Rival mall operators SM Prime Holdings and Robinson’s of the Gokongwei group are planning to put up separate mall projects in Legazpi City, Albay starting with the P1.5-billion SM City Legazpi which will break ground in January next year.
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said SM Prime, which is one of the biggest shopping mall operators in Southeast Asia, is in the last stage of processing the necessary documents and permits to prepare for the construction of the new mall.
Rosal said the city administration and SM management are now looking for a temporary transport terminal before civil works for the project could start.
The mall will be located within the 4.5-hectare area adjacent to the City Central Terminal complex and Ibalong Centrum for Recreation, which is at the heart of the city’s commercial district in Barangay Bitano.
SM City Legazpi, a four-level structure, will house a department store, supermarket, cyberzone, appliance center and a five-level car park, “among other world class lifestyle amenities,” said the developer.
Rosal said the mall is expected to provide around 3,000 jobs to Legazpeños and residents from neighboring municipalities.
He said the Gokongwei Group of Companies is also planning to construct in the city the Robinson’s Galleria de Legazpi, which is patterned after the Robinsons Galleria de Cebu.
Rosal said this will also be located at the adjacent area of the city’s grand terminal in Barangay Bitano.
The four-level shopping mall, which will have a multi-level parking area will house the Summit Hotel, Go Hotel and a Business Process Outsourcing center.
There are now five malls operating in Legazpi City, including the Gaisano Mall owned by the Cebu City-based Gaisano family and the LCC (Liberty Commercial Center)-Ayala twin malls being managed by the Tan Family with the Ayala Group of Companies as its partner.
The other malls that also recently opened in the city include Yashano Mall that is owned by the Hong Family and 101 mall which is owned by a local businessman.
Expected to open in December is the Gregorian Mall, a public-private partnership of the city government and WholeGrain Land Inc. that is located at Old Albay District across the provincial capitol. It will house a city museum and a sports activity center.
Rosal said the entry of giant business groups in Legazpi signifies the city as a center of investment in Bicol with the city’s neighboring municipalities and provinces expected to be a strong market for these groups.
He said these businesses will create more employment opportunities for the community and contribute to the city’s local coffers by way of business taxes that the city can use for health and social services, infrastructure and environmental projects for its constituents.