In Metro Manila, malls have been cropping up like crazy over the last couple of years, so a new one might not be met with much enthusiasm unless it has something spectacular to offer.
Proponents of the Triangle North of Manila, or TriNoma, say they do. "We’re on top of a depot but we’ve got a one-hectare park We have several casual restaurants and fine-dining restaurants and the ambience is different because they’re overlooking the park," said Rowena Manhit-Tomeldan, vice-president and deputy group head for Ayala Malls Group, last week.
The TriNoma Park, split into two levels, offers trees and water features in a Zen-like atmosphere.
The upper level, which has fish pools and bridged paths, is meant for group functions, whereas the lower level, accessible by a winding staircase fused with a waterfall, is a more intimate area for dates or private parties.
Water installations are designed to leap from the ground level all the way to the topmost level and flow into the pools surrounding the area.
Of course, an oasis set amidst 195,000 square meters of leased concrete may be a refreshing change, but it’s not exactly the reason why people go to a mall.
"There are lots of things to see at TriNoma, we have the activity center, seven cinemas, the biggest Timezone in the country. This is not just another mall — we have options for shopping, dining and entertainment," Ms. Manhit-Tomeldan assured BusinessWorld during the press launch.
TriNoma, so-called because it is a perfect triangle bounded by Mindanao Ave. Ext., EDSA and North Ave., boasts of being the center "where all come together."
In four months of operations, TriNoma is said to have drawn a fair share of the connected MRT station’s 80,000 daily foot traffic.
In addition, housewives, students and office workers of nearby government agencies are mainstays for the work week, while families descend on the weekend.
TriNoma General Manager Javier D. Hernandez said that for the moment, the Ayala Malls Group is focused on building up mall traffic and opening all the stores before Christmas.
The mall’s 3,000 parking spaces are now available to customers. Crossings department store is already open and so far, 75% or close to 400 of the expected 550 retail shops in the mall are now fully operational.
With anchor store Landmark supermarket and food court opened recently and the bi-level Landmark department store opening this October, TriNoma is set to welcome more shoppers.
"Brands like Rolex, Lonsdale, Skechers, Birkenstock, Flojos — you’ve seen them in other stores but this time they’re stand-alone concept stores. We have the biggest flagship stores of Kamiseta, Bayo, Penshoppe, Bench we’re looking not just at high-end foreign brands; we want the local brands to come in," Mr. Hernandez said.
"We want the mall to be unique. We’ve collaborated with the tenants through a painstaking planning process so all the stores here look different [from their branches elsewhere]," he added.
TriNoma has several entry points to four zones, each with a distinct ambience, spread out on four levels.
Mr. Hernandez observed that classical music will be out of place on Level 2, the Teen and Sports Zones, and its graffiti-art decorated hangout areas. Nor will such music be welcome in the Children’s Zone, but it could be more appropriate for the Wellness Zone or perhaps for the Home Zone and its relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.
Mall for everyone
A plethora of fashion shops will make shopaholics’ heads spin, but among the notables is the first outlet in the country for women’s apparel brand Promod, which grew from a French family boutique in 1975 to a global brand located in 35 countries, with the Philippines as its fifth Asian country.
Other firsts include Hong Kong’s Tough Jeansmith, Brazil’s Dumond, homegrown Bleach Catastrophe, a quirky footwear concept store called Res-Toe-Run, and the flagship store of Adidas, which provides the option of customizing one’s shoe — for example, to fit pressure points depending on how one walks.
Children’s stores include Animaland, Ants & Bees, Barbie, Club Princess, Hallmark Babies, and Hobbes, whereas teens have The T-shirt Project, Artwork, Ecko Unlimited, Planet X Comic Shop, Boyz Toyz, Shoe Salon and People Are People.
A good number of IT stores can be found, among them Olympic World, Canon D Zone, Power Mac, HP Invent, Digital Walker, and Avant.
Health, beauty and wellness, on the other hand, include Obagi Medical Spa, The Spa, Shiseido, The Face Shop, among others, lumped in with home shops Restoration, Interiors, and Showcase Carpet, to name a few.
Restaurants include those found in other Ayala developments like Greenbelt and Serendra, plus the first Manila outlet of La Maison from Cebu.
As the mall also aspires to be an entertainment hub, live performances are held at the activity center.
Private viewings and filmfests at the One THX Cinema or any of the six all-digital cinemas will be held in the future. For now, Mr. Hernandez said that the TriNoma cinemas, with a total seating capacity of 2,000, have consistently been in the top three for nationwide sales for blockbuster movies.
"You haven’t seen this number of shops, dining and entertainment options available in a single retail space in the North area until now," said Mr. Hernandez.
It’s no idle boast. One can check in at the concierge for store information as one is likely to get lost in this maze of a mall.