KOCHI: Metro connectivity was expected to provide a boost to businesses on MG Road, but the opposite seems to have happened, with traders moving out from once-prime shopping destinations in Kochi, a trend that seems to be replicating in other parts of the state as well.
A recent study by JLL on the real estate scenario claims Panampilly Nagar has grown in prominence in the retail rental space market.
“MG Road has been a prime location for shoppers and tenant categories, largely including jewellery, apparel, F&B and footwear. In recent years, this retails cluster is less preferred by retailers, as Panampilly Nagar has grown in prominence. The planned metro construction around MG Road has resulted in traffic congestion that further deters shoppers and retailers,” the report claimed.
As per the report, Panampilly Nagar houses several lifestyle brands that have a pan-India presence, alongside international brands. “Anecdotal evidence suggests almost 70 per cent of the stores belong to operators who are either pan-India or international brands, which is highest, going by high-streets standards. Fashion apparel and fine dining account for a dominant share in categories, followed by spas and other lifestyle retailing,” according to the report.
M V Antony, executive committee member of CREDAI Kochi, said the commercial space business in Kochi has to achieve further growth. “There are several commercial spaces that remain unoccupied in Kochi. Less traffic and parking are the main factors attracting tenants. Similarly, the international brands and companies maintain high safety standards,” he said.
The JLL study report estimates rentals in the central business district (CBD), comprising MG Road and Panampilly Nagar, are in the range of Rs 50 to Rs 150 per sq ft. The same in the secondary business district (SBD), comprising the National Highway bypass starting from Edappally to Kundanoor, is around Rs 35 to Rs 350 per sq ft. “The old tenants pay the lowest rentals in the range of Rs 50 to Rs 70 per sq ft. International and national brands pay rentals in the range of Rs 65 to 120 per sq ft depending on the location, access to frontage, brand-visibility and store size,” said Antony.
In the organised retail space comprising mainly malls, Kochi has a lot to offer compared with the state capital. International brands prefer to lease space in Lulu Mall where the ground floor rent can go as high as Rs 550 per sq ft. In other malls - Oberon, Centre Square and Nucleus - the rentals are in the range of Rs 50 to Rs 120 per sq ft, claims the report.
In Thiruvananthapuram, MG Road is a popular shopping spot. The Mall of Travancore near the airport with NH bypass frontage is functioning in full swing. Once the Lulu Mall at Thiruvananthapuram opens, the organised retail penetration is set to witness a jump. In CBD, comprising MG Road and its extension, the rentals range from Rs 45 to Rs 150 per sq ft. At SBD comprising NH bypass, rentals range from Rs 35 to Rs 80 per sq ft.
Not far behind
In Thrissur too, the retail real estate has started to evolve. Given the proximity to both CBD and SBD, Selex Mall enjoys high footfalls. Swaraj Round areas are popular and hosts unorganised standalone retails stores. The rentals at CBD is around Rs 75 to Rs 150 per sq ft.