(Source: BusinessWorld | May 17, 2015 )
A new wing, which opened last week, makes the mall much, much bigger. The UP Town Center Phase 1B is all of 26,000 square meters, bringing the entire complex up to 30,700 sq.m. A final phase is slated to open next year, measuring 37,000 sqm., making the grand total of built-up space to 67,700 sq.m. This final phase will house retail stores, a student lounge, a supermarket, restaurants, offices, and a cinema.
The entire complex sits on a 7.4-hectare piece of property, acquired by Ayala Land, Inc. via a long-term lease agreement from the UP.
According to an Ayala Land release, the development will reserve 50% of the land for open spaces, preserving at least 25% of the existing trees in the area. Each building can rise a maximum of just five floors.
“Part of the agreement was relocating the high school building and that is good because you sort of consolidated the UP Campus,” said Rowena M. Tomeldan, vice-president and head, Operations and Support Services, Commercial Business Group, for Ayala Land, during a press tour on May 7.
That day, guests were taken around the three floors of Phase 1B. The wing contains 41 establishments, ranging from restaurants and hair salons to toy and clothing shops. These stores include familiar brands such as Bench and Penshoppe, Rookie USA and Shoe Salon, Bratpack, Artwork, Tickles, Just G., Bucket Feet, and Birkenstock.
Restaurants in the area include Pepper Lunch, Ramen Nagi, The Clean Plate, Recovery Food and Jamba Juice.
The mall also houses tech stores such as Datablitz, Wonder Photo Shop, and Digital Walker.
The mall calls itself pet-friendly, with pet services offered in the Uptown Animal Center. Seen during the tour were visitors carrying small dogs around the mall.
The complex’s various phases surround a grassy open area where activities for students are held. “We have activities coming from the organizations in UP,” said Ms. Tomeldan, citing a poetry reading held in the area the week before.
She noted that its location near the university also gives it a unique character. “It’s not your typical regional mall, it has a different vibe — it has a young vibe.”
The word “young” was thrown around a lot during the tour, and Ms. Tomeldan explained what it meant for a mall to be young — not counting the fact that this mall had just been born. “To me now, ‘young’ is more of a lifestyle. What you feel here is a very active vibe… a typical mall caters to the families — all the members of the family. Here, the energy level is quite high.”