Next Year Batumi will Open Its First Biggest Shopping Mall
Batumi will meat the 2016 tourism season with a new multifunctional project. The Metro City complex unites a five-star hotel and apartments with own swimming pools, indoor and outdoor panoramic restaurants, casino, spa center, a shopping mall, sports club, movie theater, bowling center, children playground and yacht club, golden sand beach and the South Caucasus’ biggest conference halls for 1500 participants. The complex construction works started in February 2015.
The Metro City project calls for constructing Batumi’s first biggest shopping mall between the building of apartments and Euphoria hotel. The Metro City Forum will be located on a 16 000 square meter space and will unite about 100 brand stores. A JOY hypermarket will function at the first floor of the Metro City Forum. JOY brand will appear for the first time in the Georgian market.
The Ajara Business Week (ABW) has interviewed Metro Atlas Georgia director Raul Kakhadze about the Metro City project and the Metro City Forum shopping mall.
– Will the Metro City shopping mall attract only famous brands or any designer will be let open a boutique to offer competition to foreign brands?
– There is no competition in the City in this respect, as various brands have thoroughly saturated the market. One brand is located in the one part of the city, the second operates in the second part and so on. There is a problem with vehicle parking issues too, but we will resolve this problem: All brands and stores will be assembled into one space and our parking zone will serve our clients and guests.
– There are brands that operate in Tbilisi, but not in Batumi. Will the new shopping mall attract new brands?
– I believe the shopping mall will attract many new brands and their interest will increase. In March 2016, all spaces will be leased and the mall will officially launch operation by July 1, 2016.
The big shopping mall, as a rule, embraces a big hypermarket and Carrefour is a similar brand in the Georgian reality. Will a Carrefour hypermarket open at the mall, even more so, Carrefour has unveiled plans for establishing business in Batumi.
– No, we have not conducted negotiations with Carrefour, but a hypermarket will definitely function in the mall and this will be an alternative network. I will divulge in advance that a new trading network will operate in the mall that had not been represented in Georgia before.
It should be noted the Metro City project has acquired much and historic importance for Batumi and the Ajara Region, in whole. I do assert that the very project has inspired the New Boulevard development. Investors are interested in discharging the historical part of Batumi and their interest is redirected from the city center for developing new projects.
The space on 38 000 square meters will unite 464 apartments, the South Caucasus biggest conference hall for 1500 participants. The project also unites a huge casino and a hotel with at least 430 suites. Negotiations with a hotel brand have been finished, in practice. We have already sealed an advance agreement and a final contract will be signed in the near future.
– Does the hotel meet the requirements of the mentioned brand and will any corrections take place in the project?
– The hotel meets the brand’s requirements. The interior will be corrected a little. No significant changes will take place and consequently, this issue was not discussed at the meeting with the brand’s representatives. In the process of planning the hotel construction, we made focus a five-star hotel brand and naturally, we did not expect corrections and revisions.
– When will be the complex inaugurated and when will the hotel, the shopping mall and apartments open?
– The project’s investment value makes up 125 million USD. Initially, official inauguration was planned by the end of 2017, as determined by the agreement between the investor and the Georgian Government, but later we rescheduled the date and the project will be officially unveiled on July 1, 2016. Initially, we planned to open only apartments and the shopping mall, but we have already decided to open the whole complex on July 1, 2016.
– This question is a joke in half. When an investor violates the agreement obligations, he/she is fined, but when an investor finishes the project ahead of schedule, like your company, is there any preferences and benefits? What factors have preconditioned the ahead of schedule completion of the project?
– We were carrying out construction works at high paces and the project implementation was accelerated because of this reason. We had made real calculations, but the reality turned out different. The construction process proceeded faster and we have changed the project inauguration date twice.
As to the first part of your question, we have certain obligations before the Finance and Economy Ministry of Ajara and the faster we finish the construction works and fulfill these obligations, the worthier our project will be.
– When do you expect to return the investments?
– Various factors determine this issue, but we expect to return the investments in 3 to 5 years.
– What special preferences do you offer to the customers, different ones from your competitors, to raise their interest in purchasing your apartments? Why should I buy your apartments and not others’?
– We offer 36-month internal installment payment scheme. Unlike all other projects, our project is a special one for its multifunctional character. You cannot name any other complex in Batumi that gathers everything in one space.
– You noted the Metro City project will have the South Caucasus’ biggest conference hall. Why did you decide to arrange a big conference hall in Batumi? Was there the demand for a similar facility?
– In Georgia you will not find anywhere a conference hall for 1500 attendants. I agree with you, there is much demand for similar conference halls in the market.
We consider Batumi to be a 12-month tourism destination, not only 3-month holidaymaking city.
– Does this signify the company will join the MICE Tourism? Will you make offers yourselves or apply to partner travel companies to make offers?
– Naturally, we are conducting certain negotiations and we expect positive results in this direction.
– As to casino, casino business is justified in Ajara, but what factors make your casino different from other casinos?
– Our casino will be operated by Casino XO Club. The casino without poles will be the biggest one the South Caucasus. This is a famous brand and our multifunctional complex have raised their interest.
As reported, the full complex of Metro City is located a 2 kilometer way from Batumi International Airport and a 500 meter way from the Batumi center. The location of the complex harmonizes with picturesque views to the Ajara highlands and the sea space.