Robinsons Naga dedicates more space to dining than other malls

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ROBINSONS LAND CORP. (RLC), has now ventured into mixed-use developments with the opening of the 56,000-square meter Robinsons Naga in Camarines Sur – and is giving it a higher proportion of food outlets than in other Robinsons malls.

A PLAZA at Robinsons Naga — ZSARLENE B. CHUA

Aside from the three-story mall located at the Naga Diversion Road corner Almeda Highway in Naga City, the main building also has a provision for a two-story Robinsons Cybergate Naga which will be occupied by a business process outsourcing (BPO) company though officials declined to name said company.

Construction for Cybergate is set to commence in September with the opening tentatively set for 2018.

The property will also see the entry of the two chain hotels under the RLC umbrella: the budget Go Hotels and the more upscale Summit Hotel. Go Hotels Naga is scheduled to open with approximately 70 rooms while Summit Hotels Naga will have 60 rooms, a swimming pool and function rooms. Both hotels are scheduled to open next year.

The mall, with a gross floor area of 56,000 sq.m. has gross leasable area of 31,000 sq.m., 15%-20% of which will be relegated to dining establishments.

“For the shopping mall, we wanted to cater more on F&B and a little on amusement. Retail has been there but people – especially the millennials – they really crave for new food to eat,” Myron Lawrence Yao, regional operations manager for Robinsons Place Naga and Robinsons Metro East told the media during the opening on Aug. 15.

He noted that the proportion given to dining establishments for the Naga property – 15% – is considerably higher than their other malls which have 10% of their space dedicated to dining.

Home-grown restaurants such as Triboo Grill (known for their chicken inasal [barbecue] and grilled pork belly), Biggs Diner (a local haunt known for serving American and Filipino staples) and Crown Park (a locally popular Chinese restaurant) join other mall restaurant staples, many of which are setting up shop for the first time in the Bicol region, such as Hap Chan and Choobi Choobi.

“We are very proud of this mall not only because it is very well designed, but because we are able to curate stores and restaurants that you would really like. We have brought in a lot of merchants and retailers that will be here for the first time,” Arlene Magtibay, SVP and general manager of RLC’s commercial center division, said during the opening.

Gabi leaves are a design element in Anina Rubio’s artwork on the mall’s 3rd floor pillars. — ZSARLENE B. CHUA

Other retail establishments like Uniqlo – set to open in April of next year – will have their first Bicol branches in Robinsons Naga.

Of course, Robinsons retail brands such as the Department Store, Supermarket, Handyman, Robinsons Appliance, and Daiso are also found within the mall.

The mall, as has been RLC’s custom since the opening of Robinsons Magnolia in 2012, has a more open design with lots of natural lighting and incorporates local design elements from the region such as the pili nut and gabi (taro) leaves – two crops for which the region is best known for – as evidenced by the ceiling’s large leaf-shaped fixture lit up with green LED lights.

Designed by Boying Aquino, AVP for property planning, Robinsons Naga also pays homage to the city’s patron saint, Our Lady of Peñafrancia.

Locals have pointed out that the aerial view of the mall closely resembles the figure of the wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin.

Fil-Am artist Jefre Manuel – known for his larger-than-life installations such as Code Wall (a 264 foot-long installation filled with messages in binary code) currently showcased in Florida – also lent his expertise to Robinsons Naga by way of the 15-meter fiberglass sculpture titled Tree of Life, at the mall’s al fresco area, which features the quintessential gabi leaf.

Aside from Mr. Manuel, another artist whose work is found in the newly opened mall is visual artist Anina Rubio who covered the pillars of the third floor with inspiration quotes. – Zsarlene B. Chua