THE YEAR 2006 saw the advent of mall culture in Indore that ushered in a new era of shopping and entertainment. Two big malls – Treasure Island and Mangal City–redefined the concept of family outing with a wide range of trendy branded products and much more available under one roof in a luxurious ambience.
The year also saw an unprecedented boom in multiplexes in the City changing the very experience of going to the cinema. No longer do you have to sit on rickety chairs, which have no upholstery.
No more stale popcorn in sealed plastic bags and not to forget that stinking toilets. All that has been replaced with the state-of-the-art theatres equipped with better screens, sound and seating arrangements.
On the flip side, the mall-cum-multiplexes hit the business of old and established stores, although most owners have put up a brave front and are hoping that mall mania will fizzle out once the novelty wears off.
Another offshoot of the malls, the food courts offering multi-cuisine to suit every taste has been a boon for the food buffs of the City. A number of new outlets ranging from fast food chains like McDonald’s to authentic South Indian restaurants like Sagar Ratna and the more fancy ones like Little Italy have come up in a short span much to the delight of food connoisseurs.
There is some cheer for Bacchus lovers also with some posh bars like Geoffrey’s coming to the City, which are open until late hours. The year also saw an unprecedented rise in real estate prices due to a multitude of factors including retail boom, increase in nuclear families and entry of big builders in the housing sector.
Over the last year, land prices within the City have witnessed a 20-25 percent jump while prices have tripled on the outskirts, thanks to large-scale buying by housing majors like Ansal and Omaxe. Slowdown in the colonies sanctioned by the Indore Development Authority (IDA) is seen as another reason for rise in residential land prices.
The boom in commercial properties has been primarily driven by the sudden spurt in the demand of prime retail outlets. Apart from the malls, a number of commercial complexes are also coming up, mainly on the AB Road.
With land prices at MG Road, Race Course Road and other business districts at the all time high, retailers have been forced to scout for alternative locations, pushing up land prices in these areas.
The prime rentals in commercial districts across the City have also jumped by 35-40 per cent in the recent months. The average rates have shot up from Rs 15-20 per square feet to Rs 25-35. The sudden interest of retailers seeking their share of the retail pie and the entry of corporates like Reliance has led to the demand supply mismatch for retail space.
On the industrial front, 27 industrial units were allotted land in the special economic zone (SEZ) near Pithampur this year out of which five have commenced production. The units, set up with an investment of Rs 201 crore, have generated employment for about 1400 people.
However, in a major setback to AKVN-promoted Apparel Park, textile firm Pratibha Syntex pulled out and shelved its Rs 217 crore project due to funding problems.
Construction at Crystal IT Park, another ambitious project of the State Government coming up at Khandwa Road, came to a grinding halt after four labourers were killed in a mishap, the only major industrial tragedy of this year. The Audyogik Kendriya Vikas Nigam (AKVN) has also failed to rope in a private partner for infrastructure development of SEZ.
On the brighter side, the AKVN received green signal to set up the world’s largest auto testing track at Dhar district. The project, to come up on 4200-acre land at an estimated investment of Rs 1400 crore, will have state-of-the-art testing and grading facilities for all kinds of automobiles.
As with all the mega projects, this venture has also generated some controversy over land acquisition with a political party claiming that the farmers were not compensated adequately. The Government also sanctioned Rs 85-crore BOT water supply project for the Dewas industrial area to bring water from Narmada.
The eagerly awaited GAIL project for supply of piped natural gas to the industrial units of the region was however delayed and is expected to commence in February.