By Edwin G. Espejo
GeNERAL SANTOS CITY — The Gokongwei-owned Robinson’s mall has started land preparation for the construction of its P2-billion mall project in General Santos City.
Located in an 8.5-hectare property along J. Catolico St. in Lagao, the project is expected to be completed in the second quarter of next year.
The project, according to City Hall media chief Avel Manansala, is reportedly the single biggest private investment in the city in recent years.
The two-storey mall is owned by Robinson’s Land Corp., a subsidiary of JG Summit. The store will be its third and biggest in Mindanao.
Robinson’s already has an outlet in Cagayan de Oro City. Construction of another branch in Davao City will soon start. Their General Santos branch will house the company’s flagship stores — Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Appliances, Handyman Do It Center.
In addition, the mall complex will also reportedly house four cinemas. The construction came after years of repeated reports that Robinson’s will finally make use of its property acquired in the 1990’s.
“It will be remembered that years ago, before a series of bombings rocked the city, they were supposedly set on starting this project back then and have even applied for a building permit,” according to Manansala.
But Robinson’s management held off planned construction until late last year. General Santos City Mayor Pedro ‘Jun’ Acharon Jr. said the entry of Robinson’s in the city would augur well for the local economy.
He said it is also a manifestation of investor confidence in the local government and residents of the city.
If completed, it will be the third mall to rise in General Santos. Already in existence are Gaisano General Santos and KCC Mall.
Manansala meanwhile revealed that SM Department Store, a rival chain of Robinson, is reportedly finalizing negotiations with the Salazar family for the lease or purchase of an eight-hectare property along Santiago Blvd for its own version of department store.