By Celso Amo (The Philippine Star) | Updated July 30, 2015 - 12:00am
LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines —Ayala Land Inc., the property development arm of the Ayala Group, expects its shopping mall venture with the Bicol-based LCC Group to be completed by December.
The P1.6 billion Liberty City Center will rise on a 1.4 hectare property in Legazpi, Albay.
LCC general manager Antonio Tan said Ayala Land would operate the mall while LCC, being a retailer, would take charge of the supermarket and department stores.
“I am proud that this is our first ever mall in Bicol and with this mall we hope to bring to you the excitement of an Ayala mall in partnership with LCC,” Ayala Land assistant vice-president for external affairs Dindo R. Fernando said during a briefing at the office of Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal last Monday.
Ayala Land business management head Hans Katipunan said “security, house-keeping, and maintenance, would be handled by the property conglomerate
The four-story mall will have 200 stores, four cinemas and al fresco dining. It also has a big atrium.
“We have restaurants from the second floor all the way up to the fourth floor,” he said.
“What makes Ayala mall unique compared to its competitors is the way we treat public spaces. So we have a four story atrium which is the signature element of our development from the physical standpoint. Our convergence area within the development area,” Katipunan noted.
“Our homegrown concept is to encourage local restaurants, and entrepreneurs, and we want to promote local business which is the success story of Ayala throughout the country,” he said.
“We are trying to attract and expect a lot from small businesses from Legazpi City and nearby towns and municipalities that we are going to invite which is something the city can be proud of,” Katipunan said.
He said Ayala Land is still negotiating with the mall tenants from Metro Manila.
“Foreign brands are interested because Legazpi city is known for its adventure tourism,” he said.
Fernando said Ayala Land is looking forward to bring employment and additional taxes for the city.
Tan said local entrepreneurs are allotted a kiosks inside the mall to encourage them as incubator local business.
“People have their own unique way of shopping based on studies and we want to offer the people of Legazpi a wide range of merchandise line,” he said.
With these investments coming, Legazpi City which is now the second most livable city in the country, is expected to become the commercial capital of Bicol.