Mumbai’s first mall, Crossroads, at Haji Ali could be converted into a commercial centre.
Sources in the real estate industry say the Piramal Healthcare Group, which may buy the mall, may turn the place into a hotel or an office complex. About 2.5 million sq ft of malls planned across Mumbai have been converted into residential and commercial spaces after the economic slowdown reduced rentals for shops in malls.
When it opened in 1999, Crossroads, Mumbai’s first mall, attracted so many visitors every day that the management was considering charging an entry fee. Later, as new malls started coming up, the number of footfalls reduced drastically.
The economy slowed down and mall owners had to reduce rentals due to a drop in demand for shops in the past two years. The mall, which was sold to its biggest tenant, the Pantaloon group in 2006, is likely to be sold again to Piramal Healthcare. Sources in the real estate industry said the Rs 350-crore deal for the sale of the 1.2 lakh-sq-ft mall is in the advanced stages and will be made official soon.
“The venture was not very successful hence the Pantaloon group is taking this step,” said a real estate expert who did not wish to be named. A real estate expert said the mall had failed to serve as a place for family entertainment. “Crossroads does not have enough parking space, a large food court or a multiplex.”
Four years ago, Pantaloon Group head Kishore Biyani had bought the mall from Urvi Piramal, Ajay Piramal’s sister-in-law, for Rs 250 crore. Pantaloon remodelled the place and renamed it SoBo Central.
While Biyani dismissed talks of the deal as a rumour, the Piramals could not be contacted.