The activity spectrum refers mainly to education or shopping with guided tours or through self-exploration. Stimuli are mainly audio-visual, olfactory (spices) and food tasting The district is perceived as complex, with numerous confusing pathways. The orientation is difficult due to missing signage, brochures and absent references to landmarks. Inner district attractions (e.g. market places, temple) are not signposted and difficult to find while on self-exploration. Main attraction elements like Binondo Church, authentic Chinese historic shop-houses, exotic Chinese pharmacies, authentic restaurants, hidden spiritual places are not tourism oriented accentuated and staged for visitors. Unbearable crowding supports a feeling of insecurity. The district offers numerous catering facilities and shops but public restrooms are unavailable. Interconnectivity to adjacent sites (Escolta, Rizal Park, Intramuros) is conveniently within walking distance.
The plan was to build a huge bargain shopping place that would dwarf all the popular thrift, wholesale haunts in the neighborhood. Three years hence, and what rose on one whole block on Reina Regente Street in the heart of Binondo has indeed eclipsed every structure in its vicinity. But it wasnt the discount behemoth originally planned that opened last February, but a posh, multilevel mall that this side of town had never seen before. We took a risk, said Kevin Tan, first vice president and Commercial Division head of Megaworld Corp., the developer of Lucky Chinatown shopping mall. Chinatown is a known bargain area, but midway we felt that we ought to do something different, one thats never before seen in this area.
The five-level Lucky Chinatown, interconnected by bridge walkways to Megaworlds twin-tower residential condo, Cityplace, has a supermarket, four cinemas, a food court, an appliance center, a kids zone, a fashion zone, and a host of dining, service and retail shops previously seen only in upscale malls in Makati. Tans father, real estate tycoon and Megaworld CEO Andrew Tan, always wanted to build something special for the Binondo of his childhood, according to Teresa Pesigan-Valentino, Megaworlds AVP for marketing and business development. The 3-hectare location of Lucky Chinatown is considered a heritage site where two public high schools, Rajah Sulayman and Jos Abad Santos, used to be. (When Megaworld acquired the property from the Manila city government in 2008, the developer relocated and built new structures for the two schools, also in Manila.)