North Avenue LRT station
|Manila Light and Manila Metro Rail Transit Systems|
|Other names||Unified Grand Central Station|
North Avenue Common station (official temporary designation Unified Grand Central Station) is the proposed interchange station that will connect LRT-1, MRT-3 , the southern terminus of the proposed MRT-7 , and the Mega Manila Subway. The station is planned to be located in Barangay Bagong Pag–asa in Quezon City and is named after its location, which is at the corner of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) and North Avenue..
The common alignment, which aims to link the Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line 1 to the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Lines 3 and 7, has been in limbo since the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) reviewed the project’s technical and financial components years back. It was in January 2017 that an agreement was reached to build the station.
On June 2, 2011, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) called for bidders for the contract to build the station, which was estimated to cost PhP1.5 billion. But on July 13 of that year, then-Secretary of Transportation and Communications Mar Roxas announced a review of the project and considering adding store space for lease. The government, by that time, had allotted PhP2 billion for its construction.
Moreover, a BusinessWorld article dated July 22, 2012 cites that the government has shelved the project indefinitely due to the Philippine financial crisis in favor of demolition of the tracks and pillars. Secretary Roxas announced that the common station was "being studied by engineers because it is not really included in the original plan" of the MRT-3 and that problems may arise with regards to the trains' loop timing. He included that in the event that the station does not go through, the PhP200 million paid by SM Prime Holdings, Inc., the operator of SM City North EDSA and other SM Malls, to the Light Rail Transit Authority for naming rights may have to be returned.
However, at the start of the year 2013, Roxas' successor new Transportation and Communications secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya cites that the government has cancelled and abandoned the project indefinitely because the construction of the common station was supposed to be completed back in May 2010 during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo but disputes over cost, engineering issues and naming rights caused due to the halting of the project by Arroyo's successor President Benigno Aquino III on January 2, 2013. No plans of transfer the grand central station (Malvar or TriNoma Mall).
On January 9, 2013 cites that the government has filed for the candidacies for three sites of the common station linking three rapid transit systems for Metro Manila, DOTC is not keen on build the common station in front of the Annex Building of the SM City North EDSA Shopping Mall, adding that other potential locations are the TriNoma Mall and Malvar LRT station in Caloocan City. Abaya said the agency is awaiting the results of a study that would determine the final location of the common station. He had said the original design near SM City North EDSA Annex was "ineffective and costly" because the rails of MRT Line 3 would have to be extended and trains would have to be added.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that SM would be able to keep the naming rights for the station, even if it is transferred near rival Ayala's TriNoma mall.
This led to the change of the station’s location, which was initially set to be near SM City North EDSA, earning the ire of the group of the country’s largest mall operator SM Prime Holdings Inc., which paid an initial P200 million for the naming rights of the station.
Transportation officials have repeatedly said building the station near TriNoma is both economically and environmentally viable, as this would result in a lower cost and less urban blight.
SM Prime then brought its battle to the Supreme Court, which issued a stay order against the DOTC and the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) in June 2014, enjoining them to stop the transfer of the common alignment’s location.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya also said in the previous interviews that they planned to build two common stations in order to resolve the location issue.
At a business forum held on August 12, 2016, Department of Transportation (now abbreviated as DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade said that all stakeholders namely Metro Pacific Corporation, Universal LRT of San Miguel Corporation, SM Prime Holdings, and Ayala Corporation had agreed in principle that the common station will be built in North Avenue between the Southeast end of SM North EDSA and North side of the Trinoma Mall.
Negotiations took about 8 years for the station to be built near SM North EDSA and Trinoma
A memorandum of agreement was signed by the station's stakeholders on January 18, 2017.
On 2009, SM Prime Holdings which owns SM North EDSA secured naming rights for the station by paying ₱200 million while Ayala which owns Trinoma contributed ₱150 million which also made it eligible for naming rights. In January 2017 it was agreed that naming rights of both SM Prime Holdings and Ayala will be honored and until the two companies agreed upon a name, the station shall be known as the Unified Grand Central Station.
Construction of the station is set to begin within 2017 and is planned to be completed in April 2019. Three areas were designated for the project with each area with its own developers. Area A which will host a platform and concourse for LRT-1 and MRT-3 will be developed by the Department of Transportation. Area B, which covers two concourses that will connect Areas A and C will be developed by NTDCC, an affiliate of Ayala Land. San Miguel Corporation will develop and finance Area C which will host the MRT-7 platform. By January 2017 the projected cost for the station is ₱2.8 billion.
The station will have three levels, with the ground level being the street level that connects to the transport terminal in Trinoma and also entrance/exit points in EDSA and North Avenue. The 2nd level serves as the concourse of the station with ticketing counters for all lines, with connections to SM City North EDSA, Trinoma and the Paramount Footbridge (going to West Avenue). The third floor serves as the platforms for all lines.
- Gonzales, Yuji Vincent (19 January 2017). "What will the MRT-LRT common station be called?". INQUIRER.net. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
- Paolo G., Montecillo (5 June 2011). "Bidders for LRT-MRT central station sought". Inquirer.net. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
- Montecillo, Paolo G. (13 July 2011). "DOTC reviews MRT-LRT central station project". Inquirer.net. Retrieved 24 October 2012.
- "SM ready to end feud with Ayala".
- "DOTC to choose among 3 possible sites for common train station".
- Ong, Jennifer (19 January 2017). "MRT, LRT Common Station Construction To Start In 2017". International Business Times. IBT Media Inc. Retrieved 19 January 2017.