Delhi's DLF Galleria takes re-birth as India's first 'booze mall'
DLF Galleria is perhaps India’s first booze mall, and it can put most duty-free liquor zones to shame.
A mall in Delhi's Mayur Vihar, which had no takers for months, is rising by default in a new avatar: DLF Galleria is perhaps India's first booze mall, and it can put most duty-free liquor zones to shame.
Eight large liquor stores selling everything from local beer to imported wines have taken almost the whole ground floor of the mall with two more slated to open in the coming months. Two bar-cum-restaurants in the locality, too, are shifting to the "booze mall", to be in the company of likeminded businesses.
"You ask any rikshawala in the locality to take you to the 'daru' mall and they all know," saysHarish Jaggi, who has rented his 600-sq ft space on the ground floor of DLF Galleria to a company that is opening a liquor store in November. ADLF spokesman declined to comment.
It is a comeback for the mall, which wore a deserted look for several months after opening in 2010, as it could not attract enough quality retailers, as slowdown had begun to hurt the retail industry. Also, there were already several popular malls just a few kilometers away in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
DLF rented the upper two floors of the three-storey building to offices. Some investors in the Galleria mall last year dragged DLF to the Delhi High Court accusing it of hurting their investments by converting it into an office complex.
They might not be complaining that much now as Booze shops are paying rents between.`120-170 per sq ft, which property analysts say is pretty reasonable for a mall that was otherwise deserted. "Renting out to booze stores is not what we were looking for when we invested in the mall. But we don't have a choice either," Jaggi says.
Almost 20,000 sq ft out of the estimated 25,000 sq ft of space on the ground floor is already snapped up by liquor sellers, he says, adding that these shops are popular among middle class consumers including executives and ladies.
Naveen Agarwal, who has leased his space on the first floor of the mall to a Japanese firm, says, "It is either offices or booze stores there, and it's a lethal combination." Many consumers frequenting the mall live in nearby Noida where liquor is costlier, he says.
People are attracted by the convenience and availability of most brands as well.
"I come here as it is convenient compared with the traditional 'thekha' across the road in New Ashok Nagar that is horrible and dirty," says a television documentary maker and a Noida resident while buying a full bottle Royal Stag whisky. "Here we get all the varieties we need," he adds.
Amit Arora, MD of Buddy Retail that operates liquor stores at airports and other locations, says the location gives an arbitrage opportunity as it is on the border of Noida where booze is expensive.
Source : By Rasul Bailay, ET Bureau