Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Co. Ltd, part of the Wadia group, has appointed Australian architect Ross Bonthorne to draft a plan for its mill land in Mumbai that will be developed into residences, hotels, malls and office complexes. Bonthorne was associated with one of Europe’s largest shopping centres—Bluewater in Kent, the UK.
A spokesperson for the company confirmed Bonthorne’s appointment and his role in developing a master plan for the company’s real estate development business.
Bombay Dyeing has relocated most of its manufacturing to Ranjangaon in Pune and will develop 4.3 million sq. ft of space in its Mumbai mills. It has already begun constructing residences at its Spring Mills property.
A master planner generally provides a concept for the unified mixed-use development of a large tract of land. “At the same time, he (the master planner) tries to give independent identity and image to each building while maintaining the synergy,” said Shubhranshu Pani, president, retail services, Trammell Crow Meghraj Property Consultants, a real estate advisory.
Designing retail spaces to international standards has gained importance in India with the entry of large Indian companies such as Reliance Industries Ltd, Bharti Enterprises Ltd and Aditya Birla Group into the segment and the growth of existing retail businesses such as Shoppers’ Stop Ltd and Future Group. With Indian laws now allowing 51% foreign direct investment in single-brand retail, several fashion and luxury brands such as Ermenegildo Zegna, Valentino and Chanel have entered the country.
In the absence of expertise within India in designing specialist retail spaces, developers and retailers have had to look outside the country. Unitech’s The Great India Place mall in Noida is designed by Callison, one of the largest architectural design firms in the US and the company behind Dubai’s City Mall. The Future Group’s real estate arm Kshitij Investment Advisory Co. Ltd has roped in UK-based Benoy Architects for Market City, a development that combines retail and office space and a hotel and convention centre. Mumbai’s Inorbit mall, developed by K. Raheja Corp. as one of Asia’s biggest, was conceptualized by the company in association with the UK’s Chapman Taylor Partners, whose clients include Tesco Plc., Warner Bros (UK) Ltd and Airport Authority Hong Kong.
“International consultants provide innovative concepts to design malls rather than creating the traditional box format. Their international exposure to malls globally also helps in creating a world-class mall in India,” said Pani.