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Interview with La Isla's Commercial Director A. Cherem

April 18, 2016

Scheduled to open in December 2016, the La Isla shopping center in Puerto Vallarta will boast stores and brands of national and international prestige, upscale restaurants, like De Santos, and boutiques.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The news broke in July 2014 that Puerto Vallarta was the location of GICSA's next 'La Isla' mall - a renowned chain of shopping centers with hugely successful branches in Cancun and Acapulco.

GICSA is a development company that has been in market for over twenty-five years. They have done residential, commercial and industrial projects; but for the last ten years have focused mainly on shopping centers - of which they have twenty five across Mexico.

Commercial Director Abraham Cherem said, "We cater to the needs of each area that we are developing in - we don't have one model and try to replicate that in whatever city we go. In Puerto Vallarta we have actually been researching for over ten years.

What we want to do here is continue with our concept of 'La Isla,' which is a lifestyle mall that becomes an area where the visitor can do many different things. But in Puerto Vallarta we are not doing a Caribbean setting like we have in Cancun - we're doing something with Mexican architecture that is particular and characteristic of Puerto Vallarta. We're trying to accommodate a proven concept to the architecture, the needs and the setting that we're in."

'La Isla' is located in front of the Grand Venetian on Avenue Francisco Ascencio. You can see why they would want the mall to be built here, with the cruise ship dock - offering twenty to thirty thousand passengers a month - being located just down the street, not to mention it being in the middle of the city's hotel zone and close to the downtown area and airport.

"This doesn't mean we are only focused on the tourists markets," Cherem said. "We are also focused on the clientele we can bring from the locals - which for us is very, very important. We can do this by bringing in lots of interesting brands that you can't find anywhere in Puerto Vallarta; but also by bringing in local restaurants and bars."

Some of the brands in the final stages of agreements are: Forever 21, American Eagle, H&M, Pull and Bear and Bershka. One of the main brands for the mall though will be tour and activity operator Vallarta Adventures - who will be providing a dolphin tank to go inside the mall. Although they are already working on the construction of the tank, the true function is yet to confirmed, in terms of maybe swimming with the dolphins or them being used as some part of a show. International restaurants include Appleby's and Johnny Rockets, and local restaurant De Santos have already come to an agreement. CinÚpolis has signed a contract to provide VIP cinemas - the first of the city.

The construction of the mall has already created five-hundred new jobs, with that number set to increase largely when the mall opens in December 2016. Cheram said that GICSA want to employ as many local people as they can, and that they can make sure this happens "because they do not develop for third parties" - they do the research, development, construction, commercialization and operating themselves. He added, "We definitely think Puerto Vallarta will have a before and after effect with 'La Isla' - it happened that way in Cancun and Acapulco, and we're very proud of this concept that we have. We want it to be the place for community, reunion, entertainment, shopping and just visiting. I'm sure that everybody is going to be very pleased with the final outcome."

Sean Harris was born in Bristol, England, and studied Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. Straight after his graduation he went to Virginia, USA, to work as a boat captain. Since then he has been traveling and writing about his experiences. Apart from reading and writing he likes fishing, football and playing chess. Currently he is getting journalism experience with in Puerto Vallarta through Global Volunteer Projects. When he goes home he will look for work on a newspaper or go to Africa. His dream is to be a novelist.