In the heart of lifestyle enclave McKinley Hill, a fragment of Italy knocks and appeals to Filipinos’ romantic nature. Situated in one of the country’s modern and cosmopolitan areas, Venice Grand Canal Mall has become one of the metro’s go-to places. In fact, it’s practically a tourist destination.
A former military base, Megaworld co-developed the area and it has become a place where residents, employees and mall patrons converge. Venice Grand Canal Mall serves as the focal point of McKinley Hill Township.
“Although the mall is built far from the main road unlike other malls, the location still works to our advantage as this gives mall patrons a sense of peacefulness and detachment from the chaos of the city,” said Kevin Andrew L. Tan, Senior Vice President of Megaworld Corporation.
Home to Ponte d’Amore bridge and its love locks and gondolas maneuvered by singing boatmen, Venice Grand Canal serves romance all year round.
Not an easy journey
The journey to this, however, was not a piece of cake.
The excavation and building of the mall was divided into phases because the topography of the area was hard to work with.
In the middle of construction, the need to add more pathways along the canal to improve walkability cropped up, forcing management to create a second bridge, which is now known as the Ponte d’Amore Bridge.
The Venetian vibe
As an essential part of recreating the Venetian vibe, gondolas became an important feature for the mall.
Tronqued Boats custom-made the gondolas from scratch with a Venetian design in their plant in Pililla, Rizal. Transporting the gondolas to Mckinley Hill became another challenge due to the gondolas’ massive size.
“The challenge was how we could create something close to our inspiration and preserve the authenticity of our mall experience without being labeled as copycats,” Mr. Tan explained.
Venice Grand Canal’s rustic façade, high arches, stained glass dome and clock tower reminiscent of St. Mark campanile are the unique charms the mall has to offer.
Nearby is Venice Piazza, a dining hotspot featuring a scenic row of restaurants patterned after those in Tuscany, Italy.
Offering a range of European to Mediterranean cuisine, the dining destination hides a new world of flavors waiting to be explored.
“For Venice Grand Canal, we do not limit ourselves to a strictly Venetian theme, rather we try to balance the mall’s tourism features with practical services and convenient lifestyle establishments for a healthy and a well-rounded retail mix,” said Mr. Tan.
Venice Grand Canal is equipped with its own cinemas, a supermarket, bookstore, gym, fashion stores, health, beauty and wellness establishments. While the mall is primarily geared towards its immediate market, they have also been successful in attracting families and patrons from nearby cities and provinces.
They make sure that hand in hand with the plethora of Venetian charms, they also provide services and entertainment that will not alienate their patrons. For instance, their Venetian Concierto now includes Disney and Broadway themes for a modern and family-friendly touch, compared to simply offering Italian operatic shows.
A homogeneous blend of lifestyle mall—where everything people need are within reach—and a destination with unique attractions and events, Venice Grand Canal is a place where Megaworld constantly tests the boundaries of what a mall can be in the Philippines.
ADDITIONAL PHOTOS BY NOELLE ADRIENE CASTELLANO