Biz Buzz: ‘Mega-Megamall’
SM Megamall will soon be tycoon Henry Sy’s biggest shopping mall in terms of gross floor area (GFA) with a P2-billion expansion program that will jack up its GFA by 150,000 square meters to 550,000 sqm by the end of next year. This will edge out SM North Edsa in terms of GFA. It will also be bigger than the available retailing space in the upcoming SM Tianjin in mainland China.
By land area, SM Megamall is nowhere as big as the sprawling Mall of Asia or SM Tianjin (which has 43 hectares or the size of about three football stadiums) but the vertical development gives it a bigger retail space.
The new P2-billion Megamall building, for instance, will have five or six stories and is designed to have an atrium. Ahead of the completion of this expansion, a parking building has been constructed across the new wing.
Within the Sys’ shopping mall empire, SM Megamall actually gives the highest profit margin. This is notwithstanding its proximity to other shopping centers like Robinsons Galleria and Edsa Shangri-La Mall, which are likewise expanding their retailing space.
Now we know where the country’s shopping capital is.—Doris C. Dumlao
Because a number of Philippine business leaders were already in the Big Apple for the ING New York Marathon by the time the event was canceled due to Hurricane Sandy, more than a dozen of them led by Ayala Corp. president Fernando Zobel de Ayala joined the unofficial “Run Anyway NYC.”
Instead of traversing each of New York’s five boroughs, they ran around Central Park four times.
Bank of the Philippine Islands head of Odyssey Funds Paul Joseph Garcia, Banco de Oro chief investment officer Marvin Fausto and Philippine Equity Partners executive director Jojo Madrid were among those who joined Zobel in the unofficial run.
“It was really disappointing but it was the right decision [to cancel the official race] as Staten Island, where the marathon was to start, was badly hit,” Garcia says.
For now, the marathon organizer has not decided if runners will get a refund or have an automatic slot next year. “Definitely, we’ll try again next year. We have one year to train,” Garcia adds.
Meanwhile, Sun Life Philippines president Riza Mantaring, who ran the NYC Marathon last year but did not register this year because of an injury, clarified that she did not join the Berlin marathon or the Ironman in Cebu as earlier cited in this space. She was in the respective cities at the time of the tournaments but did not participate in them. While nursing her injury, Mantaring is taking a break from her running routine and is instead stuck to an elliptical trainer and a bike for now.—Doris C. Dumlao
Time and money wasted
So it turns out that work has yet to begin on the P902-million Daang Hari toll road, which is meant to connect the South Luzon Expressway with the parallel Daang Hari road that connects Muntinlupa City to Bacoor, Cavite.
You heard correctly: No work has been done on the project since it was awarded to the Ayala group in December of last year.
The fault is not Ayala’s, just to be clear. And it’s not the fault of SLEx operator South Luzon Tollways Corp. either, based on the documents we’ve seen. But let’s leave the finger-pointing for another time.
Instead, let’s focus on the fact that the Daang Hari project was not a virgin project after all. In fact, the project for the interconnection of the Daang Hari road with SLEx actually started in 2006. The project was being handled by a company called Alabang-Sto. Tomas Development Inc. (ASDI), which is government-owned by virtue of its being a joint venture of National Development Co. and Philippine National Construction Corp.
When the current administration came to power in 2010, ASDI was asked to stop work on Daang Hari because the project would be included on a list of infrastructure programs under the now infamous “PPP” initials.
After ASDI’s pleas to be allowed to continue work fell on deaf ears, they stopped work, leaving behind a project that was already 25-percent completed. Had they been allowed to continue in 2010, the Daang Hari interconnection would have been finished last month.—Daxim L. Lucas
Shocking ‘association dues’
Some prominent members of Manila’s upper crust have begun to advocate for the creation of a law—or at the very least a code of conduct—that will govern the operations of various “associations” that manage the country’s high-end villages, gated communities, country clubs and posh condominiums.
This comes amid the growing number of complaints from DBF people (that’s ‘De Buena Familia’ for the uninitiated) about unexpected and shocking charges being levied on them by residence associations, often without their consent and often without any explanation.
Take the case of one uber exclusive enclave in Tagaytay. One resident was recently billed for a threefold increase in what the association said were “insurance costs” incurred to protect their property.
From paying P30,000 for insurance, the resident was recently billed P108,000. Unfortunately for the association, not everyone writes checks blindly (although not a few residents do, we’re told).
More alarmingly, the rate increases seem to have been applied arbitrarily, with some residents not having seen any increases at all.
“What’s going on? Why do we need these houses insured? These are vacation homes with nothing in them,” one concerned DBF resident said.
Maybe a uniform code of conduct or a law regulating these funny activities is in order. Not all of the wealthy spend money like water, apparently.—Daxim L. Lucas
Speaking of the rich…
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) was recently put under the harsh spotlight after its officials told senators during the budget hearing of the Department of Transportation and Communications about the existence of unregistered, or “colorum,” planes.
Senator Bong Revilla cited this as among several other reasons why CAAP flunked the all-important registration and safety inspection done by International Civil Aviation Organization that the country badly needed to enhance its safety rating and reputation in the area of international aviation.
Now comes another black eye for the CAAP. According to a source, a member of a prominent clan who is currently embroiled in a nasty legal separation case has caused serious damage to a corporation owned by her husband, a former ambassador.
The damage involves a certain Certificate of Registration for a helicopter—supposedly a gift by the member of the wealthy clan to her partner during better days—that was registered under the ambassador’s corporation.
However, funny things happened when relatives from the wealthy clan sold the helicopter, supposedly to another relative.
More importantly, the helicopter’s registration had an annotation of “lis pendens,” which should have been enough basis for the CAAP to suspend the sale.
But lo and behold, not only was the sale recognized but the transfer of the aircraft’s ownership was honored and facilitated by the CAAP. And upon verification, it was learned that the helicopter is no longer owned by the wealthy relative but was recently sold to a foreign company.
Our source said that the National Bureau of Investigation has been called to look into the matter.—Daxim L. Lucas
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