Battle of the malls heats up in Cebu
For the past two decades, the go-to place for meetups, shopping, dining and entertainment in Cebu City was either Ayala Center Cebu or SM City Cebu.
With the recent opening of two more huge malls, choices have widened and competition among the country’s retail giants in this city has gone up to a new level.
Each new mall aims to offer more than shopping and provide a total leisure and lifestyle package, officials said.
SM Prime Holdings, Inc., biggest mall developer in the country with 56 malls, is creating a “lifestyle city” out of SM Seaside City Cebu at the South Road Properties.
Robinsons Land Corp., second biggest mall developer with 41 malls, is hoping to convince Cebuanos that Robinsons Galleria Cebu, its biggest development outside Metro Manila, is “everybody’s new favorite place.”
Not to be left behind, Cebu Holdings, Inc. has continued to promote Ayala Center Cebu as the “icon of style,” with over 90 global brands in its new wing.
Each mall forms part of a mixed-use complex that also offers residential units, offices and a hotel, hence the terms “lifestyle city” for SM and “live-work-play synergy” for Ayala.
BIGGEST IN VISMIN
SM Seaside City Cebu, a nautilus-shaped mall, opened at the SRP on November 27.
With a gross floor area of 430,000 square meters, it is the biggest mall in the Visayas and Mindanao. It is the 56th mall of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and the third SM mall in Cebu, the others being SM City Cebu and SM City Consolacion.
More than 170 tenants have opened, including international brands that are setting up their first outlets in Cebu, such as Sfera and TonyMoly. When fully operational, the mall can accommodate up to 447 tenants.
“We see Metro Cebu as one of our important growth corridors following our growth track in Metro Manila,” Hans T. Sy, SM Prime president, said in a previous statement.
SM Seaside will soon feature the “Seaside Tower,” a 147-meter viewing tower; Sky Park, which will offer dining options in an elevated garden; and an interactive children’s playground with water features.
The mall is the anchor development of the 30-hectare SM Seaside Complex, which will have residential and office units, a hotel and an ocean park.
SM Prime is also set to further expand next year its first mall here, SM City Cebu, Sy added.
The six-story Robinsons Galleria Cebu opened on December 10 at the corner of Gen. Maxilom Ave. and S. Osmeña St.
“Much thought was given to the mall’s design. We had to change design plans several times because we wanted to make sure that it would be aesthetically beautiful,” said Frederick Go, Robinsons Land president and chief operating officer.
A major come-on is the giant guitar, which officials say supports the new Cebu brand – Cebu, where the heart sings.
The mall also boasts of well-loved Visayan food brands like Sans Rival from Dumaguete, Bohol Bee Farm from Panglao, and The Chocolate Chamber from Cebu. It also houses the first Robinsons Selections in Cebu, a spacious upscale supermarket that offers more imported brands and a more premium selection of merchandise.
The mall serves as the centerpiece of the Galleria Complex, which will include three residential condominium buildings, business process outsourcing (BPO) offices, and a 220-room Summit Hotel.
Two more Robinsons malls are being eyed for Cebu, Go said.
Ayala Center Cebu, which opened in November 1994, continues to attract its target market primarily because of its central location and the convenience it offers as the centerpiece of the Cebu Business Park.
Its new wing, which completed the mall’s circular design, houses over 90 global brands. “Ayala Center has continuously offered the most unique and rewarding shopping and dining experiences to both its local and tourist patrons. It defines enviable tenant mix plus well-thought-of amenities and services,” said Ayala Center Cebu General Manager Celeste “Bong” Dy.
What makes it unique? Dy cited its open spaces, the Roofdeck Gardens, Gallery and the Terraces, which also serves as venue for the Art Park which artists use as their canvas. “The open-air Terraces provides the much-needed breath of fresh air and pocket of green in the thriving metropolis. It is a perfect place to relax and admire the view while enjoying a meal or a cup of coffee at any one of the many restaurants and cafés located in the area,” Dy added.
The mall is the centerpiece of the commercial superblock at the Cebu Business Park. In the next five years, Dy said they will realize the “live-work-play synergy” at Ayala Center Cebu with the completion of the Park Point Residences, CBP Corporate Center and The Alcoves.
Another mall, the Central Bloc, will rise at the Cebu IT Park, another Ayala development.
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