IN NOVEMBER this year, SM Seaside City, the fourth largest SM mall nationwide, will open.

This is according to Hans Sy, president of SM Prime Holdings Inc., who was in Cebu yesterday for the mall’s tenant preview held inside SM Seaside City at the South Road Properties.

“We are looking to open the mall by November,” Sy told reporters at the sidelines of the event. In its four-year construction period, the company has already spent P7.5 billion for the mall development.

The next six years will be more exciting, he said, as they are targeting to completely develop the entire 30-hectare complex.

Upon completion, the site will have a convention center, which is planned to be as big as the 24,000-square meter SMX Convention Center in Pasay, a hotel, and high-rise residential and office towers.

“The whole complex will cost P20 billion, but we have to raise our budget to P30 billion,” Sy said, citing the company’s confidence in their investments in Cebu and the positive response they are getting.

Sy said SM Seaside City will be the fourth largest SM mall in the country, having a gross floor area of 470,000 square meters. SM’s biggest malls are SM Megamall (570,000 sqm.), SM North Edsa (540,000 sqm.), and SM Mall of Asia (480,000 sqm.).

The official said there is space for more than 400 tenants and that 50 percent have already signed up. Names of the tenants, however, were not disclosed.

“What I can say that for is half of the tenants, it will be their first time in Cebu,” Sy said, referring to global brands that have already set foot in Metro Manila years ago, but have not yet penetrated Cebu.

Aside from its retail component, the mall will also have entertainment and lifestyle areas. These include the Seaside Tower, a 148-meter structure with a viewing deck that offers a 360-degree view of Cebu with restaurants and bars on the side to complement the experience; and the Sky Park, an elevated area in the mall set in the midst of foliage and water features complemented by dining choices.

There will also be a full-sized ice skating rink, cinemas and a bowling center. Sy said SM will hire 5,000 workers to run the mall’s operations. This does not include the jobs that the mall’s tenants will generate.

SM has opened two malls in Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija and in San Mateo in Rizal. Another mall will open sometime this year, Sy said. SM City Seaside will be the fourth to open this 2015.

Sy said he is positive that Cebu is ready for a huge development. “I’ve never doubted Cebu.That’s why we have so much investment here. We are putting so many of our eggs here.”

Next year, five SM malls are expected to open. Locations of these malls, however, were not specified. At present, there are 52 SM malls in the country. The company also has six malls in China.

The official dismissed reports they will open a casino in Cebu and in other areas in the country, saying this is not a kind of business his mother, a devout Catholic, would approve of. With DSM