SM ANCHORS FIRMLY IN CEBU

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02:11 AM November 27th, 2015

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By: Marites Villamor Ilano, Vanessa Claire Lucero, November 27th, 2015 02:11 AM
SM Seaside City is open for business. From left: Hans Sy, president Prime Holdings, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Bishop Antonio Ranola, Felicidad Sy, Vice Gov Agnes Magpale, Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and Herbert Sy. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

SM Seaside City is open for business. From left: SM Prime Holdings president Hans T. Sy, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, Bishop Antonio Ranola, Felicidad Sy, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, Cebu City Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella and Herbert Sy. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

Retail giant opens  Seaside City, its biggest mall in the Visayas and Mindanao

“It’s not the size (that matters). It’s really the concept and the quality. I’m very excited because we’re going to bring in a lot of firsts in Cebu,” said Hans T. Sy, SM Prime president.

Retail giant SM yesterday launched Seaside City, its 56th mall in the country and third in Cebu.

By the time Sy sat down for a press conference after the blessing and ribbon-cutting activities  he said he had taken 14,000 steps just walking around SM’s latest landmark.

“It’s not anymore just about shopping. It’s a way of life. We’re getting people out of their houses to come here and really enjoy life,” Sy said.

“That’s the future of shopping centers – from basic buying to total entertainment.”

He talked about making Seaside City  a “lifestyle city” after the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City where retail coexists with homes, offices, hotels and convention centers.

BUYING POWER

When the mall opens to the general public today,  people can shop in 160 and 170 stores.

Sixty more will open in the next few weeks. The mall can accommodate up to 447 tenants.

Sy said he was confident that Cebuanos, and Filipinos in general, have the buying power to support all this.

“I’m always very confident. Filipinos are avid shoppers. If we don’t give them a chance to shop  here, they just go abroad. And if they go abroad, we would have lost the opportunity,” he said.

FREE BUS

Getting to the mall needs some planning.

No jeepneys serve the route to the South Road Properties.

But free shuttle rides on MyBus units are available in bus stations in SM City, Parkmall in Mandaue, Mambaling (Phoenix Petroleum), and Lawaan, Talisay City from Nov. 27 to 30.

Bonicacio Day on Monday, Nov. 30, is a holiday.

Yesterday, motorcycle-for-hire drivers could already be seen parked a few meters from the mall.

A blessing of the mall was held after Holy Mass officiated by Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma, with retired Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal, and over 35 priests.

Guests either drove there in private cars or caught free shuttle rides to the mall.

FOURTH BIGGEST

The new mall occupies 430,000 square meters, almost double that of SM City Cebu in the North Reclamation Area.

This makes it the fourth biggest in the country, after Megamall, North Edsa and Mall of Asia.

The mall is expected to employ 8,000 to 10,000 workers.

SM SEASIDE/NOV 26,2015: The SM Seaside spiral staircase. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

A spiral staircase in the mall is one of its dramatic features, like the giant cube outside the main entrance and a nautilus design for the massive structure. (CDN PHOTO/TONEE DESPOJO)

A viewing tower will rise in the middle with a panoramic 360-degree view of Cebu City and a Sky Park designed by Kenneth Cobonpue.

As tall as a 45-story building, the Seaside Tower will have dining outlets and an elevated garden with water features that will open in the middle of next year.

This is among the “firsts” being planned, including an ocean park and an interactive child-friendly park with water features.

The mall’s exterior was designed like a nautilus seashell.

A giant metal cube in the front is its iconic symbol.

The massive mall  aims to attract not only the locals, but the tourists as well when operations go full blast by the middle of next year.

“Our records show that about 80 percent of tourists who go to Manila go to the Mall of Asia. So, if we could do the same here – get 80 percent of the tourists who come to Cebu to also come here – we’re very confident of attracting the people,” Sy said.

“We are replicating this concept of ‘lifestyle cities’ in Cebu. We see Metro Cebu as one of our important growth corridors in the Visayas and Mindanao following our growth track in Metro Manila,” Sy said in a statement.

Aside  from the mall, the 30-hectare complex in SPR will offer residences, offices, and a five-star hotel. After the mall, Sy said they will undertake the residential projects next.

An oceanarium, to be called Cebu Ocean Park, is expected to open to the left of the San Pedro Calungsod chapel by mid-2017.

P20 BILLION

SM Prime plans to invest at least P20 billion, a conservative estimate, in developing the 30-hectare complex over the next five years.

The company will also spend P3 billion to P4 billion in a sports-entertainment arena, which will rise within the 26-hectare lot that a consortium of SM and Ayala acquired recently.

Sy told reporters SM Prime is looking at a fourth mall project in Cebu, one of 19 new malls that the company has committed to open in the country by 2018.

The company is also keen on reclaiming 1,500 hectares of foreshore land in Cordova town on Mactan Island.

“That would be also very exciting. Just like what we’re doing in Manila, we would be able to show people how an ideal city should be, wherein it’s all planned out properly and people won’t have to ride or drive to go anywhere,” he told reporters.

The proposed reclamation has been initially approved by the Cordova municipal government but several regulatory requirements need to be met before it can proceed.

The developer targets a total of 75 malls in the country by 2018.

Simultaneous with the Seaside Complex development, SM Prime will also build an arena  on 3.5 hectares and develop its share of the 26-hectare SRP lot that it acquired together with the Ayala Group.

The arena will be built in two to three years.

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