After dev’t of Manokan Country, SM eyeing more investments in Bacolod

SM Supermalls president Steven Tan
[MPE photo]
SM Supermalls president Steven Tan [MPE photo]

SM Supermalls president Steven Tan said that they will continue to pour in more investments to Bacolod City in support of Mayor Alfredo Benitez’s vision of making the Negros Occidental capital city a “super city.”

In a brief meeting with the local press on Sunday, October 22, Tan said that SM is doing a lot of expansion, which includes the existing mall, the redevelopment of the iconic Manokan Country, as well as the construction of a township in the old airport, and establishment of a residential area at Sta. Fe Resort in the near future.

“We saw the vision of the mayor. He’s pro-business. He makes it very easy to conduct business here in Bacolod. With his vision, we trust him and go with what he wanted. It’s very encouraging,” he said.

Tan and Benitez just signed the contract agreement between the city government and SM Prime Holdings Inc. for the Manokan Country Redevelopment Project in rites held at the Government Center on Friday, October 20.

He also turned over P131.89 million to the mayor, which served as seven years of advance rental payments for Manokan Country, under the 40-year lease agreement with the city at an annual rental fee of P21.26 million, which is subject to a 5 percent escalation rate every three years. 

“We’re happy here. The business in Bacolod is very positive. We’re thankful to the Bacolodnons for supporting SM, and for making SM their second home. We’re not what we are today without the community and the people supporting us,” Tan said.

He said that SM entered the city in 2007, and since then, they have continued to expand.

“We keep on expanding our malls, it means that business is good. If we expand, we can hire more people, give more employment, and be able to get more suppliers, which is a big help to the community,” he said.


The new Manokan Country is expected to open in 2025, with the relocation of the vendors at the SM transport hub to start in January next year, while its construction will commence in April.

Tan promised Bacolodnons that SM would retain the “flavor” of the iconic Manokan Country.

Also, the National University (NU) constructed by the firm at the north part of SM mall is expected to open next year, he said.

“NU gives good quality education at an affordable price. This is Mr. Hans Sy’s legacy to the country…Is low-tuition school a good business proposition?… It’s not. The return on investment of school is a long time. But why we’re doing that? It’s more of a legacy project of Mr. Hans. Education is the great equalizer that would really help our country. We believe in that,” he said.

Tan also said that there will be multi-level parking spaces at the new building in the north wing to address the parking woes at the mall.

SM will also expand its south wing portion, where the supermarket at, starting in 2024. It is expected to be completed in 2027.

Tan said it will be done in phases so as not to disrupt the businesses of their tenants.

On the development of the old airport in the southern part of Bacolod, he said it will feature a mall, residential spaces, business process outsourcing offices, and a hotel.

“It’s a mixed-used development…we have not finalized the amount of capital expenditure to pour in that project,” he said.

He added, “Because of its size, it will be done in phases. We will start with a mall.”

Based on their survey, there is an untapped market in the south, which prompted them to expand in the area.

“There are a lot of people who work in the south who have some disposable income that have no any place to go. It might change the landscape for all you know 'cause it’s a big development,” Tan said.

He said they’re eyeing to start the development in 2026 or 2027, “we will focus on it after the Manokan Country project,” he added.

SM will also develop a residential village that includes a clubhouse and function halls at the old Sta. Fe Resort, which the company acquired a few years back.

“We’re excited with the progress. We see the drive and passion of the mayor, it’s very encouraging,” Tan said.*


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