| An artist’s impression of the mall on Jessore Road
The mall mania in town just grew bigger and moved north.
A million square feet of shopping space with a 13-screen cineplex, Hong Kong-style night market and built-in amusement park, topped by a star hotel — it’s all coming up on Jessore Road.
After its debut in the city with the 200,000-sq-ft Forum on Elgin Road in 2003, mall-eria is set to grow five times and scale the million-sq-ft peak for the first time in 2010.
Being developed by the city-based Fort Group, the 1.1 million-sq-ft “destination mall” coming up opposite the Ordnance Factory could stack up against biggies like Unitech’s Great India Place in Noida (1.5 million sq ft).
The retail block will have three principal anchors — a 100,000-sq-ft in-house furniture format, 150,000 sq ft of electronics and a hypermarket — besides a multiplex and three mini anchors, in books, music and stationery formats.
The Rs 350-crore project will have a 250-room business hotel and 64 serviced apartments, besides a miniature, “Nicco Park-style” entertainment park, themed around a waterbody on the 14.5-acre campus, and parking for 1,800 cars.
“We hope to break ground in March next year and complete construction by March 2010,” Vivek Kathotia of the Fort Group told Metro.
The rest of the retail racks will be taken up by factory outlets across apparel, shoes and fashion accessories.
“Our rentals will be at least 60 per cent less than the city core areas and the aim is to create a destination for all,” stressed Kathotia.
The northward mall movement seems to be just what the consumer ordered.
“With the revival of the north in terms of infrastructure and formatted housing, people want shopping and entertainment options in their neighbourhood,” said Jitendra Khaitan of Pioneer Properties.
While the Fort Group project will be Calcutta’s first million-plus mall, Bengal Unitech Universal will do a 1.2 million-sq-ft retail stop inside its Rajarhat convention centre and Shapoorji Pallonji is planning a 1.4-million-sq-ft mixed-use project, also in New Town.
“With the kind of economic and employment growth predicted in Calcutta in the coming years, ‘million-plus’ malls will have enough secondary demand. But the developers need to ensure that the projects have enough destination value,” says Abhijit Das, the regional director of international property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj.
The concept design for the Jessore Road mega mall has been done by SAA of Singapore; Calcutta’s Espace and Mumbai-based Shekhar Patki are the ground architects.
“We are leveraging the one-acre waterbody, creating a night bazaar around it, while the 40,000-sq-ft F&B block will also overlook the water,” says Moloy Ghosh of Espace.
A toy train and wading pool for children will be key attractions at the theme park.