Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo and SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy led the groundbreaking ceremony of SM Naga in Camarines Sur.

Located along the entrance of the Central Business District 2 road beside the PNR Railway, the mall is scheduled to open during the last quarter of 2008.

The land area of the mall, which will be SM’s first mall in the Bicol region, consists of two adjoining lots with a total area of 44,279 sqm.

The groundbreaking ceremony began with an invocation and blessing by his Excellency Monsignor Jose Roxas, the auxialiary bishop of Caceres. The groundbreaking was highlighted by a capsule-laying ceremony, in which a national and local daily of that day and the mall’s floor plan were imbedded for future generations.

In his welcome remarks, Sy acknowledge that ‘Naga City is really growing. We feel a lot of growth potential here. Our experience in putting up malls around the country has showed us that we can enhance, rather than eat up the market. Before Christmas, we hope to be here with a warm welcome from Naga City.

Robredo, on the other hand, said that ‘we cannot express the joy and optimism of having an SM Mall here in the region. We are the regional center of commerce and trade, and despite difficulties in the city we are giving 5,000 jobs a year and growing by leaps and bounds. By building a mall in Naga, SM is giving oppurtunities for employment for its residents.

Also present during the ground breaking ceremony were Naga City officials-Vice Mayor Gabriel Bornado Jr. city council members Lourdes Asense, Salvador Castillo and John Bongat; Naga City Investments board executive director; Metro Peso manager Florencio Mongoso Jr.; and Barangay Captain Daniel Alhambra.

Joining them from the SM side were Shopping Centers Management Corp. President Annie Garcia, engineering executive vice president Antolin Paule, vice president for leasing Daisy Chua and associate vice president for engineering Fides Garcia. The property owners Romy Tan and Tomas Enrile were also present.