07/25/16

Of Bygone Days and An Uncertain Future: The Saga Of Harrison Plaza

Before there was the mall, there was a park. Harrison Park as it was called and it was a pretty wide open green space. It served as breathing space in the midst of the growing congestion in southern part of the city. It also served as a natural extension to the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex located right across it as kids played football and softball in the greens. There is also Manila Zoo nearby, which made the park a children’s zone for play and fun. You can imagine how big the old Harrison Park was.

Unfortunately, the bigwigs at Manila City Hall (the land where the park is located is city government property, by the way) decided that the park had to give way to a commercial complex, the Harrison Plaza we know today which opened in 1976, a short while after the opening of Ali Mall.

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12/15/14

The Good Ol’ Greenhills Shopping Center, Part 1

Mention the place Greenhills and automatically, the first thing that comes to mind is the shopping center there. But make no mistake of dismissing it as just some regular shopping area. Greenhills Shopping Center is itself a landmark of sorts that urban denizens and even tourists have come to know and love over the years, long before the shopping mall chains dominated the urban landscape.

EARLY YEARS

Greenhills Shopping Center came about from a masterplan of the development of the greater Greenhills area as a residential-commercial development project by the Ortigas and Company. Renowned architect Juan Nakpil came up with the design of the structure as construction would begin by 1966. By 1970, the shopping complex was completed with the opening of its first building that was to be occupied by what would become a landmark establishment in the shopping center and Greenhills as a whole, the Unimart Supermarket. But it would the opening of another building in the complex a short time after that would put Greenhills on the map as a shopping destination, the original Virra Mall. Soon after, Shoppesville opened as well.

the old Virra Mall (photo courtesy of Tsikot.com via Tumblr)

Unimart Supermarket, Greenhills Shopping Center’s first and oldest tenant. It has not expanded beyond the confines of the complex, that is until the opening of its second branch at another Ortigas development, Capitol Commons, which is happening soon.

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08/13/14

Beyond the CBD: Makati’s Century City

Normally when one thinks of Makati, the mental image would pertain to the Central Business District area which happens to be the most well-known part of Makati. But that does not say it is the only part of Makati that is fully developed in an urban sense. In recent years, other parts of Makati are undergoing their own urban transformations as development in the city is moving beyond the CBD area.

One such neighborhood is the Poblacion-Bel-Air area north of the CBD. While it was originally, and still is, for the most part, conceived and developed as a sort-of suburban residential community, over the years, significant developments have been sprouting around the area. One such part of this village barangay is the site of the former International School-Manila, now known as a residential-commercial complex being developed called Century City.

image courtesy of the Century City website

Century City (courtesy of the Century City website)

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02/2/14

The Mega Fashion Hall: Ice Skating Makes a Homecoming

Back in the early days of the Urban Roamer, one of the early posts published in the site was a memoriam to the SM Megamall Ice Skating Rink. long considered as a landmark that put the mall and SM as a whole on the map. At that time, SM Megamall was undergoing what could be considered the early phase of its expansion as the Ice Skating Rink and the nearby Bowling area had to give way to more retailers who wish to set shop in the bustling mall.

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For the next four years or so, SM Megamall has constantly expanded itself to as far as its property can accommodate, putting up the Atrium expansion, a carpark/office space building, and finally, the Mega Fashion Hall building.

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01/25/14

The Mall of Willie

If you were one of those who watched Willie Revillame during the past few years, even on a casual basis, there was no way you would not have known that mall he was always advertising. You know, the one that bears his name, the Wil Tower Mall, which actually opened last September 2013.

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Technically, the mall is not exactly his as this mall was brought about by a joint venture between him and real estate firm Vista Land, which is owned by Revillame’s longtime friend and patron, former Senator Manny Villar. Another thing is that it is not just strictly a shopping mall but a commercial and residential complex of 42 floors and residential towers with the shopping mall as its base. Continue reading