Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lulu Mega shopping mall opened in Kochi, Kerala

Monday, March 11, 2013
KOCHI: Billed as India's biggest, the LuLu Shopping Mall in Kochi was yesterday inaugurated by Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala. Non-resident Indian businessman and UAE-based EMKE Group/LuLu managing director Yusuffali M A was also present. Developed by the EMKE Group at the cost of about $300 million, the mall is spread over 2.5m square feet, over three levels. A spokesman for LuLu Group said the mall, set to house the best of luxury and lifestyle brands, will redefine the shopping experience. Located at Edappally, at the intersection of NH-47, 17 and the Kochi by-pass, the mall is easily accessible from the Cochin International Airport as also the railway station. The food court has a capacity for 3,500 people and 18 food counters. The first McDonald's restaurant in Kerala will also open at the mall. The entertainment zone spread over 22,000 sq/ft includes a 5,000 sq/ft skating rink, a 5-D cinema hall, bowling alleys, water rides and gaming arcade.
LuLu Hypermarket, LuLu Celebrate, LuLu Connect, Westside, PVR Cinemas are the anchor stores of the mall. Nine cinema screens with a total capacity of 2,250 seats will open in the mall by early April.
Also, within the mall is The Marriott - a 300 room five-star hotel.
Designed by UK-based consultants WS Atkins, the mall has a parking facility for 3,000 cars with access from all the main roads.
The other facilities include ATMs, money exchange services, pharmacies, a travel and holiday desk and a Federal Bank branch. The mall is expected to generate 8,000 jobs directly and more than 20,000 indirectly, a LuLu Group spokesperson said. Nearly 300 national and international brands will have their outlet in the Lulu Mall. A 3500 seat restaurant area, bowling alley, ice skating rink, rides and computer games and a 9 screen multiplex are the other important features of the Lulu Mall. The Mall will also have bank counters, ATMs and money exchange centres.
India’s biggest one-stop shop for everything.
The Edappally Junction became a cobweb of people and vehicles on Sunday evening, as people from the city and faraway places thronged the Lulu mall premises on the day of its inauguration . The junction often came to a standstill, leaving serpentine queues of vehicles in four directions. Even pedestrians found it tough to inch their way forward through the huge crowd here. For a moment, the unprecedented turnout of people forced the mall’s security staff to close the gates. Many tried to scale the compound walls.
Huge crowds
The teeming crowd spilled over into the highway, holding up traffic in the Palarivattom-Kalamassery stretch. The traffic police had a tough time as they attempted to create space for at least one row of vehicles. Even this seemed tough as the two lanes on the northern side of NH 47 and the median was packed with people. All this while, single-lane traffic proceeded at a snail’s pace along the highway’s southern side. Still, the queue of vehicles extended as far as the Palarivattom Bypass Junction, located three km away. Even the service roads and side roads were packed with vehicles, choking them.
Crucial location
The mall’s location – at the meeting point of NH 47 and NH 17, compounded matters as traffic along both the highways halted for a few hours. Fed up with the snarls, the humid atmosphere, toxic automobile exhaust and the sound of engines, many motorists switched off the engines. Vivekananadan, a two-wheeler rider said that he saw a few vehicle owners make frantic attempts to move their vehicles to a side as they ran out of fuel after being caught in the snarl.
Parking problems
Vehicles parked indiscriminately on the road in front of another mall in the vicinity made matters worse. This has given rise to the widespread demand that mall owners make their own arrangements for parking vehicles of customers. Many people caught in the traffic rued about why government agencies – especially the NHAI and Kochi Corporation did nothing to widen Edapally Junction, in anticipation of the mall’s opening. They also demanded that the traffic police ban parking all along the highway and the NH bypass.

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