In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Israel-based mall maker Big Shopping Center is building 60 mega ‘open’ shopping centers across the country in the next 10 years at an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.
Quite different from the malls that the country has seen so far, these would not be the conventional “hang out’ malls that have free parking thrown in and entertainment zones and food courts. Instead, customers would be expected to shop fast and leave even faster.
The first ‘Big’ shopping center will be opened in Thane, Maharashtra by the end of this year, followed by Bangalore by end of 2009. Each of these non-air-conditioned malls, according to the investors, will be spread over an area of about 4,00,000 square feet. The other cities that the company is eyeing are Vadodara, Nagpur, Bhopal and Pune to be followed by the four metros.
The company has set up a subsidiary named Big India Malls, which is a partnership between Big Shopping Center and Big Mauritius Holdings, a special purpose vehicle wholly owned by Lehman Brothers’ real estate private equity business. Lehman Brothers holds a 25 per cent stake in the Indian subsidiary, which is expected to go up to 50 per cent in the next couple of years.
The malls will generally be spread over 15-20 acres and located on the outskirts of a city. Eitan Bar Zeev, Director, Big India Malls, said: “They will be more of shopping destinations rather than entertainment zones and ideally suited for customers who are looking at value shopping and have goods that are reasonably priced.”
The company is looking at hypermarkets as anchor tenants, already finalising Hypercity as the anchor tenant for its Thane mall that would be spread over a colossal 1,30,000 square feet. “The concept is to have only necessity stores like hypermarkets, bookshops, medical stores, office stationary, white goods and so on,” said Sanjiv Trehon, CEO, Big India Malls.