Dutch entertainment and shopping mall operator Plaza Centres N V, indirectly owned by the Israeli Elbit Imaging Group, yesterday announced its plans to start leasing 10 western style 'shoppertainment' properties.
Plaza Centres, along with Elbit Imaging has already committed to projects in India with total investments of over Rs15,000 crore.
The 'shoppertainment' projects are slated for Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Hyderabad, Pune and Trivandrum. The first project, spread over 3.3 million square feet, will be inaugurated in Pune in the first half of 2010.
Plaza Centres has a strong presence in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries since 1996, and has developed more than 50 malls across nine countries.
The group says it has been in India for the past three years studying its demographic profile and expects a positive response.
''There is enormous potential in India for these kind of projects considering the density of population," said Abraham Goren, Elbit Imaging Ltd, executive vice chairman, heading the activities of Elbit Imaging and Plaza Centres in India. "Our malls will be more hospitable, environment-friendly and spacious compared to the existing malls. The Indian retail sector is more developed in terms of infrastructure and compares favourably with global trends. This gives us the confidence to view ourselves as long-term players in this dynamic and growing market.''
Ran Shtarkman, CEO and president of Plaza Centres N V, said, "India has experienced significant economic growth over the last seven years, which is expected to continue in the coming decade and the retail sector in particular is booming. Combined with the rapid growth in household income, similar to what the group experienced in its years of operations in Central and Eastern Europe, there is huge demand for western style retail complexes. We look forward to meeting some of this pent-up demand with the delivery of a number of large projects in the coming years, starting with the opening of our Pune scheme in 2010.''
Shashank Pathak, director marketing, India, Plaza Centres observed, "India has entered the shopping centres market just 10 years ago and we have learnt the ropes well. Seeing this potential, the Elbit group decided to enter India."
The Plaza Centres will be designed by Uri Shetrit, the chief architect who is in charge of the whole group's architectural design and urban planning activities in Europe and Asia. Pathak added, "The centres in India will have their own design which will blend the local architecture with the best in the world."
On the eve of the India Retail Forum 2008, Plaza Centres revealed its operational strategy which it adopts round the world and which would be duplicating in India. The Centres comprise of two primary elements – commercial and entertainment. The international and local anchor tenants form the backbone of these elements and around this the smaller retail businesses are introduced, thus providing a wide range and choice of activities for visitors.
Goren added, "We always stick to our deadlines and pride ourselves on the speed and efficiency. The group has proven strong ability to complete its malls well within the construction schedule and within the budgets."
Plaza Centres N V is a member of the Europe Israel Group of companies which is controlled by its founder, Mordechay Zisser. It has been active in real estate development in emerging markets for over 12 years.