Carbon Market’s Puso Village to open in October

PUSO Village, the sophisticated commercial development showcasing the best of Cebu food and retail with a view of the Mactan Channel, will open in the redeveloped Carbon Market complex this October.“Puso is going to open sometime in October this year,” said Lydwena Eco, Cebu2World Development Inc. (C2W) deputy general manager, on Saturday, July 30, 2022.“This is not public market related. This is the commercial development, but it would be all the best of Cebu in one place, from shopping to food, to retail to anything that is Cebu. We want this to be the place to be when you talk about Cebu. We are also going to align this with the tourism thrust of the local government unit and the Province,” Eco said in a press briefing at Holiday Inn in Cebu City.C2W, a subsidiary of Megawide Construction Corp., is undertaking the redevelopment of the century-old Carbon Public Market under a joint venture agreement with the Cebu City Government.Megawide’s P8 billion investment in the project, over its concession period of 50 years, includes the putting up of a new main public market that will have space for 6,500 vendors, as well as the building of other commercial structures, including possibly a ferry terminal, to allow it to recoup its investment.C2W president Manuel Louie Ferrer said Cary Santiago, renowned Cebuano designer who has dressed celebrities and beauty queens, had agreed to open a shop in Puso.C2W Director Ma. Cristina Angan said Puso would have 334 retail spaces, of which 138 would be food and beverage (F&B) outlets. And there are about seven categories.“These are stalls. It’s a row of different flavors. They will be zoned. You’ll have drink stations. You’ll have STK (sugba, tuwa, kilaw) stations. You’ll have dessert stations. There’s a local vibe,” said Angan.For non-food, Angan said there would be RTW (ready to wear), home décor, toys and gifts, exporters’ row, and a local artists’ cove.Eco said Puso would be open air.“It’s one level with a mezzanine on both sides,” Eco said.Angan said the mezzanine would overlook the Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway and the Mactan Channel and that C2W was looking at “two to four food outlets where you would like to be seen and where you would like to look at people. It’s going to be a destination per se.”Puso would expand the reach of Carbon from the regular public market goers to the upper income markets.“Aside from the night market in which you will experience the local vibe, this one will expand the reach of Carbon to bring in people from your uptown district communities to your local and international foreign tourists, especially now that you’ve seen a spike in domestic travelers,” Angan said. “Going to the Christmas season and Sinulog, this is where the action’s going to be.”Puso Village would not compete with the public market.Carbon currently has a night market where 60 stalls operate from 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays to Sundays.Providing the distinction between the two, Jynx King Chanjueco, C2W marketing lead, said the Carbon night market “showcases your local flavors—your ginabot, your siomai, your ngohiong, larang balbacua and all in terms of food experience.”Puso Village, on the other hand, would be “an elevated experience, a little sophisticated, still the Cebuano mindset of value for money, not too expensive because our offerings here are the ones that we can be proud of to offer to our tourists as well, and to the middle to upper class market.”With its proximity to the public market, the officials hope that after their experience in Puso, the upper class market will eventually visit the improved public market also.By October, a mechanical parking structure with 156 parking slots will also be available in Carbon to temporarily address the parking situation while C2W builds the basement parking in the new main public market.Last Sunday, the Cebu City Government and Megawide signed a supplemental memorandum of agreement to their joint venture agreement on the Carbon modernization that, among others, raised Megawide’s investment in the project to P8 billion, from P5.5 billion, and its annual guaranteed payments to the City to at least P50 million.Some of the vendors who initially opposed the clearing operation and transfer of their stalls to the Interim Market to make way for the modernization of the main public market, have now voluntarily transferred to the interim market but still hope that the “privatization” of the market would not continue, Cebu Market Vendors Multipurpose Cooperative president Erwin Gok-ong told SunStar Cebu Monday.Previously, Gok-ong had expressed fears that they might lose revenues with their move to a different location, that not all displaced vendors might have a space in the interim market, and that their stall rental might rise with the entry of Megawide in Carbon.Megawide, however, has assured that no Carbon vendor would be displaced with the modernization, and that it would be the City Government that would have the final say on the rent of the vendors as what Megawide has is only a partnership with the local government and “not really a privatization.”