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Ayala Malls Manila Bay: a big venture hits a big snag

After having recently finished an epic series on Ayala Center, you perhaps were not expecting the Urban Roamer to look into an Ayala mall that soon. But the opportunity presented itself recently to check out Ayala’s latest mall venture: Ayala Malls Manila Bay.

With five floors and around 160,000 square meters in land area, Ayala Malls Manila Bay is one of the largest retail mall structures Ayala has built. It also doesn’t look like the typical “box” design (stylized or otherwise) that shopping malls here tend to have. If anything, it actually looks more like an office building with a large courtyard in the middle.

And yes, there is a road in the middle too, reminiscent of Julia Vargas Avenue cutting through SM Megamall.

That “courtyard” BTW is the park and open activity area called the Central Garden. One can also find sculptures and artworks around the garden, which gives this space a bit more character.

Aside from the usual stores and the dedicated events stage that is common among Ayala malls, what makes Ayala Mall Manila Bay unique is that it also offers different “villages” which are sections dedicated to stores and other outlets selling different items for a particular country. There is for instance a Korean village, Chinese village, Japanese village, and, of course, a Filipino village.

But while Ayala Malls Manila Bay has been open since September 2019, there are still a few shops that have opened in the mall. Partly it may have been due to its proximity to public transport back then, something that has been remedied with the EDSA Carousel buses passing by this mall.

This would tie in to probably the biggest factor as to why the mall is still seeing few people and few open shops at that, the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit the retail industry quite hard and from which the industry is still striving to recover from.

Thus, over a year later, Ayala Malls Manila Bay has yet to reach whatever goal it has set for foot traffic and open retail space. Some retailers have yet to construct their spaces while future developments such as a hotel and other facilities are moving at a slower pace. It doesn’t also help that some retailers that opened early had to close down indefinitely thanks to the pandemic.

With those few facilities and, honestly, nothing to see here yet that would make one consider to visit the mall, the Urban Roamer can’t think of a reason why anyone should find time to visit Ayala Malls Manila Bay. Except perhaps if you are looking for a mall that is near the gaming and entertainment complexes that are Solaire and City of Dreams Manila, to which the mall is just a few steps away.

Till we see something new, if you’re in this part of the metropolis, better stick around with SM Mall of Asia, though at this time of writing it’s in a middle of an expansion so you might not be seeing a lot than before.

Acknowledgements as well to Wikipedia

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