The Ayala Corp. has poured in P1 billion worth of investments in Legazpi City, a year before the Southern Luzon International Airport operates in the Bicol region, specifically in Albay province.
Legazpi City Mayor Noel Rosal said on Saturday evening during his 51st birthday celebration held at the city motorpool compound, where a P30-million convention center is being built, that Ayala Corp. has invested P1 billion for the construction of a new mall right at the heart of the city.
“Because of the great potential and business opportunities in Legazpi, though we’re a small city, the Ayala Corp. did not hesitate and invested P1 billion worth of new mall,” Rosal added.
Legazpi City, which is known in the travel industry as the “City of Fun and Adventure,” was voted as the
second livable city in the country in last year’s search for the country’s top 3 most-livable cities.
In the ranking among the three, Iloilo came first; Legazpi City, second; and Cebu, third.
The search, called the Livable Cities Design Challenge, was organized by the National Competitiveness Council, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2015 National Organizing Council, World Wildlife Fund, Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Reconstruction, Asia Society, Urban Land Institute and the United States Assistance for International Development, which has been supporting the Cities Development Initiative programs, like Project Invest.
The Ayala mall project is expected to be operational by December.
Rosal said Ayala Corp. took over the construction of the mall from Liberty Commercial Center (LCC), which started to build the project in the site of the old public market.
The LCC has a chain of malls in Bicol and is owned by the Filipino-Chinese Tan family from Tabaco City, who pioneered the establishment of malls in three key cities of the region—Tabaco, Legazpi and Naga.
The new investment is expected to generate more jobs for the Bicolanos and additional income for the government.
Aside from the additional P1-billion investment of the Ayala Corp., SM and Robinsons managements are trying to secure big lands, where they would put up multibillion-peso investments, apart from their chains of supermarkets in the region.
The Asian Institute of Management described Legazpi as a fast-rising city in terms of infrastructure development, business growth and notable peace and order condition following good governance —bouncing rapidly back on its feet after the devastating impact of Supertyphoon Reming eight years ago.
Legazpi is the center of trade and commerce in the Bicol region, where the seat of national government and the university belt of the region are located.
With massive infrastructure development, business growth and big influx of foreign and domestic tourists in this city, Legazpi, according to Rosal, is the next investment hub in the country after to Davao and Cebu.