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Expansion plans being drawn up for Robinsons Land’s newly opened mall in Tacloban

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES [ BusinessWorld Online ]


TACLOBAN — Robinsons Land Corp. is already planning to build a hotel and expand next year with last week’s opening of a new mall here.

Frederick D. Go, Robinsons Land president and chief operating officer, said the hotel, which will have 100 rooms, will be built near the mall and within the company’s four-hectare property.

"The mall is just the first phase of our development. We still have land available around the mall to expand. The economy is not bad and we think that the mall will do very well here in Tacloban," he told reporters during the opening of Robinsons Place Tacloban.

Lance Y. Gokongwei, president and chief operating officer of Robinsons Land’s parent company JG Summit Holdings, Inc., said in a separate interview that the good business climate and increasing demand for air travel to and from Tacloban prompted the Gokongwei group to include Leyte in its expansion plans.

The Gokongweis are planning to build a 100-room hotel near the new Robinsons mall in Tacloban. — www.robinsons.com

"I think the city has been progressive. Even flights of Cebu Pacific have increased. There’s a lot of demand for travel to Tacloban and Region 8. Two to three years ago, we were only doing two [flights] a day. Now, we are going four flights daily from Manila and once to Cebu. That’s a reflection of the economy progressing," said Mr. Gokongwei, who is also president and chief executive officer of budget airline Cebu Pacific Air.

He said Robinsons Land was upbeat about expanding the mall business this year despite the global crisis.

"The global financial crisis affects everybody. It’s really just managing to grow despite that. We’ve been very positive about provincial expansion," Mr. Gokongwei said.

Robinsons Land, the real estate arm of JG Summit, earlier reported an 11% increase in earnings for the first half of its 2009 fiscal year due to strong revenues from mall operations.

In a statement, Robinsons Land said its income for the first six months of the fiscal year hit P1.62 billion.

Prior to the opening of Robinsons Place Tacloban, Robinsons Cybergate Mall Davao was opened. Part of this year’s expansion is the opening of commercial centers in General Santos, Dumaguete, and Ilocos Norte. — Sarwell Q. Meniano

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