The near-treeless parking lot. Photograph by Deiniel Cuvin
Culture Spotlight

Bye Legazpi market, bye trees, hello parking space

The Legazpi Sunday Market has—for now—moved to a new location to make way for a multi-level parking lot currently being developed by Ayala Land. We asked the Makati Commercial Estates Association (MACEA) General Manager, Jon David, for his views on the matter.
ANCX | Mar 29 2019

For many Makati residents, Sundays have meant buying produce and framed Japanese calligraphy (and various other eclectic items) at the Legazpi Sunday market. The brainchild of one of the country’s top advocates of healthy living, Mara Pardo de Tavera, the market has been as much a weekend ritual as Sunday mass and brunch. All that, however, is about to change as a new multi-level parking lot is about to be constructed on the space. In the meantime, the Sunday Market has been consigned to a smaller area nearby, but the general market area is growing less than congenial—trees are already being cut down to make way for the construction. “When you step in Legazpi Market now,” de Tavera says, “it’s the stark reality of business going the wrong way—because do we really need more parking lots?”

Wood from the trees that have been cut down.

We asked Jon David, MACEA General Manager, to answer the question, and to comment about uprooting the Sunday market. For the uninitiated, the Makati Financial District is managed by MACEA and the Ayala Management Corporation (APMC).

Ayala Land, Inc. is a member of the MACEA board. Other board members include Palisades Condo. Corp., Gonzalo, Puyat and Sons, Inc., Valero Tower Condo. Corp., One Salcedo Place Condo. Corp., The Renaissance Condo. Corp., Federal Land, Inc., and Tower One and Exchange Plaza Condo. Corp.

 

More ways to conserve:

 

What the parking lot looks like on a weekday—sans trees there is not much shade to be had during the weekend market.

We were referred to Mr. David by Ayala Land representatives, in the hopes that he could clarify certain concerns raised both by ANCX and the Legazpi Market clientele.

Well before the appointed construction activity on the upgraded parking space, habitu├ęs to the market have already noticed a decided lack of shade—trees have already been cut down to pave the way for the impending construction. While the appropriate business permits have been secured, people still enjoying the Sunday ritual are wondering why construction measures are being done so soon.

Exposed roots of a newly-chopped tree.

In an email interview with Mr. David, ANCX asked why there’s a need to build a multi-level parking space. “We are building a [multi-level] facility to make more efficient use of the space—providing more than double the number of current slots to serve the need of the offices in the area,” David said. At the same time, David also stated that MACEA has fully supported the Legazpi Market for fourteen years. “We love the fact that we are able to provide a space in the Legazpi area that brings the community together, in the same way we encourage and continue to support the Salcedo Saturday Market and the Makati Street Meet along Paseo de Roxas.”

MACEA has also allotted a temporary space for the market—the Corinthian Carpark located 300-meters away from the current location. “Upon completion, the Legazpi market will return to its former space,” David also says. The concern with this arrangement, of course, is how the market will fare on the ground floor of a multi-level parking space. Sans sunlight and its al fresco set-up—not to mention the car fumes that might seep into market produce and other food items—it will be a changed environment.

Close-up of a gone tree.

Two Sundays ago, market goers also noticed that there was a decided lack of shade in their current space. One look around the lot showed that the trees were already being cut down to pave the way for construction. Concerned and disappointed habitu├ęs have expressed their sentiments online. Mr. David says that construction activity will begin on April 15, 2019. “To prepare the site,” he says, “we secured the necessary building permits and entrusted the proper handling of the trees to the Makati LGU’s Department of Environmental Services (DES). Trees identified as endemic or native by the local authority were balled out for replanting.” He also states that MACEA made sure to provide 1,400 seedlings of different species to the Makati DES to compensate for the trees that were removed.

The given up tree.

However way things play out, it is hoped that the age-old need for both business viability and a community-centered market can be accommodated, especially with the changing needs of the times. But however fast the future zips into view, every neighborhood should still have its park, and every community its market.

 

 

Photographs by Deiniel Cuvin