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ALI doubling hotel capacity, flagship malls

Real estate giant Ayala Land Inc. is doubling the capacity of its SEDA hotel brand while undertaking a two-year renovation of four of its biggest malls in a bid to further increase foot traffic by making them provide a better shopping and dining experience to customers.

“We have 12 locations (for SEDA) today. We see a lot of opportunity for the SEDA. It has done really well with consumer… So we’re looking at expanding,” said ALI Senior Vice President for Leasing and Hospitality Mariana Zobel de Ayala in an interview.

She revealed that, “we are adding more hotels in tourist dense locations… We’re also looking to double our room count over the next five years from roughly about 4000 to 8000.”

Meanwhile, for ALI’s malls, Zobel said, “we’re really excited because we have four major flagship projects this year, which are renovations, that’s in addition to our new builds as well.”

She noted that, ALI has “a pipeline of new and exciting locations around the Philippines” but they are not yet ready to disclose the capital expenditure budget for all of these hotel and mall projects.

“In the case of the flagship renovations, we have Glorietta, Greenbelt, TriNoma, and Ayala Center Cebu. In all of those projects, we’ve taken a step back to really understand our target market, what their needs are, what they’re looking for, how we might be able to excite and surprise them in a different way,” Zobel said. 

She added that, “we’re using those learnings to rethink the physical experience, which is, again, things like the facade, navigation through the mall and also the the soft side of the experience, which is where the stores are and also how we engage with the customer.”

The renovation work in the four malls will be done in phases so operations will continue and will not have to be halted completely. “Most of them are planned over two years. This is a two-year project,” Zobel said.

“We’re actually in planning already. So you might start seeing parts of it and phases of it over the next year thru 2026. But we’ve really taken extra thought and precaution to ensure that we minimize disruption to our tenants and also to our clients, as we still welcome them to the mall,” she said.

While the renovations will also result in an some expansion of leasable space, Zobel said that “more importantly, it’s also resulted in what I think is more dynamic use of our open and common spaces.”

“In the case of Glorietta, for example, we have several parks and we’ve worked with global planners to help us rethink how to integrate those parts parks better within the mall experience. Right now they sit a little bit separate. I’m really excited to share with you because I think you’ll be happy as consumers,” she noted.

Zobel said the renovations “shows our commitment in our existing locations… I really feel we have some wonderful locations and assets, and there are ways to kind of reuse them in new ways.”

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The article was originally published in Manila Bulletin and written by James A. Loyola.

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