Abreeza: A Breath of Fresh Air
By Jojie Alcantara
Photos/blueprints provided by Abreeza
The arrival of Ayala Malls in Mindanao has been much awaited and it was only last year that the locals could see a development taking place in Davao City.
In an exclusive interview with Clavel Tongco (General Manager, Accendo Commercial Corp.), Architect Dave Blas (Senior Division Manager, Innovation and Design Group, Ayala Land Inc.) and Roanne Hinolan (Business Development Manager, Ayala Malls Group, Ayala Land Inc.), I was informed that Abreeza Mall was thought out creatively with Davao and Mindanaoans in mind.
Ayala Land’s decision to forge a joint venture with the Floreindos in Davao is due to favorable factors: Davao is identified as the second most lucrative market in the Visayas-Mindanao area, next to Cebu. There is a high concentration of the ABC market , approximately 19% percent of the total population of Davao. Second, the city is considered the educational hub of Mindanao with varied choices of good colleges and universities.
Davao is also considered the gateway to the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area, giving it a strong potential regional and tourist market draw. This makes it a perfect opportunity for creating not just a regional mall, but a mixed-use environment of office, residential and hotel developments in one complex.
The concept of Abreeza is new, according to Architect Dave Blas. “Our understanding of typical Dabawenyos is that they are more relaxed and casual. So this time, we wanted to create a mall that’s fairly contemporary and colorful, and most importantly reflective of Davao’s way of life and culture.” For this reason, they veered away from their usual neutral tones and drew inspiration from the city’s vibrant hues of red, green and deep blue.
Lush landscapes will be added to the differently-colored mall entrances, which include three pockets of theme gardens, water features, a mini “rainforest” area, hanging vines, an orchidarium, al fresco area for dining that spills out into the gardens, and more people-oriented spaces that will allow them to move from one activity to the other on foot.
The huge complex is named Abreeza to symbolize a breezy, spacious and relaxed environment, while respecting the natural topography of the land by designing open air garden landscapes that contribute to the “greening” of the environment. Even the location of basement parking is already sunken, with natural paving to allow water to sink back into the ground during rainy season.
The concept of this open spaced mall complex also has a sensible aim. Architect Dave says, “We are managing energy consumption for water and electricity per year that is currently at par with, if not more stringent than ASEAN benchmarks, and we are actually setting self-imposed targets to ensure that.”
GM Clavel Tongco explains how Davao will have a lot of first time choices –a mix of popular specialty stores of both local and international brands are coming in, including fast food outlets, restaurants, cafes (think Starbucks!), bookstores (think Fully Booked!), four state of the art cinemas and an activity center. New concepts like flagship stores, food and special retail zones are to be expected. There is also the food court (Food Choices), a gaming arcade (Time Zone) for the family, and Robinson’s department store and supermarket. Even the third level of the mall has a significant outdoor component which has an open shaded area that is naturally ventilated sans air conditioning. Top it off with our very own Ann Pamintuan’s huge art piece to accentuate the lush landscaping.
For Project Development Officer Roann Hinolan, the mall occupies only 3 hectares of the 10-hectare property development. Expect a boutique hotel by 2012 and the residential tower to be launched within this year. Even now, while the expected target is in October, the company has high hopes for Abreeza to officially open earlier by May this year.
Now here is something Dabawenyos can look forward to — a quality bonding time with friends and family.
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(Jojie Alcantara has been writing in her SunStar column for 15 years now, and has transitioned into a photographer through the years. Email her at [email protected] or visit her site at www.pbase.com/jojie_alcantara)