Bentel Associates International projects in India

Posted On Thursday, 25 August 2005 02:00 Published by Commercial Property News
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Shopping malls are a relatively new phenomenon in India. A decade ago, there was not a single shopping mall in the country.

Oberoi Mall MumbaiCurrent projects (Year 2005)

Shopping malls are a relatively new phenomenon in India.  A decade ago, there was not a single shopping mall in the country.  Currently, in seven cities there is a total of approximately 42 million sq ft of malls in various stages of completion.  It is expected that within two years there will be over 300 malls, shopping centres and multiplexes in India.

India's property market is a vibrant and growing sector with new initiatives being taken by government, the construction industry, architects and developers to transform the urban landscapes.  A new emergent middle class, a steady and growing market size, abundant availability of natural resources for manufacturing, cost attractiveness, a reliable business community, high levels of intellectual manpower, engineering expertise and a reform process that has brought about impressive economic liberalization, have resulted in unprecedented growth in many areas of commerce and industry.

The mall phenomenon is changing the way people shop and entertain.  As single-point destinations for food, shopping and entertainment, the malls have revolutionised retailing and have led to a significant increase in consumption spending.  Along with this growth has come an increasing need for world-class retail facilities.

Expertise in the conceptualisation, design, development, and management of malls is necessary to optimise long-term sustainability and profitability.  Although some developers have become rapidly skilled in developing successful malls, there is generally still a lack of the expertise and experience required to develop sustainability.  Many owners and developers are not familiar with the multitude of factors that govern the success or failure of shopping complexes.

Bentel Associates International (BAI) has had extensive local and international experience in the successful design of shopping malls and complexes.  The company opened offices in Mumbai in 2003 to service their growing client base in India.  The Mumbai office has already grown considerably since its inception.

BAI offer a design service in India and are currently involved in the design of four shopping complexes.  Many of their Indian clients are enjoying BAI’s increased presence in the country and are requesting not only their design skills but their technical and implementation services as well.

‘We are now being asked to take on more and more of the projects; originally we just offered a design service.  We are currently considering expanding our office there and doing the technical drawing side of the projects as well,’ says Nick Kyriacos, the architect responsible for directing operations for BAI in India.
Apart from their high levels of expertise, an exceptionally co-operative attitude and the excellent service mindset that characterises all of their operations has made BAI the success it is in India.  The company has been very well received.  The feeling is mutual says Kyriacos.  ‘I find working with the guys in India great – they are co-operative, technically excellent, very competent in terms of business acumen and they are really nice people.  We have been very well received by our clients there – they like our product, they like our service and they like our personnel.  I have been working in India for over three years and I look forward to the next few years.  We have a very positive outlook as regards our continuing presence in India.’

BAI’s activities in India have not been without challenges.  ‘One of our biggest challenges has been dealing with clients who lack experience in successful mall design.  BAI has until recently been involved in the design of malls for a market that understands them.  In India, developers are highly experienced in residential and office development but because the mall concept is relatively new there we have had to work on changing their frame of reference.  Everything about designing and building a mall is different, the rules are different.  You cannot compromise the principles if you wish to successfully cater to an evolving market in the long-term,’ says Kyriacos.

There are many other factors BAI has had to consider.  India has up until now been used to strip shopping environments.  The change to malls has had to evolve slowly.  Aesthetic and cultural differences have also had to be considered.  Certain construction factors are also different in that India is a highly labour intensive country and construction site situations take some getting used to.  Infrastructure can also be problem although there have been enormous improvements in certain aspects.

Sourcing commodities, like marble for instance, is easy.  There are many vendors and an abundance of different marbles.  The problem is quantities.  ‘In South Africa you go to a single major supplier.  He will find you exactly the amount you want of a particular stone,’ Kyriacos explains.  ‘There it is like a huge bazaar with no centralised organisation at all.  It is virtually impossible to match stones from one vendor with stones from another and another in order to make up the amount you need.’ 
BAI’s involvement in the design of shopping malls in India looks set to continue for some time.  ‘We are very excited about the continued growth of our portfolio in India and hope we can continue to contribute effectively to realising the goals of Indian retail developers and investors,’ says Kyriacos.


Ub City, Bangalore

Bangalore will soon have another landmark.  Ub City is a 20 000 sq m mixed-use development.  It will house commercial offices, a five-star hotel, banks, high-end retail stores, serviced apartments, food courts, health clubs, cafes and extensive parking facilities.  BAI are handling the retail component of Ub City, due for completion next year.  The building will symbolise dynamic, cosmopolitan and multicultural characteristics.  Bangalore is one of India’s most important commercial centres and Ub City will be a welcome addition to the city’s business and tourism infrastructure.
Forum Retail Park, Bangalore

This 55 000 sq m entertainment and retail complex will include 11 theatre multiplexes, an exhibition space, an atrium, a bowling alley, food courts and shopping facilities which will include major brands as well as factory outlet components.  The developers consider this the most successful mall in India.  BAI has carefully designed the retail component with strategic placing of anchor and ‘value’ tenants.  They have created a synergistic environment that will ensure the success of this mall.

Inorbit Mall, Mumbai

BAI have designed the interiors of this 60 000 sq m mall.  Inorbit is situated in the heart of the western suburbs in Mumbai.  The multi-level complex will has a food court with 400 seating capacity and houses some of the world’s finest retail brands. 

Oberoi Mall, Mumbai

BAI have designed this 65 000 sq m mall which is situated on the main arterial route to the northern suburbs of Mumbai.  The multi-level complex, which is scheduled for completion in August 2006, comprises two levels of structured parking, three shopping levels and one entertainment level.

South City Mall, Calcutta

Calcutta, one of the most intriguing cities of the world with its unique history and culture, has, over the last few years, experienced new and innovative concepts in retail real estate.  The South City Mall, in the plush South City locality, is attracting a lot of attention.  It is the largest mall in eastern India, with a total of 90 000 sq m of a trendy mix of a hypermarket, a galleria, a six-screen multiplex, an entertainment zone, an open-air theatre and a food court.  The planning has been detailed to try to achieve the right retail and product mix.  There are provisions for multiple escalators between floors, plasma screens, the latest technology fixtures, and central air conditioning, which will combine to create a one-of-its-kind ambience for the shopper.  The mall is expected to be operational by October 2005.

Last modified on Monday, 27 May 2013 17:08

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