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Urban Square: The next big retail destination in Rajasthan

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, which has forayed into retail real estate in Rajasthan, is on a major expansion spree. Committed to their theme of ‘After Here Nowhere’, the brand is approaching new projects with unique designs, fresh perspective and open mind. The group has a pan India presence and is currently diversifying into the real estate sector with its first mixed used development in Udaipur, – the largest mall in Rajasthan spread across 1.8 million sq. ft. Bhumika is also coming up with another mall in Alwar in 2021.

In an exclusive chat with IMAGES Retail, , Managing Director, talks about the upcoming projects of the brand in 2021. Excerpts…

Tell us about the current situation of the real estate industry in India, focusing on the lockdown and unlock phase?

When the lockdown happened, the situation was quite grim and worrying for the real estate industry. All construction activity was stopped and there was a lot of ambiguity as no one knew what was going to happen in the future. In the last few months, we have seen a lot of enquiries coming for leasing the space in malls and in the last couple of months the conversions have also started to take place. On a general note, a lot of developers including us are doing business equal to pre-COVID levels.

How has this current state impacted the progress of upcoming malls in India?

Since both our malls are under construction, we didn’t feel too much of an impact. The brands which have signed up with us are still there and none of them have backed out. In fact, none of them have even renegotiated the rentals with us, and we have infact been able to sign up quite a few new brands. We were actually lucky that our malls will be operational by end of this year and we expect the current crisis will have substantially eased by then.

Is Urban Square, in the final phase of completion now?

The civil construction part is over, but interior work, painting, wiring and plumbing are the few key things in progress right now. The handover process will be on time and we will launch the mall before Diwali this year.

What are the brands that have confirmed their availability so far in your malls? How many have been added post lockdown?
INOX, Shoppers Stop, Marks and Spencer, Reliance Trent, TATA Westside, Zudio, Skechers, Himalaya Optical, Kazo, Looks Salon, Blackberry, Pepe Jeans, FCUK, Go Colours, F- Bar, Arrow were already with us before the lockdown. Post lockdown we have added Adidas, Levis, Spykar, Reebok, Asics, Puma, Van Huesen, Louse Phillipe, Allen Solly, United Colours of Benetton, Spykar , Just for Kids & a Family Entertainment Center namely Funland. We are in advanced negotiations with many other brands including many F&B brands and an anchor store.

Any new innovations related to technology and consumer convenience that you have decided to include in your malls after the COVID situation?

We are working on integrating technology in both our malls. To be contactless and touch-free is one of the key aspects. For the air-conditioning we have made the major changes. We have been in the process of implementing motion sensor equipment in the areas such as elevators, lavatories etc. We are also studying and in discussion in making the mall Omnichannel.

Tell us about your expansion plans.

We are looking at launching something in Jaipur very soon. We are also looking for some retail projects in Bikaner as well. Aside from this, we will be going for the construction of Urban Square, Udaipur Phase 2 soon.