Golden hub rises in Mindanao
Ayala’s Centrio is set to become the new central business district of Cagayan de Oro CityBy Marge C. Enriquez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Two giant acacia trees are the basis for the design of Centrio, the upcoming Ayala mall and mixed-use development at the heart of Cagayan de Oro City.
While most developers would build a shell and force their way into the land, Ayala Land Inc. chose to make the building design grow out of it. The trees are central to the site making the architecture distinctive. Most of the dining outlets are oriented toward the Centrio Garden. This is one of the main attractions of Centrio Mall which is set to open in the last quarter of the year.
Centrio is a P5-billion, 3.7-hectare mixed-use development of Ayala Land. A glimpse into the city’s future, Centrio is foreseen to be the new central business district of CDO.
Centrio is strategically located in the middle of the economic hub of Cagayan de Oro City, adjacent to the provincial capitol, a church and a hospital within distance from major schools and universities, private and government offices.
Cagayan de Oro City is called the Gateway to Northern Mindanao, which has become the largest in the island, contributing 28 percent of the annual gross domestic product of Mindanao, according to the National Economic and Development Authority. It is one of the few regions which helped the Philippine economy dodge the recession.
With Northern Mindanao’s transformation from an agriculture-based to a service-led economy, and the forthcoming Laguindingan International Airport, Ayala Land has fast-tracked Centrio.
Antonino Aquino, Ayala Land president and CEO, said that while it took 50 years to build the Makati CBD, the company is working faster in Centrio with simultaneous constructions. It will serve as a model for growth in the region.
“This is the first city where we will be doing things in a big way,” said Aquino. “This will help the Cagayan de Oro economy so people can get back on their feet as quickly…. We can contribute to the quality of life of the people.”
The compact development consists the Centrio Mall, office spaces, the 23-story Centrio Tower by Avida and the 150-room Kukun Hotel.
Centrio Mall has a gross leasable area of 44,000 sq m that can accommodate over 300 retail, dining and entertainment establishments. Rowena Tomeldan, vice president and chief operating officer of Ayala Malls, said it will offer concepts from Manila such as Max’s Fried Chicken, Starbucks and McDonald’s. Rustan’s Fresh and Robinson’s Department stores serve as the anchors.
Still, it will not feel like a typical Ayala mall because it will provide homegrown concepts such as Candy’s, known for desserts and entrées; Shabu Way; Barkadahan Grill; Spruce Designer Network Inc., known for fashion-forward imported, Visayan and Mindanao labels; and the trendy Mag’s Boutique, owned by businesswoman Mags Cue.
According to focus groups discussions, Tomeldan observed, “There is no difference between Davaoeños and Cagayanons. They are more budget conscious, but they like to eat out and to celebrate. That’s a plus for us.”
For instance, the developer invited Bigby’s Café and Restaurant, which started in Ayala Center Cebu. It offers Filipino and international dishes at prices ranging from P200 to P499.
Ayala also selected foreign brands that are affordable to the market such as Payless.
Centrio will also offer Ayala’s signature special events, VIPinoy Lounge for the balikbayan and waiting room for fathers, a family lounge and a nursery room. There will be concierge service that can assist shoppers and four movie houses that will provide the locals new and relaxing experiences in cinema.
The residential high-rise, Centrio Tower, will have 522 units. With prices ranging from a P1.68-million studio to a P4.48-million two-bedroom unit. Some 50 percent have already been sold. The project attracts businessmen, professionals and OFWs from Cagayan de Oro and neighboring provinces.
Built on top of the mall, Kukun is dubbed the country’s first “urban lifestyle hotel.” Basically, a lifestyle hotel gives services and amenities that satisfy the preferences of its clients in a boutique hotel environment but with good value for money.
With its unique personalized service, it is envisioned to be the hotel of choice in Cagayan de Oro. Kukun is managed by Ayala Land Hotels and Resorts Corp.
Centrio will also offer office space. The business process outsourcing area has a gross leasable area of 8,500 sq m.
Everything will be within walking distance. The idea of accessibility is to make a low-density development like Centrio attractive and convenient to the inhabitants and visitors.
Emilio Tumbocon, senior vice president and group head for Visayas and Mindanao, said the development has contributed much to the local economy, employing over 2,500 workers aside from support industries.
“Once construction is finished, there will be sustainable employment,” he said.