed… There is no provision for [a common terminal] in the original design of the MRT-3,� Mr. Roxas added.

SM Investment Corp., the parent firm of SM Prime, declined to comment.

The 16.95-kilometer (km) MRT-3 runs along EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Ave.) from North Ave. in Quezon City to Taft Ave. in Manila.

The 20.7-km LRT-1, meanwhile, runs from Baclaran Station in Pasay City to Roosevelt Station in Quezon City.

Construction for the third line that would have been linked to the central terminal, MRT-7, has yet to secure “financial closure� from Japanese lenders, earlier reports show.

The project proposal was reportedly referred back to the National Economic and Development Authority from the Finance department for reevaluation, previous reports showed.

Nevertheless, San Miguel Corp. -- which controls Universal LRT Corp. (BVI) Ltd., the concessionaire of the MRT-7 -- has firmed up a deal with D. M. Consunji, Inc. last May for the construction of the railway.

The MRT-7 project involves the construction of a 22-km train line with 14 train stations from San Jose del Monte in Bulacan to the corner of North Ave. and EDSA in Quezon City, linking up with the LRT-1 and MRT-3.

Shares of SM Prime Holdings rose by 4.29% to P13.60 apiece while shares of San Miguel also went up by 1.33% to P114 apiece when the stock market closed on Friday.

Ayala Land shares rose by 0.49% to P20.45 apiece on Friday.