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    Prestige to take Forum across South

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    – the makers of the first mall in Bengaluru, and the company that lured UB Group into the business of retail – is widening its retail arm in the South.

    With investments over Rs 1,000 crore, the company is set to take its Forum brand to Hyderabad, Kochi, Mangalore and Chennai, earmarking around Rs 300 crore for each mall. In Bengaluru, the group is developing two more malls in Shantiniketan and Whitefield areas.

    The one at Whitefield is expected to be operational by June next year, and is a value-retailing format to bring known factory outlets under one roof.

    All other projects from the company are expected to be operational by end of 2009 or early 2010.

    “Prestige Group has always been in touch with the latent needs of people, and we preempted this need with The Forum mall, which has become a benchmark for all malls in India. Continuing with this trend, the Forum brand is all set to expand to other cities now. In the pipeline are The Forum malls in Hyderabad, Kochi, Chennai and Mangalore. Each of these malls is being built with an investment of about Rs 300 crore,” Neeraj Duggal, vice president, retail development, Prestige Group, told Indiaretailing.

    The Forum mall in Hyderabad will have a total built-up area of 135,860 square metres (1,462,397 square feet), of which 76,735 square metres (825,975 square feet) will go on lease. In Chennai, The Forum will be built across 158,763 square metres (1,708,934 square feet) and have 98,091 square metres (1,034,362 square feet) area on lease for retail and office apartments. The Forum at Kochi is being built on 171,542 square metres (1,846,484 square feet), of which 107,504 square metres (1,157,180) will go on lease.

    The Forum at Mangalore is comparatively smaller; it will have built-up area of 70,601 square metres (759,954 square feet), with 46,833 square metres (504,114 square feet) dedicated for retail.

    Recently, the Prestige Group entered into a strategic alliance with the UB Group, and announced Bengaluru’s first exclusive luxury retail destination, UB City – The Collection. UB City – The Collection is within the UB City premises, which is a commercial, retail and hospitality project. This urbane mall will display elements of classical Roman architecture and is expected to become yet another landmark in the city.

    The mall will house premium international brands and Indian designers’ labels including Louis Vuitton, , , , , Van Cleef & Arpels, Zegna, , , , , and Kimaya.

    “With the retailing boom that India has experienced over the last decade, UB City – The Collection comes at a time when Indians have started their journey toward retail evolution. As international brands flow into the Indian market, the luxury retail destination is all set to cater to a niche, albeit rapidly increasing, audience,” said Duggal.

    In 2004, Prestige Group introduced The Forum, the first shopping mall in Bengaluru, which has emerged as the most successful retail format of the group. Since its inception, The Forum has become a standard in design, development and trade mix.

    – Ranjan Kaplish