White Gold to close for 2 years for P1B face-lift

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita May 08,2018

WHITE Gold Club, the Gaisano-owned 20-year-old mall at the North Reclamation Area will undergo a 2-year, P1 billion renovation. CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

ONE of Cebu City’s oldest local malls, the White Gold Club, will be closed starting at the end of June.

The 20-year-old mall will undergo a two-year renovation, which will transform the property into a four-level mall with basement parking.

According to the mall’s management, it will be investing at least P1 billion for the renovation project which will upgrade its facilities.

Joseph Gaisano Jr., White Gold Club general manager, said in an interview on Tuesday that the renovation had been planned three years ago, but it was only put into action recently.

“We are trying to upgrade the facilities. The building is already more than 20 years old. It’s about time to renovate it,” Gaisano told Cebu Daily News.

Gaisano said they called the project as a renovation project because they were not sure whether to demolish the whole building or just a portion of it.

He said they decided to push through with the renovation of the White Gold Club along A. Soriano Ave. in the North Reclamation Area in Cebu City after they finished renovations in their other mall in General Santos City.

According to the White Gold Club management, they decided to close the entire area for the duration of the renovation, which would start toward the end of June.

The department store portion of the mall was already closed earlier this month and the demolition of a portion of the building.

Aside from the department store, White Gold Club also has a supermarket and tenants including restaurants. It also has a public utility jeepney (PUJ) terminal.

Although drawings for the renovation plans are still being finalized, Gaisano said the new White Gold Club will have a different format.

“We want to modernize it a little bit more. It’s been overdue. We will upgrade the looks and everything. What we’re looking at is there will be a mall area, an atrium. We are also looking at putting movie theaters and a food area. But the full design is still fluid as of now,” he said.

He said they decided to only have four floors for the project to comply with the moratorium imposed by the Cebu City government against high-rise construction projects within the city after the recent fire that hit one of the malls in the city.

White Gold Club opened in 1996 and has positioned itself as a “price-conscious” mall.

Employees

The mall currently has around 300 employees, who will be offered by the management to undergo trainings and continue working in their other properties in Mindanao.

Gaisano said the management would shoulder the expenses of the employees who would agree to be relocated and would be accommodated in bunkhouses near their other malls in Mindanao. They would also continue to receive their salaries.

“They will be going through training because we are also bringing in a new system. Some of them will be trained in our sister companies in Davao and General Santos,” he said.

He also assured that these employees would be prioritized once the new White Gold Club reopens.

However, Gaisano added that they would not stop employees if they would decide to just resign from their jobs.

As to their tenants, Gaisano said there are still ongoing discussions between them and the management.

“We will try to find out what we can do to help them. There are still ongoing discussions internally. We are trying to accommodate them in what way we can. Maybe, we can find a temporary area for them,” he said.

Among the tenants within the White Gold Club area are Handuraw Pizza and Iki Drum Yakiniku Restaurant. There is also a gym being housed in the area.

When sought for comment, the Handuraw Pizza management said they were “deeply distressed and saddened” by the decision of the White Gold Club management.

Eric Smith, Handuraw’s managing director, said they spent for the infrastructure of their branch in White Gold Club because they were assured of a longer stay.

The branch opened just last October 2016 and they have a two-year contract.

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