In the context of modernity, we try to see our communities as self-contained hubs where residents have quick access to all of the necessities and conveniences of city life. In an ideal scenario, everything would be within walking distance: retail centers, entertainment halls, even schools or businesses or even places of worship. There would be in-property transportation terminals for those who work outside of the immediate vicinity.
For the most part, developers building communities within key cities have already factored all of these in by adding a retail row or a transport hub to their villages. But, with many people considering the concept of vertical residential real estate (essentially, condominium units in mid- or high-rise structures,) this idea has needed some recalibration and rethinking to meet present needs. This, however, is something that the SM Development Corporation (SMDC) has worked into practice since its first development more than a decade ago.
Building a Home Beside the Mall
Over the past decade, several of SMDC’s developments have followed a paradigm that is simply referred to as Homes Beside the Mall. These are residential structures strategically placed across the street from, behind, or even adjacent to some of SM’s most prominent Supermalls.
This has enabled residents fortunate enough to move into these structures to live a life that is marked by comfort and convenience. Shopping for the week’s groceries is a breeze with supermarkets or hypermarkets, pharmacies, and convenience stores located right outside one’s front door. One can enjoy browsing and buying at stores carrying some of the world’s biggest brands, then take a break to enjoy world-class cuisine at any of a growing number of restaurants. Entertainment options? Not a problem: a short walk or an escalator ride leads up to cinemas running both local and foreign films, amusement arcades for kids of all ages, and even concert and conference halls running a host of exhibitions and performances.
Las Piñas, one of Manila’s fastest growing southern suburbs, is one area that has seen the impact of homes beside the mall. In recent years, SM Southmall – the first major mall of its kind in the southern part of the city – has grown into a premier lifestyle hub: essentially a growing community in and of itself with a residential enclave rising around it. As a result of Southmall’s success, SMDC aims to take things up a notch with a second development within the property.
The Las Piñas Promise
And why wouldn’t they? The location is prime for development: BPOs have been setting up shop within the vicinity and a number of key corporations have relocated to nearby Alabang and Parañaque.
The area is also close to a number of good schools and universities, making it an ideal place in which to raise a family. Utilities such as good laundries and payment centers abound, and the safety of the zone is assured by the continued presence of the local fire and police departments. Healthcare is also not an issue: the Asian Hospital Medical Center, Perpetual Help Hospital, and other smaller clinics are within reach. As for transportation, SM Southmall has long had its own transport terminal where public utility vehicles move commuters to and from various parts of the city for work or school.
While it has evolved into a self-contained community, this zone continues to grow. Alongside the mall is the two-tower, eight-storey SM South Tower Offices, which hosts both global and local companies. The retail tenants on the ground floor have also enriched the community in terms of service offerings as these include a branch of The Medical City, authentic Chinese restaurants as well as a branch of the AlfaMart chain. The towers have 1,528 parking slots between them and the Sky Garden on the 5th floor provides the perfect respite from the daily grind.
Likewise, part of Southmall’s future development also includes an area within its vicinity that has been earmarked as the site for a renowned university. Keeping all these in mind, the residential enclave beside SM Southmall continues to evolve – and is currently getting ready for another phase of development: one that will certainly put it in the spotlight as a community designed to meet the challenges of tomorrow.