DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) — A high-rise condominium tower and a premiere mall will rise at the three-hectare site of the ill-fated four-story New City Commercial Corporation (NCCC) Mall Davao in Ma-a, a top executive said.
“Earlier last year that mall was supposed to be renovated but since the incident, it cannot happen anymore so we had to make new plans. We’re going to rebuild the mall eventually,” Lafayette Lim, the chief executive officer of the homegrown LTS Malls Inc., the mother company of the NCCC Mall, told reporters during the opening of their new four-story NCCC Mall Buhangin on Sunday.
He said plans have been laid out already for the construction of the next project with DMCI Homes, the real estate arm of the DMCI Holdings.
Details of the latest project were not disclosed but the high-rise condominium to be developed by the Consunji-owned real estate firm will be “as high as the city allows” while the new mall will feature a new “standard in design,” Lim said.
Lim said it’s also probable that the Consunji firm will build the future malls of the company.
He said no timeframe has been set yet as to the construction but it will come once the demolition is completed and the necessary permits complied.
“We have to wait for the demolition to be over and we have to secure the necessary permits also so when we’re ready to build, then we’ll start building. We cannot say when but we have already prepared the plans,” Lim said.
He added the demolition, which started on May 19, would be completed this year by D.M. Consunji Inc.
The P1 billion NCCC Mall Buhangin opened seven months after the December 23, 2017 fire in the NCCC Mall along Ma-a.
Thirty eight workers were killed in the fire, 37 of them from SSI (Survey Sampling International) business processing outsourcing (BPO) firm and one mall employee who helped rescue trapped SSI workers.
Most of the families of the fire victims have decided to settle with the mall management, Lim said.
“We have already settled with most of them — almost all of them. There are just a few who haven’t settled,” he said.
The fire incident prompted the task force to recommend the relief of involved BFP personnel who were recommended for criminal/administrative charges during the pendency of the case; investigate the possible negligence in the custody of official documents by some Davao City Fire District Personnel; and intensive and sustained inspection and risk assessment of all high-risk establishments to ensure compliance of the Fire Code; issuance of memorandum from the DILG to BFP and local government units reinforcing the requirement and indispensability of Fire Safety Evaluation Clearance (FSEC) and Fire Safety Inspection Certificate; strengthen profiling of all establishments and the designation of official records custodian of fire safety-related documents in all fire stations and providing penal provision for any violation; assessment on the capability of BFP Fire Safety Enforcers through examination to ensure their efficiency; and enhancement of BFP firefighters on fire suppression and rescue operation involving indoor or confined fire incident.
The task force found that there was malpractice in the installation of electrical wirings during the renovation at the third floor; absence of appropriate license of some workers performing electrical works; and absence of building permit during renovation.
Also, it found that the sprinkler systems at the 4th floor occupied by SSI was not functional; there was insufficient means of egress on the 4th floor; some exit doors had no self-closing device; some stairs were not fully enclosed; ground floor stair landing to the one exit was utilized as storage; failure to notify nearest fire station when the fire alarm system and sprinkler systems were out of service for more than four hours; dry standpipes were not installed at exits; proper raceways were not provided on the electrical wirings installed at the renovated portion of the 3rd portal; and designated fire safety inspectors failed to indicated the correct fire safety status or violations of the building.
The Interagency Anti-Arson Task Force (IATF) identified six members of the Lim Family – Helen A. Lim, Lafayette A. Lim, Ivy Michelle A. Lim, Sharlene Faye A. Lim, Ivan Spencer A. Lim, Julie Ann C. Lim – and Ramon Del Castillo who may face cases for possible reckless imprudence resulting to multiple homicide and multiple physical injuries.
“Right now, we really just have to wait for the action of DOJ (Department of Justice) depending on their response to the recommendations of the task force,” he said.
Modern mall, tribute to city’s growth
Lim said the Buhangin mall, a tribute to the city’s exponential growth, would cater to the growing market in the area, including the surrounding communities.
“It’s our way of saying that we have full confidence in the growth of Davao City. As you can see it’s a very beautiful mall. Davao has not seen a mall like this before. Aside from that, it’s for our customers it’s still the NCCC they knew of,” he added.
The mall has initially opened the supermarket and departments but tenants are expected to open shop in the following weeks while the four cinemas, will open by September this year, Lim said.
NCCC public relations manager Thea Septann S. Padua told MindaNews last April that the mall management installed a building management system, a centralized system that allows the mall management to detect any emergency to prevent a tragedy similar to the December fire.
This would have been the homegrown company’s second in the city and fourth in the country after NCCC Mall Davao in Maa, NCCC Mall Tagum, and NCCC Mall Puerto Princesa.
The NCCC Mall Buhangin will have an al fresco garden area/roof deck on the fourth floor and boasts of “highly-efficient air-conditioning system that generates more airflow but less noise, skylights that let in natural lighting and the use of volatile organic compound paint which are less toxic.”
The new mall will have four cinemas, each sporting “the latest Dolby Atmos Sound Technology with a 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos system and XPand 3D,” the first and only in Mindanao. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)