Property developer Robinsons Land Corp. (RLC) plans to open five malls next year in areas outside of the National Capital Region (NCR) in line with its plan to expand its gross leasable area (GLA) by 11 percent, a company official said on Thursday.
Lourdes Alano, RLC vice president for lease, told reporters on the sidelines of the 4th Asia Pacific Real Estate Investment Summit in Parañaque City that they plan to open five new malls as well as three existing ones that are undergoing expansion.
Alano said the three existing malls that are being expanded are in Tagum in Davao City, Jaro in Iloilo, and Iligan City in Mindanao.
As for the new malls, Alano said, “We’re opening our third in Cebu this December. That’s Robinson’s Galleria Cebu. It’s going to be the flagship mall in Cebu. And then we’re expanding our llocos Norte mall. We’re expanding our Tacloban mall. We’ve recently opened our expansion in Novaliches, so basically those are the developments all lined up for next year.”
The location of the fifth new mall was not clarified.
Alano said that RLC currently owns about a million square meters of GLA, and they hope to increase it by 11 percent next year.
“We hope to increase our GLA by around 11 percent. We’re about a million in gross leasable area now so essentially, it’s an increase of around 10 or 11 percent,” said Alano.
She noted that the firm’s strategy to reach that goal is to open three to five malls yearly as long as there is still developable land and markets to cater to.
“Until there’s still land we can develop and there’s markets, we are [going to expand], because right now we are doing land banking. We’re acquiring properties not only in Metro Manila but [also]in the Visayas and Mindanao area. As long as there is property we are acquiring, I believe we will be growing,” said Alano.
When asked why the firm is keen on building malls outside of the capital, Alano said that there is already a challenge in acquiring big parcels of land in Metro Manila.
But she noted that they will not be following the community mall trend, which is popular in the provincial areas.
“For Robinson’s Land, it’s still the bigger malls we’re doing. The community malls is being taken care of by our affiliate, our sister company Robinson’s Retail Group, so they’re developing Robinson’s Townville. That’s the community mall format we’ve recently created to enter that particular format,” said Alano.
She added: “Community mall formats are much smaller, for one. It’s anchored by the supermarket, by a few retailers. I guess most of the community malls, one community mall will be housing probably 25 to 30 tenants, whereas for Robinson’s Land with the bigger malls, we have around 150 to 200 tenants in one full-service mall.”
Alano said that RLC plans to build malls in Ormoc, Tuguegarao, Naga, Valencia in Bukidnon, Cabangcalan in Negros Occidental, Cabanatuan, Calbayog, Abucay in Tacloban and Pavia in Iloilo in 2017, but all are still in the planning stage.
When asked why they chose those areas, Alano said, “First, these are greenfield areas. Like in Tacloban, the only mall in town before was Gaisano. We were the second big player in Tacloban. It’s a greenfield market. It has proven to be successful. All the demographics have shown positive signs. Right now, the performance of our Tacloban mall has outperformed pre-Haiyan days.”
Alano added: “I guess it’s really the market that those particular cities have. When we acquire properties, we take a look at demographics, bank deposits, competitor, population of the market, accessibility of the location, so the interplay of those factors makes us decide to grow in these markets.”
She said the cost for building each mall depends on the size of the mall.