Mall management company also on the anvil

R. Ravikumar

Chennai, Aug. 31

The retail real estate venture fund promoted by the Pantaloon group, Kshitij Venture Capital, along with equal joint venture partners, Mr Atul Ruia of Mumbai and Chennai-based Sharyans Resources, has bought a plot in Velachery, on the outskirts of Chennai, to eventually develop a 2 million sq ft mall.

Confirming this, Mr Shishir Baijal, Managing Director and CEO, Kshitij Investment Advisory Co Ltd, said Pantaloon Retail is not involved in this deal.

According to Mr Neeraj Agarwal, Manager (Investments), Kshitij Venture Capital Fund, the plot measures around 7.2 lakh sq ft.

"Kshitij Venture Capital Fund with its joint venture partners, Mr Atul Ruia and Sharyans Resources, is planning to develop a two million sq ft mall there in another two to three years. It will be a retail-lead mixed-use development. It may also have a hotel," Mr Agarwal said.

Asked whether Pantaloon proposes to occupy the retail space in the proposed mall, he said, "Nothing has been finalised on that front as yet."

Kshitij Investment Advisory Co Ltd (formerly known as PFH Investment Advisory), is planning to set up 51 malls across the country, spanning 14.5 million sq ft.

Also on the cards is the floating of a specialised mall management company, for which Kshitij Investment Advisory Co is reported to be in talks with a few international players in mall management for a partnership deal. Branded Kshitij Retail Destinations, these malls would come up not only in the four metros and Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, but also in tier-II towns such as Coimbatore, Madurai, Vijaywada, Rajahmundry, Kozhikode Kochi and Hubli.

"However, the entire project would be marketed by Kshitij," Mr Baijal was quoted as saying.

According to the reports, the malls are being designed by the US international architect groups, Callison and the Rockwell Group.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 1, 2006)
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