SM building in GenSan collapses

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/25 September) — Four people were injured when the fourth floor of the car park building of the SM mall complex in General Santos City that was undergoing construction collapsed at dawn Sunday.

Construction activities were immediately halted at the east wing of the mall along San Miguel Street, according to City Engineer’s Office chief Mark Reyes.

Monolith Construction declined to issue any further statement during a press conference it organized late Sunday afternoon, saying the incident is now under investigation.

Project engineer Jeston Mangete likewise refused to comment on reports the integrity of the building may have been compromised by alleged pilferage of round bars from the construction site.

The SM mall complex is said to be the biggest of its kind in Mindanao, according to Hans Sy of SM Prime Holdings who recently visited the city to turn over to the local government the 440-meter two-lane concrete road it constructed to expand its front entrance road access.

Sy said they expect to open the mall in the first quarter of next year.

Reyes said their own investigators have not entered yet the collapsed construction site saying they are still waiting for SM structural and civil engineers who are expected to fly in Monday.

The area is now cordoned off and reporters are barred from entering the construction site.

The city engineer however said construction at the main SM building will still proceed as the cark park building is a separate structure and has a separate building permit.

Monolith Construction, a Quezon City-based construction company, could not give an estimate on the losses the damage and the delay will cause to the project.

The contractor however said the collapsed portion of the building covered at least 390 square meters and it also completely damaged the third and second floor areas.  The damaged portion separated the southern and northern portions of the building.

There was no immediate statement from SM Prime Holdings on the matter.

SM is the fifth and the biggest shopping mall to rise in the city at a cost of P2.5 billion.

In 2009, Robinson Place opened its mall along J. Catolico Street.  The others are Gaisano General Santos, KCC Gensan and Fitmart.

The Henry Sy-owned SM Mall in General Santos reportedly has a floor area of around 150,000 square meters and will employ roughly 500 directly hired workers.

SM is reportedly leasing the land from the Salazar family which lease contract covers 20 years subject to renewal. (Edwin G. Espejo/MindaNews)