Gaisano Capital Group opens 1,500-seat convention center
The Cebu-based retail company Gaisano Capital Group is positioning its first stand-alone convention center on Mactan Island to be a preferred meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE) destination in Cebu.
The Mactan Island Convention Center (MICC), which can accommodate up to 1,500 people, was formally launched yesterday just as Cebu is pushing itself to become a top MICE destination, having hosted two big international events — the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit meetings in 2015 and the 51st International Eucharistic Congress at the start of 2016.
Located at the phase two building of Gaisano Mactan Island Mall in Barangay Pajo, Lapu-Lapu City, MICC is the first convention center that can host 1,500 people, after the province-owned Cebu International Convention (CICC), which could hold the same capacity, was shut down after it sustained major damage during the October 2013 earthquake.
“While the venue was built to cater to the mid-range market, we would also like to host international events,” Momot Irizari, corporate head for mall operations, lease and administration, said during the formal launching yesterday.
MICC was built as an alternative venue for gatherings, catering to those who couldn’t afford big hotels on Mactan or those looking for an affordable venue, she said.
However, Irizari said they looked forward to hosting big-ticket international fora and conferences. “We will look into the venue’s capacity, accessibility and other technicalities so we can improve our services,” she added.
The MICC, with an approximate floor area of 10,000 square meters, is on the third floor of the mall’s phase two building right beside the main structure. Six rooms from 110 sq.m. to 771 sq.m. on the third floor are ready for use while commercial spaces are open for lease on the first and second floors.
Irizari said MICC, which is Gaisano Capital Group’s first venture into this kind of development, is strategically located as it is only around 20 minutes from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and close to a mall, a public transport terminal and a few budget hotels.
Guests coming through the MCIA no longer have to endure the traffic getting to Cebu City from Mactan Island for meetings as “everything is already where MICC is,” she said.
Irizari said MICC actually had its soft opening and started accepting bookings, mostly from Mactan-based schools, last year, or about a year after phase two of the Gaisano Mactan Island Mall was completed in 2014.
The main mall and its phase two building stand on a 2-hectare lot that the Gaisano family acquired 25 years ago, she said.
In the next five years, she said the Capitol Group would be developing the lot into a mixed-use complex that would include a hotel.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said the city government was very excited about the MICC. “The city has been known to host a lot of local activities and international events. Even for the companies within the MEPZ (Mactan Export Processing Zone), we don’t have convention halls,” she said at the sidelines of the launch yesterday.
Lapu-Lapu City is also home to Hoops Dome, which can accommodate 4,000 to 5,000 people.
Radaza said Hoops Dome mainly hosts concerts, rallies and other populated events while MICC is more apt for intimate gatherings such as conferences, birthdays, and wedding receptions.
“We at the City Hall have limited space during the meetings. We no longer have to look anywhere else. This is it,” she said.
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