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At 25, SM Megamall ushers a new mall revolution

Two of the country’s most respected taipans–Henry Sy Sr. and John Gokongwei–have been engaged in a healthy competition in business. At one time, they had to settle their interest in a very simple way: toss coin.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of SM Megamall, one of the earliest shopping complexes built by the company patriach, Henry Sy Jr. recalled his father’s unique business acumen.

According to Sy Jr., his father saw business opportunities in the aftermath of a coup d’etat, an energy crisis, an earthquake and the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo between the 1980s to the 1990s.

HENRY SY SR. & HENRY SY JR.

HENRY SY SR. & HENRY SY JR.

At that time, the family patriarch was keenly interested in a five hectare property located on the corner of Ortigas Avenue and EDSA that belonged to the Ortigas family. The elder Sy just opened his first mall on North EDSA in 1985 and was on the scout for the next opportunity.

Fellow businessman John Gokongwei was also interested in the property valued at R1,800 to R2,000 per square meter that time. “Residential lots in the posh village Corinthian Gardens were selling for R4,000 per sqm. So we thought, how can we go wrong,” Sy  Jr. said.

To break an impasse during the bidding, a toss coin was suggested which was won by the Gokongwei group.

The losing bidder, Sy Sr., would instead get an option to buy a slightly smaller property located along EDSA between Ortigas Avenue and Shaw Boulevard that would be the site of SM Megamall.

SM quickly expanded and was able to secure additional hectares beside its initial property bringing the total to about 11.5 hectares.

Twenty-five years after, SM Megamall is going to have a new addition with the construction of a modern 50-story office tower that will complement the existing sprawling mega shopping complex.

Steven Tan, SM Supermalls senior vice president, said the new building spanning over 170,000 square meters of gross floor area to be located just right beside the Mega Fashion Hall will open in 2019.

“SM has always been about innovation. This will be a modern and well-designed tower with huge surprises on the retail side. It will be very exciting as it opens in 2019,” said Tan.

“SM is still at the heart of a mall revolution even after 25 years since opening its doors to the public,” said Tan.

The design of the new tower is a curvy S-shape that represents the next step in the architectural evolution of the mall, according to Architect Fides Hsu, SM Engineering Design and Development Corp. Vice President for Design. The interior will be modern and corporate, and will take its cue from the tower’s architecture, Hsu said.

The construction of this new office tower is in response to the strong demand for office commercial space in Metro Manila. Megamall is an excellent site for the office building as the mall offers greater convenience for its future tenants and the location along EDSA makes it highly accessible to commuter traffic. The development in Megamall is part of the company’s overall strategy to leverage on world-class malls by anchoring its lifestyle proposition.

Future developments will see SM Prime putting up more BPO offices and residences beside its malls.

 

EVOLUTION

SM Megamall, one of the first landmarks along EDSA, opened its doors to the public on June 28, 1991 with a total floor plate of 311,898 square meters that stretched for almost a mile and consisted of six levels. It showcased SM Department Store, two SM Supermarkets, a food court, 12 cinemas, a bowling center, the first ice skating rink, the Megatrade Hall and an art walk which featured a whole floor of art galleries and exhibits.

For years, it went through many expansions and enhancements to cater to a highly dynamic market. In 2009, it opened the Mega Atrium that connected Buildings A and B on Julia Vargas, adding 16,368.64 sqm of retail space.

In 2011, it added the Carpark Building C fronting the busy avenue of EDSA that housed offices, additional parking areas and a transportation terminal that caters to 1,850 buses a day or an average of 142 buses per hour.

Mega Fashion Hall was unveiled in 2014 which redefined the mall’s market reach and housed the flagship stores of international retail brands.

 

RISING LAND VALUE

“Today, if you were to buy property in that area, it would be at R200,000 per square meter,” Sy Jr. said.

SM’s constant desire to innovate and enhance its developments has helped property values to appreciate over time especially in the surrounding communities which has resulted in a booming business environment in that particular side of the EDSA corridor.

Glenn Ang, SM Supermalls Senior Vice President who worked as SM’s regional manager also recalled that the new mall drew people mainly from the east corridor like Cainta and Antipolo and other municipalities in Rizal. When the MRT was built in 2000, SM Megamall became more accessible to crowds from Caloocan to Pasay. It also attracted people from the northern provinces of Bulacan and Pampanga who reached the mall by bus.

It has adopted sustainable measures like water recycling program and uses fixtures that support the efficient use of water, solid waste management and an integrated bus terminal.

Its Business Continuity Management System has been a recipient of awards from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and Certification ISO 22301-2012.