A lifestyle bomb has exploded over humble Kurla, and the congested stretch of LBS Marg has no clue what’s hit it. The newly opened Phoenix Market City is an amoeba-shaped 2.1 million sq. ft space with 330 retail brands, six atria, a 40,000 sq. ft open-air courtyard from where you can watch the planes at the airport nearby land, a 78,000 sq. ft supermarket, parking space for 2,500 cars, 16 bowling lanes, an eight-screen multiplex, and an expectation of 100,000 visitors a day. The property itself is 4.1 million sq. ft and also houses a hotel and office space.
It is almost arrogant in scale. This mall is so endless, it takes half an hour to get to the end of a single aisle with, of course, mandatory window-shopping stops. The rule of thumb here is a 10-minute brisk walk down one aisle, so wear sensible shoes. The concept it is built on is: If you can’t finish the mall in one trip, you will have to come back. That, and sheer intimidation by opulence. Each corridor leads around a turn into a different direction, so it is easy to keep going, get lost, and wander aimlessly (hold on to your brats’ hands; there is no lost-and-found children’s department).
A file photo of Phoenix Market City mall
The 50 food and coffee joints are not clumped together in a single food court, but interspersed through the mall. When hubby grumbles and the child gets cranky, there is ample replenishment and seating space at arm’s length. A lot of thought has obviously gone into the planning. Designed by the Singapore-based architectural firm Benoy, a fundamental of the mall is that you stay lonely; even when it’s packed, it’s so big you feel like you’re on your own. There’s ample light and air, pretty green and yellow flower-shaped seating in courtyards, and the stores are loosely zoned by products, gender, age and budgets. So if you’re there for a pair of shoes, Nine West, Charles & Keith and Aldo are sitting next to each other on the upper ground floor, and on the ground level (which is a level below the ground actually), Catwalk and Reliance Footprint, among others.
The mall will be home to Zara’s India flagship store, Mumbai’s largest Nike and Debenhams stores, Bebe, and Anita Dongre’s first ever menswear line for her label AND. Inglot, the Polish cosmetics store, has some lovely rainbow gloss, and UK stores such as Early Learning Centre and Accessorize, and the Choko la store, brighten the space considerably. The mall, in a bid to up the experience to five-star luxury, also offers concierge services, bag parks, home delivery services, online “Plan Your Visit” facilities (log in the time you need to spend, and they’ll make restaurant and movie reservations, and guide you through the mall) and personal fashion consultants. Management states the mall has generated employment for up to 5,000 youth in the vicinity and hopes to transform the area, as it did Lower Parel.
A file photo of the inside of Phoenix Market City mall
For now, when you step outside this sanitized Xanadu and look at the hill of slums framing the airport and the obvious poverty just outside, you can’t help but squirm a bit.
Phoenix Market City is located on LBS Marg, Kurla, Mumbai. It is open to the public though stores are still opening in a phased manner.