The much awaited Robinsons North Mall finally opened it’s doors to the public today and the Visayan Business Post was there to get a first look at the newest addition to Tacloban’s landscape.
Considering how the site looked just a few weeks ago, the contractors have done an incredible job in getting the Mall ready for today’s partial opening. Parts of the site are still clearly under construction and there is still a lot of work to do. So for the moment, only the Robinsons Supermarket and Department Store are open to the public, with the upper floors and and remaining Mall shops, Food Gallery and Movieworld Cinema, hidden behind screens and barriers, still being prepared for the full opening on December 14th.
Our first impressions are that the new mall is a vast improvement on the original Robinsons Place, Tacloban, with flowing curves and some spectacular atrium spaces replacing the bland and boxy lines of it’s predecessor.
Both the Supermarket and the Department Store appear to be smaller that their original counterparts, but make up for the lack of size with well designed use of the available space, minimising circulation areas, putting everything within easy reach, with the minimum of leg work!
We did encounter one or two teething problems on the day, though these are excusable, given the huge amount of work involved, and we’re sure these will be put right in due course. We were stuck at the checkout for quite a while due to one of our purchases not being logged properly on their computer system. We also wasted 20 minutes standing in a rather chaotic queue at the Snacks and Meals counter. The area doesn’t quite have enough space and only one checkout available. At lunchtime, this was constantly serving walk-up priority customers, while the rest of the queue failed to move at all. In the end, we had to give up and leave. We later found out, that if we had taken the barcode of our purchases to one of the other checkout counters, we could have paid there, however no one was passing this information on those waiting in line.
All in all, however, our experience at the Robinsons North Mall was a very positive one. They still have a lot of work to do in the coming week, but the day has thoroughly whetted our appetite for the grand opening at 2.30pm on December 14th. See you there!
As an unfortunate footnote to today’s events, the opening of the new mall has resulted in brownouts for a number of areas connected to the LEYECO 2 Abucay sub-station. At the time of writing, 5pm, the Visayan Business Post has been advised that power supplies should be restored before nightfall, once the main activities at the Mall have concluded.