Starmalls Inc., commercial leasing unit of the Villar group of companies, is expanding its market reach with the development of the more upscale Starmall Prima and Starmall Strip community malls in addition to its regular middle-level Starmalls.

"We are developing the upscale Starmall Prima brand to distinguish it from the regular Starmall and we are also venturing into community malls through Starmall Strip," Starmalls chairman Manuel B. Villar said in an interview during the opening of Starmalls Prima in Taguig City.

He explained that "we can see that the area surrounding some of our property is of the higher segment, that's why we developed Starmall Prima." Villar noted that competition in this segment is tougher.

Villar said Starmall Prima in Taguig will be the first Prima in the country and will have a gross floor area of about 55,000 sq.m. when completed. It has just wrapped up phase 1 and is laying the groundwork for phase 2.

Starmalls is projected to finish phase 1 of two other Starmall Prima in 2014. From 2014 to 2016, Starmalls will open three Starmall Prima branches: Taguig, Sta. Rosa and Molino.

"The flagship Starmall in Edsa Shaw will eventually be converted to Prima since the area is very prime. We haven't drawn up plans yet but it will happen eventually," Villar said.

On the other hand, Starmalls will be putting up Starmall Strip community malls near Vista Land & Lifescapes projects to help the residential firm develop lots that have been reserved for commercial use to serve existing communities.

Starmall Prima ups the ante and raises the level of the "mall experience" by building higher quality malls with a more dynamic tenant mix, wider retail and service offerings, and interiors and exteriors inspired by the world's more trend-setting commercial hubs.

The malls are designed like the grand malls in the US and Europe with a selection of key big box or anchor stores in strategic areas of the mall. Among the showpieces of Prima malls will be the supermarket, a department store and an All Home center.

All Home is the home building, furnishing and improvement store brand of the Villar Group of companies.  Launched in August of 2013, it is a one-stop shop for all home needs whether one is a homeowner, builder or contractor.

Following the All Home opening, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Let's face it, Nuat Thai, Davids Salon,  Burgoo, Pancake House, Giligans, Yellow cab, GQ, and Wingstop are also set to open their doors in Starmall Prima Taguig in the second half of 2014. (James Loyola)