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New Ayala mall in CdO 66% leased out

Posted on March 18, 2012 10:01:54 PM [ BusinessWorld Online ]

CAGAYAN DE ORO -- In what company officials termed as an unprecedented show of support, some 220 merchants for the upcoming Centrio Mall in this city joined a promotional event hosted by Ayala Land, Inc. and Anflo Management & Investment Corp. (Anflocor) last week.

“This is an unprecedented show of support,” Antonino T. Aquino, Ayala Land president and chief executive, told local media.

“We have never had this number of merchants fly over to a regional mall. This is a vote of confidence not only in Ayala but Cagayan de Oro as well.”

Ma. Rowena M. Tomeldan, vice-president and head of operations, affirmed that a record crowd of merchants had flown in for the event on their own, in addition to over 20 local merchants from Cagayan de Oro.

“Some 66% of the mall’s 44,000 square meters of gross leasable area have already been leased out with more under negotiation, “she added.

Of the 300 units already leased, 250 are retails stores, 35 food outlets and 15 service firms. Mr. Aquino said they are allocating 10-15% of the gross leasable area for local and “homegrown” concepts.

“Our marketing group has extensively researched local brands and we are helping these brands grow with us through our network of 10 large and 12 retail capsule malls nationwide,” he added.

“And more are still registering for reservations,” said Ms. Tomeldan. Among the shops that Centrio will feature include Rustans Fresh, Promod, Charles and Keith and ROX.

The Stores Specialist Group which carries brands like Nine West will also be opening stores in the new mall. The movie houses will include both 3-D and digital cinemas.

“Ayala is also known for its well-planned shows so we’re going to bring them in as well.”

The Centrio mall development is being undertaken by Cagayan de Oro Gateway Corp., a joint venture between Ayala Land and Anflocor.

Ayala Land is investing over P5 billion for Centrio and the Anflocor’s equity is the 3.7-hectare property.

“Ayala Land has taken the unprecedented step of simultaneously investing the whole amount in the four vital components of this project: the three-level Centrio Mall, eight-storey Kukun Hotel, 23-storey Centrio Tower by Avida residential condominium and BPO (business process outsourcing) offices. This is an indication of our level of confidence in our Cagayan de Oro project.”

“This is the first time that we are developing everything immediately from day one,” said Mr. Aquino.

Many of its partners are not new to the business scene of Cagayan de Oro.

Anton Gonzales of Planet Sports says that although their stores in Centrio will be flagships in terms of size, they have been in the city since the 1990s.

“We have been in CdO for a long time,” he said. “It’s just natural to expand our operations especially in a nice mall like Centrio. We are in all Ayala malls,” he said.

Mr. Gonzales will be opening Nike, Nautica and Planet Sports in Centrio. Alberto Shoes Corp. which has also been with the Ayala Malls is also opening three stores in Centrio, introducing Geox, an Italian footwear brand.

Ayala Land, however, dispels the notion that the mall will only cater to high-end shoppers. “Centrio is a friendly mall. It offers what the population needs,” said Mr. Aquino. “We are bringing together various products that people here would probably have to go to Cebu to buy.”

Among the top reasons why Cagayan de Oro was chosen as a development of the Ayala Land is its being tourist-friendly.

“This is a place of good business possibilities,” said Mr. Aquino, adding that the firm is also looking forward to the opening of a nearby international airport.”It can be like Mactan when international flights came in,” he said.

The company is not deterred by energy problems in the Mindanao grid. “We will have short-term problems but I believe that it will be addressed immediately as Energy Secretary Rene D. Almendras assures us,” Mr. Aquino said. -- M. D. Baños and L. G. Dumas
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