MANILA, Philippines – SM Prime Holdings Inc. remains bullish on business growth opportunities in Mindanao despite peace and order issues in the island.
The integrated property firm of Henry Sy’s SM Group said Mindanao would be part of its planned aggressive expansion in the coming years as it seeks to capitalize on the region’s strong economic potential.
“Mindanao, we also have,” SM Prime president Hans T. Sy said when asked about the company’s mall expansion plan in the region.
With the majority of its existing and upcoming malls situated in Luzon, Sy said the company is also looking at new sites in Mindanao to add to its four existing shopping centers in the island
Sy said among the areas being eyed are Zamboanga and Butuan.
“We have property in Zamboanga. We also have our property in Butuan. Right now we’re building the one in Cagayan de Oro, the second one,” he said.
SM Prime’s Mindanao malls to date are SM City Davao, SM City Cagayan de Oro, SM City General Santos and SM Lanang Premier. These malls have a total gross floor area of 430,000 square meters.
“It’s market driven,” Sy said referring to the company’s investments in Mindanao. “If the market wants it, then we should really go into it. And I think the market wants it now.” he said.
SM Prime is the country’s largest mall developer with 50 shopping centers across the country under its name. It also operates five SM malls in China on top of its mall empire in the Philippines.
SM Prime said its Philippine malls, which have a total gross floor area of 6.5 million square meters, have an average daily pedestrian count of about 3.5 million.
The property firm has set aside almost P80 billion to support its aggressive expansion program for this year alone.
SM Prime said it is set to open four new malls in the country this year: SM City San Mateo in Rizal, SM City Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, SM Seaside City Cebu, and SM City Sangandaan in Caloocan.
The company is also expanding existing malls SM City Lipa in Batangas and SM City Iloilo.
Combined, these malls will add almost 800,000 square meters of gross floor area to the company’s portfolio and increase SM Prime’s total mall space to 7.3 million square meters by end 2015.