Roberto Santiago is known as one of the most well-known businessmen in Brazil. Born in 1958, the 58-year-old business man’s shopping mall – The Roberto Santiago Manaira Mall – is Joao Pessoa’s defining feature. Santiago studied at the Pio X-Marist College and later was a student at the University of Complutense in Madrid and majored in computer science. Robert Santiago is also an avid sportsman and is a regular participant in the Brazilian Karting Championship. He has also collected multiple motocross titles over the years.
In 1987, Santiago purchased a plot of land upon which the mall would be built. The mall went through two-year-long development process before it was inaugurated in 1989. The Robert Santiago Manaira Mall is a central location for most people in Joao Pessoa – its crown jewel, if you will. It offers a wide variety of services to everyone in the region. One of the malls’ defining features is the rooftop concert hall known as The Domus Hall. The soundproof concert hall can house up to 14,000 people at a time and has the latest sound equipment. The mall is also home to more than eleven movie theatres complete with modern and updated AV equipment. It has a gaming zone known as the Game Station, which houses 200 gaming machines targeted at various age groups and a bowling alley. The Manaira also offers a range of shopping options for its customers as it features multiple furniture stores, sports shops, bookstores, clothing stores, jewelry showrooms. It also has a massive food court complete with affordable options and high-end restaurants such as Espaco Gourmet, Waynes, and Capital Steakhouse. The Manaira Shopping Mall is also home to The Federal University of Paraiba and is the hub for banking services in Joao Pessoa. In addition to the Manaira, Santiago also owns the Mangeira, which was inaugurated in November 2014.
Robert Santiago’s developments in this region have provided the residents with multiple job opportunities – for instance, the construction of the Mangeira gave rise to 3000 new jobs alone. It has stimulated economic growth in Joao Pessoa and has helped the region survive through a financial crisis. In 2015, the shopping mall sector grew by 6.5% in Brazil. Santiago’s malls were proof of the fact that this sector could be a source of stability for the region. The Mangeira currently has the greatest potential for development in all of south Joao Pessoa. Both of Santiago’s shopping malls have contributed to the increase in the living standard in the region and have attracted multiple corporations to the city, providing the residents with more job opportunities and services and by the looks of things, Santiago’s establishments will continue to make a difference in the foreseeable future and will provide Joao Pessoa with a stable source of support.