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The internet bids goodbye to Greenbelt 1 as it closes for redevelopment

By AYIE LICSI Published Apr 01, 2024 2:55 pm

Social media users waxed nostalgic as Greenbelt 1 closed its doors and is set for demolition on April 1.

Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) is tearing down the mall, which has been open to the public since the 80s, to make way for redevelopment. 

"Get ready to witness an [innovative] evolution as we revamp your Greenbelt experience," Ayala Malls wrote on Facebook on March 26. 

Make it Makati, a Facebook page by ALI, also announced the update to the Greenbelt malls.

"Starting April 1, get ready for its transformation into a modern complex with more green spaces, promising an elevated lifestyle and shopping experience," it said.

The old mall will be demolished and rebuilt with its reopening set for 2028.

The new version of Greenbelt 1 will "blend luxury and sustainability" and feature skylights, rainwater collection systems, four levels of shops, and four levels of parking.

ALI is currently redeveloping four of its flagship malls, including Glorietta, Greenbelt 2, TriNoma, and Ayala Center Cebu with a P13 billion budget. The revamping of Greenbelt 1 will be "separate" from renovation plans for the other four malls mentioned, Ayala Malls president Mariana Zobel de Ayala said in a press briefing as per GMA News.

Greenbelt 1 was built in 1982 by Philippine National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin with other parts of the building, Greenbelt 2 to 5, opened later.

In July 2023, the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts announced that there was a petition to remove the mall's status as an "important cultural property" in Makati by ALI.

Online reactions

With the demolition date set, some social media users shared their fond memories from the 41-year-old mall.

"This place has been my chill place since the 1990s. In college, it was always a treat to eat at the Triple V Express and have the Chori burger of Bun on the Run while watching movies... My staples over the decades were Cafe Via Mare for my favorite puto bungbong or adobong pusit and Dulcinea for churros con chocolate and salpicao," one user shared on Facebook.

"End of an era... Goodbye to the cinema complex where I watched E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Operation Sunbird, and other memorable flicks of high school," another wrote.

Some shops at Greenbelt 1 like Cafe Via Mare and Auntie Anne's also penned their goodbyes to the mall. 

"Our Greenbelt 1 store has been a cherished part of Auntie Anne's history in the Philippines being one of the stores that first opened in our early years. For about 25 years of operations, it has undoubtedly been a special place for many pretzel fans to create nostalgic memories and enjoy warm pretzels with their loved ones," Auntie Anne's Philippines said.

Meanwhile, Via Mare shared a photo of its CEO and General Manager with the shop's staff on their last day.

Repertory Philippines, which found its home in Greenbelt 1's theater, also posted a nostalgic post, writing, "Last January 29, REP [bid] farewell to the Onstage Theater after two decades of captivating performances and cherished memories... As the curtain falls on this chapter, we get ready to carry the spirit of theater at its best to new stages and fresh horizons."