A sneak peek into what Express Avenue, Chennai's biggest mall ever, has to offer

Chennai's brand new landmark — the Express Avenue — is fast nearing completion. Strategically located on Club House Road, off Mount Road, the mall is Chennai's biggest ever and boasts a good mix of commercial, hospitality and entertainment spaces.

The 10-acre project that's coming up inside the historic Indian Express Estate will have four floors of retail space, a building for corporate offices and a hotel. The retail complex will be ready by mid next year, informs C. Arumugam, the president of Express Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd.

Nine lakh sq. ft. of retail space is ready for occupation and tenants are already in the process of doing up the interiors. Besides the variety in terms of retail (featuring premium national and international brands), the mall has plenty of drive-in space and ample car park that extends to 5,00,000 sq.ft. There are three basement parking lots that can easily accommodate 1,600 cars.

Built at a cost of Rs. 750 crore, the 17.5 lakh-sq.ft. mall will have 10 anchor tenants and 150 vanilla tenants. (So far, EA has tied up with five anchor tenants and 60 vanilla tenants). “On the day of inauguration, about 60 to 70 per cent of floor space will be occupied. The mall will be fully operational by the end of next year,” says R.R. Aroonkumar, chief financial officer, Express Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd.

“It will certainly cater to the affluent and premium segments. Besides stand-alone stores by leading labels, Express Avenue will have an expansive 80,000-sq.ft. Lifestyle and a swanky 65,000-sq.ft Pantaloon Big Bazaar. The anchor tenants will take 3,00,000 to 4,00,000 sq.ft., while the vanilla tenants would occupy up to 4,00,000 sq.ft.,” reveals Arumugam.

A classy food court and a multiplex are the other attractions. The 50,000-sq.ft. food court will have 25 counters with several food and beverage options. Besides local fare, world food chains such as McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut will open shop here. For those who simply like to have fun, the Dubai-based Fun City will launch an entertainment centre. That's not all on the entertainment front. Satyam Cinemas' eight-screen multiplex with a total of 1,600 seats in a sprawling 50,000-sq.ft. space will be Chennai's biggest cineplex. It has tied up with EA and work on the interiors is currently on.

Designed to global standards, the mall has six atriums with a height not less than 75 feet each. The atrium areas allow plenty of natural light into the common area. It's covered with tenfile fabric — the latest that's used internationally. The centre of the atrium is covered with glass. Out of the total 10 acres, only 3.57 acres will be taken up by buildings. The rest will go for car parking, drive-ways and landscaping. In all, the mall has 26 lifts, 34 escalators and four travelators.

Realising the need for open spaces amid concrete structures, New Delhi-based Mohit Gujral, who has done several DLF projects, has ensured that mall-hoppers will enjoy the luxury of a huge open area in the heart of the city. It's designed in such a way that the mall is flanked by 10-storey buildings. One building will be the corporate block and the other will be the hotel. EA is hoping to tie up with one of the international hotels by the end of 2010.