Monday, 11 April 2011

SM Prime starts work on P20-billion commercial site in Cebu

Marites S. Villamor

CEBU CITY -- SM Prime Holdings broke ground here on Friday over its P20-billion mixed-use complex anchored by a four-level shopping mall as part of its broader strategy to expand in the provinces where more tracts of land are available.

The SM Seaside Complex will feature a P4.5-billion, four-level retail site, claimed to be the largest in the Visayas, and will be about three-fourths the size of the SM Mall of Asia, officials said.

This will be SM’s third mall in Cebu, after the SM City Cebu that opened 17 years ago and the SM Consolacion that is under construction.
Negotiations are ongoing for a fourth, said SM Prime President Hans T. Sy.

Work on the road network within the 30-hectare complex will be undertaken first, followed by the construction of a modern, all-white church.

Construction of the mall, which features a nautilus-inspired design that departs from the box-type design, is targeted to start by the third quarter of this year and will be completed before its target opening date in the second quarter of 2013, Mr. Sy said.

Promised major attractions include a 30-storey structure with a viewing deck for tourists and a possible restaurant and sculpture made of glass and LED lights. The new mall will also have a roof garden, an ice skating rink near the food court, an 18-lane bowling center, an IMAX Theatre and a five-theater Cineplex.

Aside from anchor stores SM Department Store and SM Hypermarket, the mall will also host over 800 food and retail outlets.

Hotels, a convention center, residential buildings and community facilities will also be built. Under study is the construction of a hospital and a school, which would either be the Cebu campus of the Sy-owned National University or a local university.

“Every time we build a new mall, we try to improve ourselves. With this ultra-modern design, we want to attract the new generation -- the young ones,” Mr. Sy told reporters after the launch.

This is in line with SM Prime’s plan rolled out back in 2007 to open new malls and acquire land in Metro Manila and also provincial areas where bagging large tracts was said to be more possible.

The firm recently raised P5 billion from issuing five-year floating rate notes to bankroll such expansions.

The mall developer and operator had said it plans to open a total of three new malls: SM City Masinag in Antipolo City, SM City San Fernando in Pampanga and SM City Olongapo in Zambales.

By the end of the year, SM Prime will have 43 malls nationwide with a gross floor area of 5.2 million square meters, according to earlier reports.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sy said they have increased the budget for SM Consolacion to P1.2 billion from P800 million to accommodate changes in the design and work plan.

SM Prime had planned to reconfigure an existing structure in Consolacion town, about 12 kilometers north of this city, but decided to just demolish the building and build a new one.

A third level has been added to the original two-level design and the gross floor area will now be around 70,000 square meters from the previously planned 57,000 square meters, Mr. Sy said.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will be finished this year,” he added.

SM Prime shares closed 1.18% higher on Friday from the previous close at P12 apiece.

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