News Commentary

SM Seaside City boosts optimism for Cebu

Millet M. Mananquil - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A huge Cube will soon become an iconic landmark in Cebu.

Cube and Cebu — the anagram is intentional. The Cube — a 21-by-21-meter steel sculpture — now stands at the new SM Seaside City Cebu, which will be inaugurated today. It is a tribute to the Cebuanos’ — as well as Filipinos’ — strength and stability.

Cebuanos will discover an amazing state-of-the-art structure with unique features when SM Seaside City is inaugurated today in rites led by retail leaders Tessie Sy-Coson and Hans Sy of SM, one of the largest business conglomerates in the country today.

They will also be drawn to a place far from Cebu’s madding crowd, in reclaimed land with a beautiful view of the Cebu Channel.  

“Yes, we are leading Cebuanos to an area that will be crowded Cebu’s growth hub within the next five years,” says Coson. “It is just a start. We were just ahead of time. We are optimistic about Cebu’s tourism growth potential, with the opening of the new Cebu International Airport by 2017 or 2018. That will boost progress and expansion outside of Metro Manila.”

Obviously seeing such potential are Ayala Land, JG Summit and Filinvest, which have also acquired parcels of land in this area.

SM Seaside City is located on a 93,750-square-meter site, SM’s 56th mall and the third in the Queen City of the South, after SM City Cebu and SM City Consolacion. It is the first development in the 30-hectare space on reclaimed land where residential towers, hotels, a convention and exhibition center, a school and a hospital will be built by SM.

SM Seaside City has features that parallel those of SM Mall of Asia, with both envisioned as destination malls located beside the sea. While MOA has the Globe, Seaside has the Cube. And while the Shrine of Jesus was the first structure to open at MOA, the Chapel of San Pedro Calungsod preceded the rise of Seaside.

“A chapel in every mall is the wish of our mother (Felicidad Sy), and she chooses the details of each chapel,” says Hans Sy, the engineer in this family of retailers, who oversees the construction of SM malls and its other structures.

Sy emphasizes: “We always make sure that every mall we build is customer-friendly. SM Seaside City has a unique circular design, but there are four separate nodes that helps shoppers know where they begin and end.”

Sy is particularly proud that SM Seaside City is an environmentally sustainable urban center. “It has a rooftop garden system that collects all excess water from the rain and cools down the structure and cuts down on electricity. We use a certain type of glass that also allows good lighting for the mall, yet shuts out 70 percent of the heat.”

Sy says this unique rooftop garden with a child-friendly playground was inspired by someone special — the three-year-old daughter of his son Chico who has become his assistant since finishing his civil engineering course in Australia.

SM founder Henry Sy Sr., who opened the first SM store in Manila in 1958, surely is a family-oriented man himself, as he envisioned malls that would provide relaxation for families.

“He also taught us that every mall we build should always have room for expansion,” says Tessie. “’Go forth and multiply’ seems to be his rule.”

“The important lesson our father taught us? Focus. And be organized always,” adds Hans.

The lessons have been well learned. The Cube is here in Cebu. And it is beautiful.

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