Pasig in the eastern portion of Metro Manila has been, by large, a traditionally residential and industrial hub. And for a long while, it had a problem with regards to the commercial activity. Up until the 2000s, commercial development was largely confined to the Pasig side of the business district that is Ortigas Center. Come to think of it, the Pasig is not getting much from Ortigas Center as far as commercial activity is concerned since Mandaluyong and Quezon City got the “better parts” of the CBD, so to speak. At the time, Pasig’s only mall was the Ever Gotesco Mall Ortigas which opened in 1995 and, admittedly, was not much of a standout as a commercial landmark in Pasig.
The 2000s began a shift in the city’s landscape as malls slowly began sprouting in its premises: Robinsons Metro East in 2001, Tiendesitas in 2005, and Estancia in 2014 presented a shift in Pasig’s character as commercial development has penetrated deep into the city. But perhaps the most evident sign of this shift can be seen with the recent opening of, not one, but two new malls in Pasig in just a span of two months. The Urban Roamer checked out these developments which will be shared here.
SM CITY EAST ORTIGAS – DECEMBER 2016
To be technical about it, it must be pointed out that this new SM mall is technically not a new mall. This is actually the old Ever Gotesco Mall Ortigas, which was sold to SM and closed down on January 1, 2016, presumably due to the financial difficulties faced by its previous owner Ever Gotesco Malls. What followed was an 11-month period of internal renovation and other interior works, while the exterior was kept largely intact.
SM City East Ortigas formally opened on December 2, 2016 and has been well received by the mall-loving public of the east (Pasig as well as in nearby Rizal Province), a better reception than what the old Ever Gotesco Mall got before. Then again, what can you expect with an SM mall? It is bound to get a better reception, even if that SM mall is not much different with any other SM mall.
So yeah, it is basically just like any other SM mall, with nothing really to make it stand out at the moment. Well, expect for one aspect. And that is the presence of the SM Director’s Club, the more intimate and exclusive brand of SM cinemas. So at least, it’s got that going for it, especially if you are an avid moviegoer who relishes the finer aspects of watching films in movie theater.
AYALA MALLS THE 30TH – JANUARY 2017
Going beyond of its home turf in Makati, Ayala Land has been quite aggressive in building new malls, especially in the metropolis. Right on the heels of its rival SM’s closing salvo in 2016 with East Ortigas, Ayala opened 2017 with a bang of its own as it opened its new mall known as The 30th on January 12 this year.
Named as such because of its address at 30 Meralco Avenue, the mall was actually built on the site of the old Megatent events place between the Department of Education complex and the Renaissance Towers. Make no mistake though, the mall is just part of Ayala’s commercial-business project in this part of the city as its office building component called Paradigm is still under construction at this time of writing.
At the risk of sounding biased, The 30th managed to stand out to this Urban Roamer, not only with the unique shops that have opened in the mall and its intimate cinemas. What makes this mall stand out is the presence of an open green space that serves as the centerpiece of sorts of the mall complex. It may be a bit kitschy to some, but in a metropolis that is lacking open space, this one is most welcome. I would dare say, this is the best use of green landscaping Ayala has ever done to their malls since Greenbelt.
As with any commercial development, the opening of these malls will surely bring forth an adverse effect on the traffic situation along the roads where they are located. Heck, the woes have already begun as traffic in these areas became somewhat heavier than usual. On the other hand, at least Pasig has some new malls to boost its commercial profile.
If anything, we hope to see more meaningful commercial developments akin to The 30th, that are more community-based and has some open green space to boot. The metropolis needs more of these types of developments.