Kazan’s biggest shopping mall to open at second attempt

KazanMall provided 90% of its area with lessees and is getting ready to open long before Christmas sales

As Realnoe Vremya learn, Mega shopping mall’s key opponent — KazanMall new shopping mall on Pavlyukhin Street — is going to open in test mode in November. The administration of the mall claim that it will take time between the test and official opening, probably the official opening will be in December. Nevertheless, owners of the mall, which is worth 6 billion rubles, said that 90% of the area in the shopping mall is already occupied — they probably don’t want to launch the complex without full occupancy. Read in our report about the developer UD Group’s plans for the development of the shopping mall, anchor and other tenants of the “supermall” as well as experts’ evaluation.

“The mall must make a profit”

“We’re getting ready,” Valentina Sakhabeyeva, director of development at UD Group, which is the developer of the mall, told Realnoe Vremya in answer to the question about the D-Day but didn’t provide more details.

Later, the company clarified that only a test opening was planned:

“The mall will officially open in December, however, the test opening can be in November already,” the press service of UD Group said.

In any case, the city has been waiting for the shopping mall to open for a long time — the mall was scheduled to open in August, but the deadline had to be put off because of the coronavirus pandemic. CBRE Group — an international realty consultancy registered in Los Angeles that is an exclusive consultant of KazanMall — also confirmed information about the upcoming opening of KazanMall.

“The permit to launch the facility was obtained in May, the title to the building was registered, over 90% of the area is leased, and lessees are completing assembly works in more than 85% of the leased area,” PR Director of CBRE’s Moscow office Yekaterina Prokopova told Realnoe Vremya. “It is a long-awaited project and it is necessary, the mall was built, it must make a profit.”

Lessees on the start line

“Works on the adjacent territory have completely ended, a fountain was launched, small architectural forms were installed, a unique architectural lighting of the building’s facade turns on at night,” Realnoe Vremya was told at CBRE. “The territory of the shopping mall is already open for citizens and guests of Kazan, while the assembly of engineering networks and finishing in staff rooms in the building completely ended, but finishing works in shopping galleries go on.”

From a perspective of the area, KazanMall went ahead of Mega — 137,000 square metres. However, the area for rent looks smaller — 54,000 square metres. The shopping mall has three floors and two-storey parking for 1,500 cars. The shopping gallery is designed for more than 170 stores. The total amount of investments in the construction of the mall is evaluated at 6 billion rubles.

Over 80% of the shopping mall is rented today, the exclusive consultant of the project told Realnoe Vremya. Rent agreements were signed with anchor tenants, it is Lenta food hypermarket with a 9,000-square-metre area, Kinomax IMAX cinema with nine halls (4,500 square metres), Gold Apple perfume store, Megaland entertainment zone for children (2,600 square metres), Sportmaster sports supermarket. LPP company became the main fashion anchor — it is opening five brands in new formats here — Reserved, Sinsay, Mohito, Cropp, House.

“Lenta, Kinomax IMAX cinema, Teika Boom entertainment zone for children, shops of LPP group of companies, Gold Apple, Technopark, Gloria Jeans, Sportmaster, Terranova, Calliope and others are completing finishing works,” CBRE said.

KazanMall opens during “the difficult period”

How promising is the launch of such a big and costly shopping mall during the coronavirus pandemic when lessees already carried serious financial losses because of self-isolation and potential clients are going to save money and refuse unnecessary purchases? The project’s consultant claimed that “the concept of the facility follows the current trends of the market: KazanMall has over 30% of the area for entertainment and leisure time for the whole family”, including for restaurants, a food court, carting.

“Thanks to the team’s professionalism, we managed to not only save lessees who had signed rent agreements before the pandemic in the project but also attract more new interesting brands,” said Director of the Office of Regional Commercial Space at CBRE Mikhail Rogozhin said. “The fact that we manage to open to a facility with a high occupancy rate and a good list of lessees during such a difficult period for everybody proves once again the uniqueness of the facility’s concept, its high demand and quality delivery.”

According to Rogozhin, Kazan is considered to be a region with a relatively small number of shopping malls for the population — about 350 square metres per thousand residents, while the average age of operating professional shopping malls is 12 years. This is why, he assumes, “KazanMall will be in demand among both retailing and visitors”.

Not Mega, but an influx is expected

“All realty market players and not only in Kazan are staying tuned for the fate of the new project of KazanMall,” says an authorised representative of the Russian Guild of Managers and Developers in Tatarstan Yelena Stryukova says. “The occupancy rate and list of lessees of such a big shopping mall now will be considered as an illustration of the state of million cities’ commercial realty market, if it is dead or alive. This is why I think all professionals in the market are looking forward to the opening of the facility. There is no official information about the exact date of the opening and full list of lessees. In any case, a mix of lessees from different price categories provides a good effect, especially if such lessees are well placed and their location in the shopping mall is convenient. There is no doubt about the latter, professionals created the concept.”

“The end of October isn’t the best time to open a shopping mall,” thinks Director General of A-Development consultancy Murat Akhmerov. “The pandemic is at the peak now, and even wealthy clients aren’t inclined to spend and go shopping.”

“It’s hard to assess the date. As a rule, the owner considers his technical possibilities, plus, coronavirus is making amendments,” Director General of Happy House realty agency Anastasia Gizatova noted. “While autumn is a traditional time to open and increase business activity.”

In general Gizatova evaluated the prospects of the new shopping mall positively:

“All shopping malls have the same problems because of the coronavirus — a fall on consumer traffic, a shifted focus on e-commerce. If anti-pandemic measures resume, this will equally hit all malls. But I am sure that the start of the operation of KazanMall will be great. Somebody will come here because of interesting stores, somebody will certainly visit this shopping mall simply out of curiosity. There will probably be an influx during the first months.”

At the same time, Realnoe Vremya’s interlocutor isn’t anyway prone to overestimate KazanMall regarding its competition with Mega: “I don’t think this mall will be its opponent. Mega is anyway an interregional player with a lot of mass-market shops”.

By Inna Serova