Delhi retail set to boom with mega auction of plots

Wednesday, 17 December 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: At a time when talk of the Indian capital losing out on the retail boom is gaining ground, the hugely successful auctioning of commercial plots in a prime southern area of the city has cheered the retail industry.

In one of the biggest retail deals in India, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in an open auction sold three retail plots for a whopping 7.4 billion in the Vasant Kunj area.

According to experts, in a city where traditional markets are still the only answer to organised retail formats fast taking shape in satellite towns, the auctioning will give a big boost to the retail environment in the city.

"It is a very commendable development as far as the retail atmosphere in the city is concerned," said Deepak Bhavsar, a senior analyst with Chesterton Meghraj Property Consultants Private Limited.

"The retail dynamics in Delhi will undergo a complete shift with the development of the plots in Vasant Kunj. None of us thought the DDA would be able to rake in 7.4 billion through the auction," Bhavsar told IANS.

"The high price clearly indicates the demand for commercial land in the city. The deal will also help DDA to plough back some of the money raised through the auction for infrastructure development in other parts of the city."

In the open bid held Monday, two plots were awarded to DLF group, one of the country's leading real estate developers, for 4.09 billion. Ram Prastha builders bagged one for 3.3 billion.

The DDA is planning two office complexes, three shopping malls, a multi-level parking, corporate centre and service apartments on these plots.

While one mall will have kiosks and shops, the other will be a shopping complex cum entertainment complex, said the authority sources. The third mall will have a 12-screen multiplex.

DDA official say plans are also being chalked out to minimise traffic bottlenecks and make the approach road to the retail space signal-free.

"I think one main reason why the plots fetched such high bids is because the location is very good. Any retail player moving in this zone can look forward to sharply higher footfalls," said Bhavsar.

"I think the developing of this retail space will greatly reduce the flow of people from Delhi to suburban cities like Gurgaon. This will also trigger entire retail market restructuring over the next couple of years."

Long used to shopping in crummy shops manned by perfunctory and often grumpy salespersons, millions of Indians are now discovering a new way to hunt for bargains, and spend time with family - shopping malls.

And to cash in on the boom, giant malls are coming up thick and fast in and around New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and other major cities that is set to completely transform the $200 billion Indian retail sector.

Little surprise then that 200 large malls are in planning or construction stage across the country.

And cashing in on the sudden resurgence of interest in shopping, big corporate houses and realtors such as the Tatas, Piramals, Sahara, DLF and RPG Enterprises are racing to revolutionise the retail industry and fuel a construction boom.

Three upmarket malls, situated within a distance of a kilometre in Gurgaon on the outskirts of New Delhi, house everything under one roof - department stores, food and beverage outlets, electronics showroom, lifestyle goods and multiplexes.

Though roads leading to the malls are in an appalling condition, these halogen and neon-lit huge steel, chrome and glass structures house some of the best names in retail chains.

Source: IANS
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