After years and years of speculation, the wait is finally over!

Robinsons has just begun the construction of what should be one of the biggest investment projects in the Tuna Capital of the Philippines, General Santos City in years!

This project, a first-class shopping center reportedly costing P2 billion pesos and to be known as Robinsons General Santos, is under the Robinsons Land Corporation (RLC), a JG Summit Company headed by Chairman Emeritus, John Gokongwei, Jr.

Situated in an 8.5 hectare property acquired by the Gokongwei’s in the late 80s along the corner of Jose Catolico Avenue, National Highway and the Bula-Lagao Road, this proposed edifice is about 500 meters away from the KCC Mall and the Gaisano Mall.

Clearing of the land has began almost a week ago after a series of meetings between RLC people and the local authorities including GenSan Mayor Pedro Acharon, Jr.   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.  Eventually due to the barbaric terroristic incidents, they held off….. until now.


The Robinsons Gen. Santos site at corner J. Catolico Avenue (going right) and Bula-Lagao road (going left)

And so with Robinsons’ impending move to go ahead with their project, the city government will be awarding them incentives in form of tax breaks.  “Mall operations” is one of the top  “investment priority areas” under the city’s New Investment Code.

Robinsons Gen. Santos will be a two-storey mall which will house the company’s flagship stores- Robinsons Department Store, Robinsons Supermarket, Robinsons Appliances, Handyman Do It Center plus four Robinsons’ cinemas.

Aside from that is a Bingo center, an Amusement center and lots and lots of rentable spaces for retail shops and boutiques, restaurants and dining establishments.

More than 500 workers will be hired for the construction of the biggest of all of the Gensan malls and about 700 personnel will be employed once it becomes operational.  I learned that the Robinson’s management has pledged that 80% of their new hires will all be locals which redounds well for the benefit of the city’s new graduates and unemployed but skilled workforce.

Bula-Lagao Road

Meanwhile, according to a very reliable source, the SM group for its part is now on its final talks with the owners of a prime 8-hectare property along Santiago Boulevard which they have optioned to lease for their own mall.

And with NCCC of Davao recently opening its warehouse outlet at Kimball Plaza‘s old bodega at Leon Llido Street, signs may be pointing to their eventual entry into the Mall business in GenSan considering that they also have a four-hectare property along the National Highway.

Wow!  All these only mean one thing – more and more investors are now seeing Gen. Santos city in a new light and are beginning to realize the truth in the Tuna Capital of the Philippines being named twice as the Most Competitive Mid-Sized City in the country.

Robinsons Gen. Santos is scheduled to open during the 2nd quarter of 2009.  Check back here for regular updates.

Updates:  More photos of the mall site…

The Robinsons Lot now with its new fence.

A grader doing ground clearing inside the Robinsons lot.