SM Group prepares to take over Harrison Plaza
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - July 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The SY-owned SM Group is preparing to take over the sprawling Harrison Plaza complex in Manila from the Martel family with a target to undertake the takeover by next year.

“We are still working on the exact timeline, but it will be next year,” a source from the SM Group told The STAR.

SM Prime Holdings Corp., the listed mall giant and property developer of the Sy-owned conglomerate, will take over the seven-hectare property and refurbish it possibly into a new mixed-used development.

The master plan, once completed, may include commercial, office and residential space.

“The plans are being reviewed. It might be mixed use but definitely there will be a mall,” said the source.

Last year, SM Investments Corp. chairman Jose Sio said the group has grand plans to develop and manage the seven-hectare Harrison Plaza complex into a larger mixed used development.

The area is a prime location and can be very well expanded into another sprawling mall with residential developments around it, he said at the time.

Harrison Plaza, an iconic fixture in Manila, is located across the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas on Pablo Ocampo Street in Malate, Manila.

It has been touted as the country’s first modern shopping center next to the smaller Ali Mall but through the years, it has lagged behind other more modern retail complexes in the city.

Owned by the Martel family, Harrison Plaza opened its doors to the public in 1976. The Martel family is headed by its patriarch, business tycoon Don Antonio Martel Jr. 

However, for two years between 1982 and 1984, the shopping mall was shuttered for renovations.

When it was reopened to the public in 1984, the mall featured a cinema, amusement rides, a Jai Alai site, fountain and a hotel.

One of its first tenants was SM Department Store and Rustan’s. At present, it has around 200 shops.

The SM Group and the Martel family have long agreed to the take-over of Harrison Plaza.

Under the plan, SM will buy out the Martel Group from its contract with the local government of Manila which will expire next year.

SM Investments Corp., the conglomerate of taipan Henry Sy, continues to be on the lookout for acquisition opportunities related to its core businesses.

SMIC’s businesses include property, banking and retail. It is among the country’s biggest conglomerate and continues to expand even outside Metro Manila.

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