(Source: Manila Bulletin | December 14, 2015)
SM City North EDSA, the first SM shopping mall in the country, is now the biggest mall in the country after it has been expanded to 498,00 square meters—four times its original size of 125,000 sqm 30 years ago.
Speaking before SM’s retail partners during the 30th anniversary of SM Supermalls last October, SM Prime Holdings president Hans T. Sy said that the retail landscape in the last 30 years “has become more global and competitive where technology has forever changed the way we live and do things.”
“Ever the visionary, my father thought of building malls when he saw the shopping center development in the US during his business trips abroad in the 1950s and 1960s,” he recounted.
Sy said that was the time when ‘burbs’ or suburbs were being built in the outskirts of big cities with a shopping mall as the center. And Henry Sy Sr. saw this development from the east to the west coast and knew this would happen in the Philippines.
SM North EDSA was completed amidst one of the most turbulent times in Philippine history. Sy said that, when his father started building SM City North EDSA in 1983, people thought it was a crazy idea as it happened during a political crisis where interest rates rocketed to as high as 45 percent.
More so, the location of the mall was right smack in the middle of a marshland on North EDSA. “They said that SM City would not succeed, but the mall was an instant success. And the rest they say is history,” Sy told retail partners.
From its original shoe-box design, SM City North EDSA evolved to become the country’s largest mall that draws an average foot traffic of 420,000 shoppers a day.
Through the years, the mall has gone through several redevelopments which began with the Car Park Plaza in 1988, the SM Annex in 1989, the Block in 2006, The Annex and Interior Zone in 2008, the Sky Garden in 2009 and The Northlink in 2010.
Complementing these developments, SM built new spaces for various concepts such as for business process outsourcing (BPO) companies and other private offices.
One is The North Link, a six-story building and The SM Cyber West Avenue, a fifteen-story building which will be linked via bridge way to the SM City North EDSA mall and the nearby MRT station.
Complementing the integrated approach is Grass Residences, a five-tower residential condominium building which stands on a five-hectare property within the SM City North EDSA Complex.
Even today, Sy said that SM City North EDSA will continue to grow “like a vibrant city as it adds more office spaces and a hospitality complex, a unique combination of high end retail, dining and green spaces, highlighted by a series of five cascading office towers connected by pedestrian sky bridges.
With SM City North EDSA as the flagship, SM continues to build malls and lifestyle cities, at a rate of four to five malls a year.
Its recent lifestyle city development, SM Seaside City in Cebu, fashioned after SM Mall of Asia, promises to bring the shopping, dining, entertainment, working and the living experience to a whole new level in the Southern Philippine region.
“We have changed the Filipino lifestyle forever. Our malls are indeed as they are called—cities, places where families and friends gather together to shop, eat out, have fun, and even do their business transactions and hear Mass. We have become part of the lives of millions of Filipinos,” Sy said.