EVEN as the P3.4 billion development of the Ayala Land Inc., (ALI) and the Antonio Floirendo Corp. (Anflocor) is still under construction, it is nearly totally leased out as of February 19.

Dubbed as the Abreeza, or southern breeze, the first shopping center to be operated by the Ayala group in Mindanao will open in May 2011.

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"As of now we are nearly 70 to 75 percent leased out of the more than 300 merchants that we can accomodate," Antonino Aquino, president of ALI, told the press in a forum Friday.

Being the trade and financial hub of Mindanao, Davao City has been chosen as the priority area of ALI for the Mindanao area.

Together with their merchants who have already leased their respective spots in the mall, the executives of ALI together with the Floirendo family headed by Anflocor chair Don Antonio Floirendo Sr, visited the construction site of Abreeza along J.P. Laurel Avenue Friday.

Merchants like Starbucks, Bank of the Philippine Islands, the Suyen Corporation retail outlets like Bench, Aldo, and Celio, French fashion like Promod and Portugese accessory brand Parfois flew in to the city to see the progress of the highly-anticipated mall.

Clavel Tongco, the general manager of the Abreeza, said another 20 percent is under negotiation which will soon be sealed.

Several merchants who are based in Davao were also present expressing interest in leasing spaces from the mall.

"We want the best of Davao to be also with us, and of course the first to bring in brands to Davao," Tongco said.

The department store and supermarket sections of Abreeza will be operated by Gokongwei owned Robinsons Department Store and Robinsons Supermarket.

Situated on a 10-hectare property, Abreeza will house a luxury shopping mall, business process outsourcing facilities, hotels, and business establishments, and corporate offices, once fully completed.

The development is Ayala's first major entry into Davao's real estate scene and the biggest investment of the Anflocor group in real estate.

This development project is foreseen to boost economic growth of the city, promote progress and to once again fulfill a promise of enhancing land and enriching lives for more Dabawenyos.

First phase of the high-end Ayala Mall will be completed in the second quarter of 2011 with 35,000 square meters gross leasable area, while the second phase with 26,000 square meters gross leasable area is expected to be finished by the third quarter of 2011. (CPM)