GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Socsksargen
— True to its thrust of strengthening its presence in Mindanao, SM Prime Holdings, Inc., which operates SM supermalls, is eyeing Tagum City where it can establish another mall.
SM Prime Holdings president Hans T. Sy said that other than the cities of Zamboanga and Butuan where SM malls will rise in the next years, they are also looking at the capital city of Davao del Norte as another area for expansion.
"We are looking at Tagum City as our next area for expansion, considering its growing economy," he told Sun.Star in an interview at the sidelines of the inauguration of newly-widened San Miguel Street here, where Mindanao's biggest mall, the SM City General Santos, is located.
SM spent P45 million for the project to ensure smooth flow of traffic when the mall starts to operate.
Sy said they have already found a location where they can construct SM Mall in Tagum.
"The property is now under negotiation. May mga bahay pa kase sa area," he said.
Sy was in this city to grace the opening of newly-widened 440-meter San Miguel Street in Lagao, where one of the entrances of the mall is located.
SM Prime Holdings spent P4 million for the project.
Also at the event are city officials, led by City Mayor Darlene Antonino, Representative Pedro Acharon and the Salazar matriarch Sufradia Las Marias Salazar.
The property where SM Gensan stands is covered by a 20-year lease contract entered by SM Prime Holdings and the Salazars.
"Every time we invest in a place, we always see that we have the return of investment in 9-10 years, so the the 0-year contract would be okay," Sy said.
Sy said total investment they have poured in for the construction of the GenSan Mall, which is now 90 percent complete, is pegged at P2.5 billion, much higher than their investment for the construction of SM Lanang in Davao City, placed at P2 billion.
SM Lanang is targeted to be completed in the last quarter of next year, while SM GenSan will open earlier during the first quarter of 2012.
"This is our thrust. We want to intensify our presence in Mindanao," Sy said, but was quick to add SM has no plan of getting hold or monopolizing the retail market in the island.
"We are here not to eat the pie, but we’re here to make the pie bigger," he said.
Once fully operational, SM GenSan can generate at least 3,000 jobs.
by: Nelson C. Bagaforo
soure: Sunstar - Davao and SM Investments Corporation