The latest mall in Kochi, Abad Nucleus at Maradu, opens with super brands taking up space

Shopping, food, entertainment, time pass…a shopping mall may mean this and more to different people. The fact remains that shopping malls, or lifestyle centres have become an accepted symbol of a growing metropolis.

Abad Nucleus, the huge, new mall that opened its doors at Maradu recently, is a value-addition to retail revolution that seems to be sweeping the city.

A village transformed

Till recently a sleepy village, fringed with traditional houses, middle-class families, Maradu has turned into a posh urban satellite town. There is a buzz in the now petrol-filled air with five-star hotels, automobile showrooms, soaring property prices virtually altering this once quiet village.

And the giant steel-and-glass, ten-floor Nucleus has not just transformed the town's skyline, it is set to change the way the people here and its neighbourhood shop.

Like teenage fashion, malls keep changing in style. Nucleus, spread over an area of 1,25,000 square feet, gives plenty of breathing space even while providing space for shops, game zone, activity area and a spacious food court. They also have created a structure which has a mix of uses – area dedicated to shopping and around 45,000 square feet, spread across six floors, for offices.

What strikes you immediately as you walk through the posh, upscale, brightly-lit interiors of the mall are that the builders have attempted to blend with the surroundings, the environment as far as possible.

“This is the first gold rated Green Mall in the country. Some of the ‘green aspects' we have incorporated are reduced energy consumption, energy efficient air-conditioning, space for storage and collection of recyclable materials, efficient lighting systems using LED and CFL fixtures for common areas and the like. We also have paid a lot of attention to the infrastructure. We have facilities for rainwater harvesting, ample parking space including two car lifts from the basement to the space on the terrace, it has facilities for the differently-abled, there are six escalators and four huge elevators. In fact, we have tried to provide customers with a pleasant shopping experience,” informs Prince Varghese, Deputy General Manager (Strategy & Marketing), Abad Group.

Like any of the malls, Nucleus is also a ‘battleground' where the brands, small, medium and big, the known, the not-so-well-known fight to catch the consumer's eye. Among those brands that have already opened shop are Fabindia, Navigator, Toonkidz, Music World, DC Books, Archies Gallery, Baby Planet, John Miller, Wildcraft etc.

Super brands

“We have other super brands readying to open their outlets. Some of the brands coming up are Lee, Wrangler, Adidas, Keerti Retail, Jockey, Pakittu Sarees, Srinivasa Jewellery. Also coming up this month will be Boomerang Entertainment, a full-fledged gaming zone. Our anchor tenants are Big Bazaar/Food Bazaar, Max Lifestyle, which opens this month will be the first in Kochi and Abad Food Court. The food court, which has begun functioning, has Pizza Xpress, Baskin Robbins, Potpouri, Marrybrown, China Town and Kebabs & Curries.”

Just a few years back, people had to make a choice between shopping, movies or simply hanging out. But with the coming of malls all these can be done at the same time, in air-conditioned comfort. They have become a one-stop entertainment arena.

The true votaries of such places are the youngsters. For them these malls are the ultimate place to be. Shopping, watching movies, dating, simply lazing around, they don't even need a purpose to be there. I asked some of them as they trooped in and out of Nucleus about their ‘experience.' ‘Comfort', ‘style', ‘convenient' and ‘cool', were some of the words they used to describe their initiation to this new mall culture.

The only thing they miss at the Nucleus is a theatre. “It would have added to the fun. Something more to look forward too,” said one young boy. And one of the shop owners also expressed the same feeling. Perhaps, the vacant anchor space on one of the floors could be transformed to bring in more footfalls, new bright eyes.