By Romsanne Ortiguero
ARANETA CENTER Inc. (ACI) is undertaking a multibillion-peso expansion of Gateway Mall in Cubao, starting with the construction of Gateway Mall 2, which is set to “redefine the mall experience.”
In a groundbreaking and capsule laying ceremony on July 31, ACI senior management consultant Rowell Recinto said Gateway Mall 2 will keep Araneta Center’s leading edge with its “welcoming design, extensive shopping and dining offerings, and pampering public spaces.”
“While we are now able to offer a complete community — shopping, dining, offices, entertainment, and hospitality — we are still committed to continue to enhance Araneta Center to become a more vibrant community that continues to amaze and gratify,” he said.
Slated to be completed by the third quarter of 2020, the seven-floor Gateway Mall 2 will have a gross floor area of 120,000 square meters. It will feature nine state-of-the-art cinemas; a 500-seater air-conditioned chapel; an organic vegetable garden where diners can have the farm-to-table experience; a European marketplace-inspired gourmet food hall; and a spacious activity area.
The new mall is also envisioned as an urban oasis, with its contemporary architecture combining glass and steel. With greenery and water features, the interior of the mall is designed as an indoor piazza.
“It is a lifestyle hub. Lifestyle by its very definition would have to deal with positive experiences that will help us expand our market. There has been a host of changes in the shopping center industry, where food has become a major component of malls. It is really a matter of trying to cater to what are our market needs, in terms of lifestyle, in terms of experiences,” Mr. Recinto told BusinessWorld in an interview.
Given the market demand for more experiential aspects in shopping malls, Mr. Recinto noted that Gateway Mall 2 will have a lot more food options compared to what the Gateway Mall currently has.
Moreover, the new mall will have longer operating hours for its nightlife offerings.
A short walking distance away from main arteries such as EDSA, Aurora Boulevard, and P. Tuazon Boulevard, the new mall is expected to draw a foot traffic of over a million in a day.
Araneta Center will also soon have an Ibis Styles Hotel. Adjacent to the Gateway Mall 2, Ibis Styles Hotel marks the entry of the first Ibis Hotel brand in the country. It will be operated by ACCOR Group, which also manages Novotel Manila Araneta Center.
According to Mr. Recinto, the new Ibis Styles Hotel will complement Novotel because it will provide additional rooms at a lower price point.
“At the Araneta Center, we care deeply about our community. GM2 (Gateway Mall 2) and all the other ongoing projects demonstrate our dedication to delivering exceptional experiences to our community and our commitment to create urban solutions that make the greatest difference – to the individual, friends, and family,” he said.