Disaster Resilience Investments Paying off for SM City Marikina

 SM City Marikina (mall exterior)

(01 December 2017. Pasay City, Philippines) SM City Marikina, which was opened in 2008, has been a model for disaster resilience, having been showcased in the Top Leaders Forum (TLF) hosted by SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM Prime) from November 28 to 29 at the Conrad Manila hotel in Pasay.

SM’s investments in disaster resilience continue to pay off for SM City Marikina even after it withstood Typhoon Ketsana or Tropical Storm Ondoy, one of the strongest typhoons that hit the country in 2009 and submerged nearly half of the city.

“When we were building the mall, we commissioned a study spanning a hundred years of flood data in the area, going beyond the annual flood cycles of areas for possible development, and then we added a meter more as allowance. We were on the right track as there was now damage on our properties and those of our affiliates, mall tenants, jobs, and lives vis-à-vis the rest of Marikina City,” said Mr. Hans T. Sy, SM Prime Chairman of the Executive Committee and Philippine Private Sector Representative to the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) said.

By design, SM City Marikina is an elevated mall resting on stilts on a six-hectare property within the Marikina River Watershed, a known flood-prone area. As part of its disaster resilience design, SM Prime built SM City Marikina 20 meters farther than the standard regulation of buildings – 90 meters away from the Marikina River centerline. The stilts are also cylindrical in shape, a science-based solution that allows water to flow through the mall structure. This distance helped reduce the risks of damaging the mall during floods.

The main roads surrounding the mall layout at the natural ground level was considered in the design. Thus, the lower parking level was built without any wall enclosure. The upper ground floor level was built at an elevation of 20.5 meters more than the maximum flood recorded. These features allowed water to flow freely through the parking structure while the mall stands on the third floor lifted by supportive stilts during extreme floods.

With these features, the mall is also able to open immediately for business while offering a safe haven and free parking to residents of the city during severe typhoons.

When Typhoon Ondoy struck, the mall’s resiliency saved almost PHP1 billion in terms of losses from business sales alone. The employees of the mall including its agencies and tenants were able to report for work right after the typhoon. Additional costs of 15% to build a disaster-resilient mall were recouped due to the prevention of potential losses. SM City Marikina also managed to prevent severe damage that could have affected the lives and businesses of more than 1,400 mall employees, affiliates and agency personnel, over 200 merchandise suppliers as well as regular customers.

Today, SM Prime allocates 10% of capital expenditure for disaster resilience in the construction of buildings.

“By investing in resilience we minimize vulnerability, better safeguard physical assets, reduce recovery expense, and contribute to local government efforts to safeguard the communities we operate in,” Mr. Sy had said.

SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia shares SM City Marikina’s story of resilience with UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction Dr. Robert Glasser (right). Withstanding Tropical Storm Ondoy being one of the strongest typhoons that hit the country, SM City Marikina was showcased in the recently concluded 2017 Top Leaders Forum hosted by SM Prime, UNISDR, and ARISE Philippines at the Conrad Manila hotel in Pasay.

About the Top Leaders Forum

The TLF is an annual conference led by the United Nations in partnership with SM Prime which draws over 200 participants including CEOs, top managers and executives locally and from the region. Since its inception in 2012, the conference aims to find concrete measures that would make businesses more resilient against disasters. In 2015, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) established the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) with SM Prime as the secretariat for the Philippine Chapter. SM Prime Holdings’ Mr. Hans Sy sits as the only Filipino board member of the ARISE international Board along with top global business leaders.

About SM Prime

SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) is one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia that remains committed to its role as a catalyst for economic growth, delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities, with the development of malls, residences, offices, hotels and convention centers, thereby enriching the quality of life of millions of people.