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Let's book a room at the mall

September 09, 2006 15:04 IST

If shopping, watching cinema and eating out are some of the options that Indian malls offer today, very soon people will be travelling with their suitcases and booking rooms in hotels housed within malls.

While mixed-use development is a new concept in India, tier-II cities such as Lucknow, Amritsar, Ludhiana and Chandigarh, to name just a few, are also seeing a spurt in these new concept malls with entertainment, shopping and accommodation all under one roof. At least, that's what leading developers including Omaxe, DLF, Parsvnath, Ansal API and others confirm.

Wianxx Impex recently announced its first mall-cum-hotel in Delhi. Rajeev Anand, managing director, Wianxx Impex, feels that malls in India are more like shopping arcades.

"Worldwide, retail is being clubbed with hotels. The simple reason is that the infrastructure required to sustain the two is common. In fact, earlier, hotels were selling retail space but now we'll see a role reversal," explains Anand.

Wianxx Impex's hypermarket will be a 1,50,000 sq feet construction with a multiplex, a 40-45-room budget hotel with an adequate retail model thrown in for good measure. It will also have a 60,000 sq feet atrium, which will be used for events every two weeks.

Keeping a close eye on this new concept are builders like Parsvnath Developers, a company that has five such projects in the pipeline, including a Rs 100 crore (Rs 1 billion) fitout in Mohali, a Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) project in Goa with at least 4,00,000 sq feet of space and a Rs 150-crore (Rs 1.5 billion) development at the Seelampur Metro station with 5,00,000 sq feet space on the BOT model.

Also in the pipeline are projects in Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. While 60 per cent of space will be reserved for the mall, 40 per cent will be allocated to the hotel in each of these projects. Pradeep Jain, chairman, Parsvnath Developers, explains that the concept has arisen from the general shortage of hotel rooms in the 3-5 star category.

"The cost of land and development is shared between the mall and the hotel and usually these projects are completed faster," he feels. Parsvnath Developers are already in talks with hotel groups like Radisson, Oberoi and a London-based chain, among others, for 60-150 room hotels along with their malls in these locations.

The Ansals, who set up one of the first malls in India in New Delhi, are also charting through the hotel-in-a-mall route. In the pipeline are mega projects in Greater Noida, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Ludhiana, Amritsar and Lucknow.

In Lucknow, its Sushant Golf City, a 2,000-acre integrated development, will boast a plush 250-300-room five-star hotel along with a mall and a golf course.

Meanwhile, in Greater Noida, the Ansals will have complete state-of-the-art, modern international high-rise building with a mall and a luxurious hotel. In fact, as many as three leading chains have been shortlisted for the management of the hotels.

If hospitality is the key word in malls, can heritage be far behind? Which explains why Jodhpur is gearing up for the launch of India's first heritage mall. Ansal API has entered into a 50:50 JV with Maharaja Gaj Singh of Jodhpur to convert a heritage palace into a mall and a heritage hotel, Rani ka Bagh, with 60-100 rooms.

DLF is developing two major projects in New Delhi's Saket area (South Court Mall and The Courtyard). It is also going to Kochi's Marine Drive area besides Ahmedabad and Ludhiana. DLF is already scouting for hotel chains to run their 100+ room hotels at these malls, which will be designed by architects like Hafeez Contactor, Mohit Gujral and international consultants Jerde.

Ajay Khanna of DLF informs that they look at such projects depending on the location and financial viability. Manish Kashyap, head, Transaction Management, CB Richard Ellis, agrees that increasingly extra floor space index in retail will be used for hotels, even though it is too premature to say if this concept will do well.

It may be too early to predict its success, but developers are including three-star/ business hotels in malls, though companies like DLF and Omaxe are planning five-star properties.

For instance, Omaxe Connaught Place will have in its 14,00,000 sq ft area, a full fledged retail space, eight-screen multiplex, a family entertainment zone, a five-star hotel and a modern office complex.

Meanwhile in Amritsar, Omaxe Terminal will be a multi-level 4,00,000 sq ft, international-class shopping, entertainment and lifestyle destination with a swank hotel within the complex with ample natural light that will filter into the atrium.

MBD Neopolis will give Ludhiana its first five-star hotel. The 8,00,000 sq feet development spread over four acres will have a swimming pool, a spa and fitness centre as well as a 1,500-pax conference and banqueting facility.

Meanwhile, the 350-croreSelect City Walk project being developed by Select Infrastructure in New Delhi's Saket area, is confident of designing its complex on the lines of New York's Time Square and will house a tony shopping mall, a business centre, a multiplex and a 100-room hotel. Soon, you'll be able to check-in to check out the facilities.
Ravi Teja Sharma