Notice to clean up space raises tenants hopes for mall’s reopening
After receiving notice that they can come in to clean up their stores, tenants and merchants are now hopeful that Ayala Center Cebu will reopen soon.
Bunny Pages, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Pages Holdings Inc. (PHI), said they are ready to open and are just waiting for the mall to give them the go signal.
“Ayala has allowed us to do the clean up and electrical testing these past few days. We’re actually ready to open now,” he told Cebu Daily News in an interview.
PHI operates five brands inside the mall which include Thirsty, Mooon Cafe, Mismukuno Teppanyaki, Fruitfull and Taters.
Pages said the 63 employees, who were previously stationed in the stores located inside Ayala Center Cebu, were moved to other branches until such time the mall reopens.
The Primer Group of Companies, which operates 14 stores inside the mall, also confirmed that they are currently conducting clean up and inventory management.
“Our operations team has entered and checked our stores inside Ayala (Center Cebu). They still have to send their assessment (report),” said Leslee Morales, Primer Group of Companies marketing supervisor for Visayas and Mindanao.
The group’s stores inside the mall include ROX, DC, Bratpack, Grind, Delsey, FitFlop, Sneakpeek, Flight001, Herschel, Stance, Tumi, Sledgers, ResToeRun, and The Travel Club.
Lawyer Jeanette Japzon, corporate communications manager of Cebu Holdings Inc. (CHI), reiterated that they do not have a definite schedule as to when the mall will reopen.
She said they are still busy removing the 60-ton cooling towers of Metro department store which is adjacent to the main mall of Ayala.
Japzon, however, said they have finished a thorough clean up and systems check in the main mall.
News of Ayala Center Cebu’s temporary closure generated disappointments and sad notes from patrons, who frequent the mall during the previous years when the Sinulog festival was held.
Johanna Mahinay, 25, said she looks forward to the different activities inside the mall.
Because CHI, which manages and operates the mall, did not announce that the mall will be open on Sunday (January 21), Mahinay said there is “something missing” with the celebration.
“I love to go Ayala to buy my Sinulog outfits, meet up with my friends and watch the annual fireworks display,” said Mahinay, who grew up in the nearby village of Barrio Luz.
But Japzon of CHI said the Sinulog spirit is still alive at the Cebu Business Park (CBP) despite the fact that the Ayala Center Cebu remains closed, 10 days after a massive fire hit the neighboring Metro Department Store and Supermarket.
She said some activities such as the Balik Cebu dinner for balikbayans and fireworks display will continue at different venues inside the CBP.
Japzon said CHI will host the Balik Cebu dinner for Cebuano balikbayans at the Sinulog Ballroom of City Sports Club Cebu, which is located on Cardinal Rosales Avenue within the CBP.
For several years, the dinner was held at the Terraces of the mall.
The Plus63 Music and Arts Festival will be held at the Negros road in CBP on Saturday evening (January 20) while the fireworks display will still push through at 9 p.m. on Sunday (January 21).