Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pune is gaining a new global look

Economic times

Pune is undergoing a tremendous change, developing rapidly and offering its residents a whole new international lifestyle. Large malls, international brands and speciality stores have changed its face, bringing new zing to the retail scenario. Young professionals and migrant white-collar workers are increasingly zooming in on these new spaces, and the result is an evolution in organised retailing that one could not have imagined even ten years ago.

Earlier Laxmi Road area, M G Road, Camp Road and areas near Jungli Maharaj Road saw some retail activity. Then Deccan as well as the Camp area saw a sudden spurt with the Central Mall and Big Bazaar. More recently Nucleus and Magnum Mall have also come up. Senapati Bapat Marg, Kalyani Nagar, Nagar Road, Paud and Bibewadi are the new destinations gaining ground in retail. Kalyani Nagar is coming up with Adlabs mall and multiplex and Nagar Road will soon see three to four big commercial developments.

Developers like Vascon Engineers, Kumar Builders, Kolte-Patil and Kakde have come up with a number of malls. Some of the wellknown malls in Pune are the Nucleus Mall near Camp, Pune Central, City Mall, International Convention Centre, Shoppers, Stop and Magnum.

Lalit Kumar Jain, Chairman, Kumar Builders says, "The coming of the IT industry into Pune has given it a lot of exposure. Along with that, the new economic business growth has also helped a great deal in changing the face of the city. The kind of people required to adapt to new trends are present in Pune; thus almost 80% of the population has easily adjusted to the developments."
"The city needs larger malls at newer locations. The outskirts are still to see malls and soon there will be malls soon in those areas too. At the same time malls will see changes in the near future," adds Jain.

Kumar Builders has a seamless, no-partition mall at Bund Garden Road known as Pune Central. The mall is spread over an area of 1,50,000 sq ft. Some of their upcoming malls include a 1.6 million sq ft mall near Karve Road, four multiplex malls at Fatima Nagar, Kalyani Nagar, Station Road and Karve Road respectively.

Govind Shrikhande, CEO, Shopper's Stop, believes Pune is the cultural capital of Maharashtra, with booming software, manufacturing and education sectors. "Property rates have been increasing dramatically for the last five to seven years. For the retail hubs, like Deccan, Camp etc, the rates vary between Rs 40 to Rs 60 per sq. ft per month. Pune offers a good combination of the educated, upwardly mobile and more demanding consumer," he adds.

Shopper's Stop has stores in Pune - one in the Camp area, as part of Nucleus Mall and the other in Shivaji Nagar. Both are more than 45,000 sq. feet. "We have intentions to open at least two more stores. Sadly, the infrastructure continues to be a deterrent," explains Shrikhande.

Along with Shopper's Stop, Pyramid and Crossword are some of the important players in Pune. Interestingly, Pune will lead the mall culture in the country by being the first ever city to get niche malls. Ishanya Mall - The Design Centre, developed by Deepak Fertilisers is being projected as a "one-stop mall for interiors and exteriors". Kumar Builders are also developing a mall near Peshwe Children Park, which will specially cater to children.

Developers in Pune, seem to have realised the need for specialised malls. The Ishanya mall, spread over 5 ½ lakh sq ft on 10 acres of land will, apart from offering specialist shopping, allow for relaxation in a pleasant environment and cultural entertainment.

"Organised retailing is happening faster in Pune than in other cities. In other words, the expected mall space will be more in Pune compared to other cities. There is huge amount of amount of growth taking place in the city," observes I S Narula, President and CEO, Ishanya Specialty Mall. The coming months will see it emerge as number two in terms of organised retail space.

He adds, "The city is moving fast towards development also because of the coming of big industries, the satellite city coming up and automobile industry growing and to complement it all are the IT industries. Pune today is amongst the fastest growing cities in the world. Since there are no space restrictions for Pune as in Mumbai and Bangalore, the city is proudly growing in all five directions."

Bangalore has no space restrictions whatsoever and is growing in all directions

The glitz and glamour that are making their presence felt is only the beginning; as the year progresses, and competition increases with both new and large players in the fray, the Pune retail scene will undergo a metamorphosis.
Watch out for exciting times!

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