Worli’s Atria mall up for sale for Rs 1,000 crore

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 05 Desember 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: Almost eight years after it opened under a cloud of controversy, the high-end Atria mall in Worli has been up for sale, but because of few takers so far, its promoters now plan to change its layout and format and convert it into a full-blown retail destination.

In fact, Shoppers Stop is negotiating for 35,000 sq ft space in the mall at present. But at least one insider said the owners are open to an outright sale if it fetches them around Rs 1,000 crore. The under-two-acre property is controlled by three partners: Champalal Vardhan, Dalichand Shah and Bhupesh Jain.

Atria is one of several malls in Mumbai which failed to click. It failed to bring sufficient returns since it opened in 2006, and over 50% of the mall has remained empty despite attracting top brands like Rolls Royce, BMW, Mango, Swatch and Tissot.

Market sources said Kishore Biyani of Future Group had made an offer for the property. But Biyani told TOI he was not involved in any talks to buy it.

Location of Atria not suitable for a mall, says partner

Kishore Biyani of Future Group has denied making an offer for the Atria mall at Worli. In 2006, Future Group had bought the Crossroads mall at Tardeo from the Piramals for Rs 260 crore.

"It was a mistake building a mall here. We should have done a residential project instead," said one of the partners, not wishing to be identified.

The reason, he said, was that the mall is located on an arterial road with poor access. "There is no railway station in the vicinity which could fetch large crowds," he said. Besides, the mall does not a have a theatre/multiplex, which generally brings in more footfalls. Another obstacle is the high property taxes— around Rs 24 a sq ft a month.

Last month, a TOI report quoted a recent Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India survey, which revealed that up to 52% malls in Mumbai are lying vacant. Experts had attributed this to a "failure of design or not having adequately strong brands". Among other factors were an overload of malls in the city, poor location and bad parking facilities. The overall retail vacancy rate in the city currently stands at 21.7%, according to Jones Lang LaSalle India.

Atria mall is spread over 1.90 lakh sq ft and the building is part of a three-acre plot belonging to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. The developers were entangled in a legal battle about eight years ago when social activist Medha Patkar approached the Bombay high court against its construction.

Her 2005 petition said the plot was reserved to rehabilitate the dishoused and that an existing school was shifted to the back of the plot to make way for the mall. It also alleged FSI violations.

However, the court allowed the mall to operate on the condition that it would rebuild the municipal school, construct three buildings for the municipal staff and pay Rs 80 crore to the BMC for rehabilitating project-affected persons. A couple of years ago, the mall again found itself in a controversy when a Shiv Sena rebel who had joined the Congress alleged that a Sena leader had a stake in the property.

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