Are you a leisure-driven mall rat? Ampa Skywalk, opening next week in Chennai, may be just the place for you.

It’s Chennai’s latest landmark. With an imposing structure and a façade filled with vibrant geometric patterns, Ampa Skywalk can’t escape your eye at the Poonamallee High Road-Nelson Manickam Road intersection.

Frenetically readied for launch on September 28, Skywalk, that’s taken four years to complete, promises plenty of excitement for leisure-driven mall hoppers. “With three floors of retail space, food court, games zone and a multiplex, it’s a complete outing for the family,” says Ampa Palaniappan, managing director, Ampa Housing Development Private Limited and promoter of the mall.

Built at a cost of Rs.120 crore, the 6.50 lakh sq. ft. Skywalk will feature an array of top-notch international and national brands on a three-level retail space of 3. 50 lakh sq. ft. While 22 shops will open on the launch day, fit-outs are happening for the rest that will open in a phased manner.

“The whole mall should be operational in three months,” reveals Palaniappan. “Since it’s been quite a while in the making, we decided to throw it open and carry on with the work. The mall targets three categories — luxury, lifestyle and need-based.”

Besides stand-alone stores featuring leading labels, Skywalk will also have a sprawling 36,000 sq. ft. Westside and a swanky 20,000 sq.ft Landmark. A hyper market — Trent’s Star Bazaar, too is part of the mallscape. From vegetables to household items, the 56,000 sq. ft. hyper market will be a one-stop destination for shoppers. Finishing touches are being given to the market that will open shortly.

As if the retail experience wasn’t enough to take your breath away, the mall will offer myriad food and beverage options. Besides the food court fare, world chains such as TGI Friday, McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut will open shop. And Mumbai’s famous thali-maker Rajdani too will enrich the eating out experience.

For those strolling in simply to kill time, a games zone spread across 10, 000 sq. ft. is coming up. It will feature bowling alleys too, beside arcade games. New Delhi’s famous PVR Cinemas comes to Chennai with a seven-screen multiplex. “It marks PVR’s entry into the city. To be open by October end, the 1,900 seat multiplex features five small and two big theatres with an interesting approach – the skywalk.”

Yes, that’s where the mall gets its name from. “Originally meant to be an open design, the skywalk is 80 ft above ground level. The design was tweaked for safety reason. It’s a highlight of the mall, as it occupies a prime place in the atrium. Connecting the ticket boxes to the theatres, the 25 meter Skywalk reflects the aspirations of shoppers. It makes you look up — skywards. There‘s a positive energy about it. It‘s done up with innovative lighting,” smiles Palaniappan.

The atrium with a dome that beautifully captures the light from outside is so spacious, it can take the milling crowds associated with Chennai malls. The ingenious floor plan was designed after careful study. “I’ve visited dozens of malls before finalizing the plan for this one. Circulation patterns and buyer behaviour were taken into account. You just don’t pop into a mall to make a quick purchase and quicker exit. You actually hang out. So we’ve seen to it there’s plenty of space for leisurely strolls. Cherulanathan is the architect.”

Despite the economic slowdown, the promoter is positive, “People have been waiting eagerly for Skywalk’s launch. Size, location and variety are our strong points. We are also integrating certain CSR activities into our marketing plans. Since the launch coincides with the Joy of Giving Week, we will kick-start our CSR plans immediately.Our atrium, we hope, will soon become Chennai’s stage featuring various promotions and events.