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Shopping in a goldmine

The sprawling Prashant Real Gold Tower coming up in T.Nagar is all set to create a new shopping experience for people who love the yellow metal, says N. RAVI KUMAR



TOWERING : Scheduled for opening in May, Prasanth Real Gold Tower will be a home to jewellers and jewellery designers from across the country.

Gold is not new to the people of Chennai. Jewellery showrooms in the city do a roaring business meeting their appetite for the yellow metal. Yet when it comes to purchasing gold, which cumulatively is estimated at thousands of tonnes annually, a lot still remains to be done to make it a truly shopping experience.

How about an exclusive jewellery mall that does away with the trouble of wading through crowded streets, the struggle of finding parking space and the need to constantly keep an eye on your belongings? Chennai will soon be getting one in the Prasanth Real Gold Tower — bang in the gold district of T. Nagar.

Exclusive mall

Coming up on a land spread over 12 grounds, belonging to the Kollywood star father-son duo of Thiagarajan and Prasanth, on North Usman Road, the 10+3 storey structure will house retail jewellery showrooms up to the fifth floor. Four floors from the sixth onwards would be devoted for bullion trade/whole sale offices of jewellers. Transporting the people up and down would be three escalators and four lifts. "It will be an exclusive jewellery mall ... the first of its kind in Chennai offering 1.40 lakh square feet of retail and bullion space," says V.S. Suresh, managing director Real Value Promoters, the project developers. Apart from the glitter of gold, diamond and precious metals, the plan to have a double basement for car park - in a locality where every square foot of space is considered a goldmine - is something that is expected to lure the trade and the customers. The land price, according to the company, has risen to Rs.8 crores per ground. Other attractions of the gold tower that is scheduled for opening in May and be a home to jewellers and jewellery designers from across the country would be a food court and a roof-top fine dining restaurant.

International shopping experience

Considering all these, it doesn't come as a surprise when Mr. Suresh, says he "grabbed the opportunity" when it came his way. Yet, it was not easy convincing the landowners to give up their idea of creating an information technology park in favour of an exclusive jewellery mall. Though the relaxed Floor Space Index for IT buildings remained a major attraction, the landowners agreed to the concept once Mr. Suresh proved that creation of retail space was a better business proposition. For Thiagarajan too, a jewellery mall went down well with his dream of creating something unique. Admitting that he toyed with several ideas, including that of foraying into the hospitality sector, he says it was the urge of doing something different that made him go for the jewellery mall promising an international shopping experience in a relaxed and secure environment.

Security

On the security initiatives planned for the mall, where leading names and brands in the business from India, and abroad such as Damas of Dubai are expected to be present, Mr. Suresh says the entire wall is RCC and there would only be a single entry to the building. It would help in having better control on the mall from a security perspective, he says, pointing out: "We are spending a fortune on the security aspects, including building management system."

Even Thiagarajan is no mood to play with his fortune, as he has decided against selling the space. "We want to own the building," he says, while Mr. Suresh points out that only a rental option is available - from Rs.100 per square feet onwards. Noting that the civil work is over, the developer says discussions were in progress with leading jewellery showrooms and food chains.

Wedding jewellery

An exclusive floor in the stilt level of the building would be available for the food court, while the rooftop would have a "very special multi cuisine restaurant." The gold tower, a release from the company said, would have only two big jewellers on each floor, rather than a multitude of smaller players.

Stating that Prasanth Real Gold Tower is planned to be opened on Akshaya Tritiya, a very special day for those in love with gold, Mr. Thiagarajan adds there were also plans to have a separate floor devoted to wedding jewellery collection and space for hallmarking centre and gem testing laboratory.

On what made him go for retail space creation when the trend among film stars is to set up restaurants, kalyana mandapams or get into promoting residential projects, he says: "Jewellery business is something that will not perish ... it will continue to grow."

And making that happen are the people of Chennai, for whom the opening of the mall would by itself be an event as some of the leading film stars would be present on the occasion.

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