Nostalgia in the air over rumored closure of good ol’ Harrison Plaza

July 9, 2019 - 10:16 AM
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Harrison Plaza from Wikimedia
An undated photo of Harrison Plaza (Wikimedia/Judgefloro)

When rumors that Harrison Plaza will be closing down soon started floating, it triggered memories of a childhood spent in one of the country’s earliest malls.

The exact date of closure is not yet certain as some unverified reports say it would happen as early as July 30. What is certain is that a major property developer will build a 7-hectare complex in its stead.

Some Filipinos shared photos of the current condition of the deteriorating Harrison Plaza.

Goodbye Harrison Plaza, my first ever favorite mall. =(( close na daw sila on July 30.Edit: Extended daw sila until December 2019 according sa mga nag rerent ng stalls sa Hp 🙂

Posted by Kaecee Aguirre on Wednesday, July 3, 2019

 

They recalled how Harrison Plaza became popular for cheap finds of comic books, clothing, shoes and cinemas.

Others noted that its proximity to Manila Zoo made the shopping mall a nice retreat after the tour.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

 

SM Prime Holdings chairperson Henry Sy Jr. has reportedly been negotiating with the Martel family, the owners of Harrison Plaza, of buying the property since April 2018.

SM Prime supposedly committed P40 million worth of investment to the area.

“It’s a very good area. This can be a massive project. We could build a new shopping center with (residential) condominium above it,” Sy was quoted as saying.

However, both parties will have to wait until 2020 or 2022 for the expiration of the Martels’ contract.

“Once we finish (discussions) with the Martels, we will start with it right away. Right now, demand for (residential condominium) units is so much so I have to keep on replenishing land because we’re running out of the land,” Sy said.

There’s no update yet on discussions for the site or on whether there are other developers interested in it.

One of Manila’s iconic shopping malls

Harrison Plaza became one of the first major shopping malls in Manila when it was opened in Malate in the city of Manila in 1976.

It was once one of the upscale shopping centers with four cinemas, a Rustan’s and an SM department store, a fountain at the center of the mall and an atrium where events were hosted.

The lot it occupies was also strategic as it is near other popular spots, such as the Manila Zoo, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex and Roxas Boulevard.

According to a report, Harrison Plaza became popular because its concept of having different types of stores under one roof rather than as separate boutiques or establishments was relatively new.

Newer malls located in more convenient areas across Metro Manila cropped up over the years and Harrison Plaza was left behind in terms of development and maintenance.

“The cinemas and the Rustan’s disappeared, with tiangge stalls and ukays moving in on the territory. Bad maintenance made the good lighting and tiling disappear until the place began to look as haunted as it probably is,” writer Patricia Cong said.

Rumors on its demolition and replacement with a new shopping complex have already been circulating for nearly a decade.

Filipinos who frequent the complex even in its rundown state hoped that whatever will be built after can stand the test of time.