PROPERTY giant Megaworld Corp. will start building its P1.2-billion Upper East Mall positioned to further boost the economy of Negros Occidental particularly its capital Bacolod City.
The three-level “green” lifestyle mall is within the company’s 34-hectare The Upper East township project located at the eastern side of the city, near the government center, that used to be the Bacolod-Murcia Milling Company compound.
Megaworld chief strategy officer Kevin Tan, during the media briefing at L’Fisher Hotel in Bacolod City Friday, May 24, said the mall will promote local brands and products especially food.
Citing the province’s rich culinary culture, Tan said they want to showcase local delicacies like the famous chicken inasal thus, a large chunk of the mall tenants will be food.
“We will center this mall on entertainment and dining. People here love to go out and eat so large portion of the space will be given to local players,” he said, adding that it is one of the ways where Megaworld can positively impact the local economy.
Tan said that as “we want to be a big contributor of the local tourism industry growth” they want tourists to come and visit a place where they can see a lot about Bacolod City.
In terms of employment opportunity, the company earlier announced that at least 250,000 direct and indirect jobs will be generated through its township project including the mall.
In the long term, Tan said they hope to bring in new employment so a lot of graduates here no longer need to go to other cities like Manila to look for jobs.
“We will bring the corporate jobs to Bacolod City,” the official added.
The P1.2 billion intended for the development of the mall forms part of the P28-billion investment poured in by Megaworld for its township project poised to be the new and modern central and business district in the city.
Covering a gross floor area of 24,200 square meters, the Upper East Mall is also positioned to become the city’s new architectural landmark.
Architect Raji Casas, who designed the mall, said the structure showcases a blend of neo-classical and art deco architecture - a reminiscent of New York City’s Upper East Side cityscape.
The mall design will be highlighted by a 48-meter high iconic clock tower that illuminates even at night, making it a major landmark along the six-lane main avenue of the township that stretches from Lopez Jaena Street to Circumferential Road.
Casas said the clock tower may host office spaces and viewing deck.
“It will have architectural styles that can be seen in that part of New York. It’s a neo-classical and art deco with a little modern translation to it,” he added.
Megaworld will start the construction of the mall by the end of this year. Its target completion is 2021.
Tan, for his part, said what they are building in The Upper East is not just an ordinary mall.
Megaworld with Casas Architects is curating an architectural masterpiece that depicts the cosmopolitan vibe of its township in Bacolod City.
“We wanted to also create malls that have different character, something different for Bacolod,” he said, adding that “we want to create a landmark that city can be proud off.”
Considered as the first “green” mall in the city, Megaworld is utilizing solar panels, a grid type technology, to supply 30 percent of the Upper East Mall’s power requirement.
It is also building its own substation. The National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) will provide higher voltage capacity, which is different from the city’s existing supply.
For water, the mall will have a rainwater harvesting system where the rainwater is recycled for plant watering, and a gray water recycling system where the water discharged from the sewage treatment plant is collected and used for secondary flushing of mall’s toilets and urinals.
Other sustainable and energy efficiency features include perceived air conditioning cooling design and escalators with crawling features, among others.
Tan said “green” is going to be a prevailing theme of other buildings for the township.
Tan said as more greening technologies come out, they will start incorporating them in their existing malls and projects.
“Sustainability is the topmost priority for us now. It’s part of our iTownship initiative,” he said, adding that “as we discover new features that can be introduced, we are putting them one by one to our buildings.”
Moreover, the Upper East Mall will also house several rows of restaurants facing a garden of century-old trees that will be surrounded by Koi ponds.
The mall will also be home to four state-of-the-art cinemas and an open-air Food Hall with an indoor garden.
It will be directly connected to the future Transport Hub of the township, and just across the central park facing the two residential condominium towers of One Regis and Two Regis.
It will also have its own spacious lobby and driveway making pick-ups and drop-offs easier and more convenient.
Tan said they are excited to see The Upper East transforming into a modern central business district (CBD) of Bacolod City.
In the next three to five years, “we will see the residential towers, office towers, commercial buildings, hotel, church, parks, and this new lifestyle mall rising.”
“We will also be opening the Upper East Avenue to the public in two years,” he added.
The 34-hectare Upper East forms part of the total 87-hectare township development projects of the company in the province worth at least P35 billion.
The other project is the 53-hectare Northill Gateway worth P7 billion situated along airport access road, bordering the cities of Bacolod and Talisay.