Express Avenue, the mall which is soon to be soft launched, in Chennai, has all the prominent features to become a landmark in the city. It accommodates a hotel and commercial spaces apart from being a world-class shopping destination. Mr Dheeraj Dogra, Head-Retail, Express Avenue speaks about the project.
Suranjana Basu (SB): Tell us about the company behind Express Avenue.
Dheeraj Dogra (DG): Express Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, the company behind the mall, is a hundred per cent subsidiary of Express Newspapers Pvt Ltd.
SB: Which real estate projects are you currently involved with?
DG: Currently, the company is in the final stage of developing the country’s largest mixed-use project, Express Avenue, a mall, in the Central Business District (CBD) in Chennai. It will be launched in the first week of April 2010.
SB: Tell us about the USP and the tenant mix of Express Avenue.
DG: The biggest USP of the project is its location. It is in the heart of the city surrounded by roads on all four sides, making it the most unique project. It is almost like an island in the CBD of Chennai. The project is a mixed use with a hotel and commercial towers on each side giving the mall a sizeable number of audiences, who would add to its primary catchment. The writing on the wall says mixed use concept is the next big thing as is evident from the developments happening across the globe. Also, the mall is positioned to be a destination mall, which caters to the needs of a cross section of consumers, right from the middle class to the upper class. So on one hand we have a hypermarket to cater to a customer’s day-to-day needs and we also have luxury brands catering to the upper strata. We have been very critical in optimising the tenant mix of the mall because we strongly believe the success of a shopping mall depends a lot on this.
SB: What factors did you consider while selecting the location for Express Avenue?
DG: The location is in the CBD of Chennai and caters to the needs of Chennai’s largest catchment. Enough research has gone into understanding the demographics of the target markets and determining how best to serve the needs of Chennai customers. Every category of retail mix which makes a mall into a destination has been incorporated. I can confidently say that Express Avenue is destined to be a landmark mall and has the potential to be the best mall of the country.
SB: How is the response from the people of Chennai?
DG: The response has been terrific from Chennai’tes waiting eagerly for the grand opening of the first international class mall in the city that will give global shopping experience. It would also, revitalise the entire stretch of Anna Salai (Mount Road), the erstwhile hub for shopping in Chennai.
SB: What facilities and amenities are you providing in the Express Avenue? Do you have plans to organise special events to attract customers to your mall? Will you organise flea market?
DG: Express Avenue would have world class facilities. Keeping in mind customers’ convenience, we have adequate travelators, passenger and service elevators and up-down escalators. It is handicap-friendly and is a certified green building. We are planning for events throughout the year in advance to continuously generate high number of footfalls. Express Avenue is a completely zoned mall keeping the convenience of the end consumer a top priority. One of the zones that we have devised has been named Chennai Bazaar, giving the clients the shopping experience of a traditional bazaar comprising the familiar retailers of the neighborhood, and thus giving the neighborhood retailers an opportunity to work alongside and compete with the national and international players.
SB: What measures have you adopted to ensure safety and security of Express Avenue? Have you employed any agency for the purpose?
DG: The safety and security of the mall and the occupants have been our number one priority. We adhere to the strictest national and international norms as far as security and safety are concerned using state of the art equipment and trained manpower.