Roberto Santiago: Putting Joao Pessoa on the Tourist Radar

Roberto Santiago is a Brazilian businessman and entrepreneur, and he is one of the most well-known figures in the country. Roberto owns the Manaira Shopping, a huge mall in the city of Joao Pessoa. The mall is one of the most successful projects of Roberto Santiago, and its construction had turned him into a multi-millionaire. The construction of Manaira Shopping started as an idea in Roberto Santiago’s head. Born in the city of Joao Pessoa, the young Roberto Santiago thought about how his city would be placed on the map just like Rio de Janeiro. He thought of building his own shopping mall in the future, so the young Roberto Santiago studied hard and persevered in order to gain his first capital. After graduating from college and making decent income, Roberto Santiago looked for a place inside the city where he can build his dream shopping mall. He found a barren lot close to the city center and purchased it. He developed the area and within two years, the shopping mall was complete. Manaira Shopping opened its doors to the locals as well as the tourists in 1989.


Manaira Shopping soon became known worldwide. It became the icon of the city and it changed the way the people of Joao Pessoa live. It also stood as the symbol of the economic growth that the city is experiencing. Manaira Shopping is considered to be the largest mall not just in the city of Joao Pessoa, but also in the state of Paraiba. One would enjoy walking around the mall because there is a lot to do inside. The mall is divided into several sections, and each section caters to the different needs of visitors and tourists. There is a dedicated entertainment area, the food court area, the department store area, and the grocery area. One could also find banks, fitness centers, and even a college inside the mall. On the mall’s rooftop, one could find the Domus Hall, which is a large indoor venue suitable for concerts, conventions, and other personal events like wedding receptions and graduations.


Roberto Santiago has contributed a lot in the development of Manaira Shopping. When it opened in 1989, the mall only has 94 stores inside, sitting on a 12,000 square meters of land. It went under several expansions: in 1993, the mall expanded to include more stores and more leasable areas; In 1997, another expansion took place, and the anchor stores Lojas Riachuelo and Lojas Maia were introduced to the public; In 2002, the mall went under their 3rd expansion, and new anchor stores were opened, including Box Cinemas, C&A, Lojas Americanas and Ri Happy; In 2003, the garage building was built next to the mall to cater to the growing number of visitors bringing their own vehicles; In 2007, Manaira Shopping expanded once again, and their leasable area grew to 63,000 square meters on a 105,000 square meters area of land. The number of stores inside also rose to 260; In 2008, they opened their food court section, and in the following year, the Domus Hall opened its doors to the public; Expansion of the food court took place in 2012, and two years later, a gourmet section was opened, called the Espaco; The recent expansion inside Manaira Shopping took place in 2015, with the opening of Tok Stok. Manaira Shopping went into different expansion projects, and Roberto Santiago is looking forward for future opportunities in turning his mall into one of the world’s largest.