Kochi: LuLu, Asia’s largest mall, is to open here on Sunday. Spread over seven acres, the Rs 1,600 cr mall, with a built-up space of 25 lakh sqft, will be the 105th shopping splendor of the LuLu Group.
LuLu managing director Yusuf Ali said he would invest more than half his earnings in his home state as he would want to drive home the point that Kerala was an investor-friendly destination. The mall, expected to generate direct employment to around 8,000 people and to at least 20,000 indirectly, will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, with Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan as the chief guest.
The venture is expected to be a totally new shopping experience for not just the people of the state but also for tourists from abroad. With most of the international brands to set up shop at the mall, those going abroad for shopping could make Kochi their destination, he said. The mall can at a time hold 1 lakh customers and parking facility would be available for 3,000 cars. Besides a Marriott restaurant, there would be a food court to accommodate 3,500 people at a time and 18 food counters, besides nine cinema screens with a total capacity of 2,250 seats.
He said the power bill per month was expected to be around Rs 1.5 cr and the annual tax earnings for the local Kalamassery municipality would be around Rs 8 cr. The mall is expected to break even in around 22 years.
Joseph Austin, managing director of LaFortezza, who has designed the mall said: “We have been in this job for the last 30 years and we can say it matches the best of malls in Europe”.
Talking about his next initiative in the state, Yusuf Ali said the design for the international convention centre to come up at Bolgatty here, was going through the final stages of approval. On completion, it could attract global meetings as it would incur only half the cost of what would have to shelled out abroad.