SM and SM Prime Chairman Henry Sy who once called this mall, the greatest project of his life, had a vision to build one of the largest malls in Asia which will not just be a shopping complex but a premier destination.
Sy’s vision was for shoppers and tourists alike to come together to have a unique leisurely experience. “The mall will be a major Asia Pacific destination,” Sy said at that time.
SM Mall of Asia opened in May 2006 as the flagship development of SM on its 60-hectare reclaimed land along the scenic Manila Bay in Pasay City. The mall introduced the first Olympic-size skating rink and the first IMAX theatre in the country. It also opened the Science Discovery Center now called The Exploreum and a state-of-the-art Bowling Center.
Ten years later, the mall is set to once again revolutionize the Philippines’ concept of a mall.
Steven Tan, Senior Vice President for SM Supermalls recalled that when the design team was going through the redesign process for SM Mall of Asia, SM Prime Holdings President Hans T. Sy wanted it to have the “wow” factor.
“Mr. Hans Sy didn’t just want to expand the mall without giving a reason to the people. He said, if there was going to be an expansion, we have to ensure the success of the mall,” Tan said.
Designed by Miami-based firm Arquitectonica, the enigmatic “wow” would finally come in the form of a FIFA World Cup-size soccer field mounted on the mall’s roofdeck. A botanical garden that blends with a spectacular view of the bay will also be built.
“I’ve seen the perpsectives and the view from up there will be breathtaking. There will be an unobstructed view of the sea and it is beautiful,” Tan said.
With over 700 tenants, SM Mall of Asia is considered one of SM’s most successful malls, enjoying an occupancy of between 98% and 100%. This has prompted the company to do the redevelopment of the mall in phases. The Olympic-size skating rink which will be on the third floor is targeted to be ready by the end of the year. A food hall, dolled up with designer furniture in tune with the mall’s modern look, will also open on the third level.
New brands are also set to come in including Swedish clothing giant H&M which is slated to introduce a 3,000 square meter flagship store that promises to be something unique.
The mall will also have a “warmer” look and feel, according to Tan where the interior will adopt a different color scheme and introduce wooden panels.
The mall also recently unveiled a “solar carpark” which was visited recently by no less than environment advocate and former US Vice President Al Gore. The 2.7 megawatt MOA solar carpark, in partnership with Solar Philippines, is nearly twice the size of the 1.5 MW SM North Edsa Solar Carpark, making it one of the world’s largest on-site solar projects. Comprised of 10,426 solar panels and 40 inverters, it supplies nearly 20% of the mall’s power needs.
To add to the dynamic developments in the 60-hectare MOA complex, Conrad Manila, SM Prime’s deluxe hotel is set to open in June this year with a new retail podium called S’Maison which will house unique concept stores as well as luxury retail stores, fine dining restaurants and state-of-the-art cinemas.
Another latest development, the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Museum is taking shape which will give visitors a unique experience in learning the history of the 250-year old global trade route where the Philippines and Mexico played major roles. The museum will highlight the galleon trade’s impact on today’s commerce, banking, travel, and cultural exchange. The dome will showcase the actual process of building a galleon, while exhibiting relics such as porcelain, gold, and other goods that were traded in the Spanish era.
With such new and exciting additions, MOA will add about 250,000 square meters to its floorplate, spanning a total of over 650,000 square meters which will count as one of the largest in the world, a fitting milestone to a mall that has touched the lives of millions in the last 10 years.