The Azrieli Rishonim mall in Rishon Lezion, the Azrieli Group Ltd.'s (TASE: AZRG) 16th shopping mall in Israel, will be opened to the public this Thursday.
Built at a cost of NIS 750 million, Azrieli Rishonim covers 55,000 sq.m. The mall, parts of which are still being constructed, will be fully occupied with 120 stores. Its annual business proceeds are estimated at NIS 500 million.
The group expects 15,000 visitors daily at the mall, for whom 1,500 parking places have been allotted.
The Azrieli Group usually locates its malls near railway stations. As in the group's other shopping malls, Azrieli Rishonim also enjoys a strategic location near a railway station.
"In contrast to what people think, there isn't an excess of commercial space in comparison with the population in this vicinity," says Azrieli Malls CEO Arnon Toren. "Despite the impression that many malls are being opened, it's backed up by economic growth. According to the surveys, Rishon Lezion is Israel's leading commercial city."
People will apparently have to wait a little for significant innovations. The Super-Pharm chain will open its first outlet with its new concept in the mall, following a significant upgrade involving cooperation and advice from a French chain. For the first time, a Super-Pharm store will have display windows.
Zara is keeping its distance, but its younger sisters from the group will be there. The third branch in Israel of the Stradivarius chain will open in two weeks, and two other stores from the group will open on Thursday: Bershka and Pull&Bear. Another innovation belongs to the Foot Locker chain, whose first branch in Israel will cover 300 sq.m.
The food section of the mall is not ready yet, and will open only in another month. Instead of a food court, as it has been called in most of the group's malls, the new mall will follow the example of the Gindi TLV fashion mall with a change in concept. The section, called Mercado, is based on food stands instead of restaurants, in imitation of the trend toward food markets springing up all over.
Among the food stands to be opened in the mall are Avi Levy's Hamotzi restaurant, the Prime restaurant, and the Jack Buy Black fast food chain owned by Tzahi Bukshester's Black Bar 'n' Burger, in addition to chains such as Roladin, Aroma, Arcaffe, McDonald's, and Biga Cafe (part of the Greg Cafe chain).
Other innovations include the first Israeli branch of the H&M Home chain (another branch is being opened simultaneously in the Azrieli mall in Tel Aviv), which will be open on the mall's opening night. In addition, the Alpha group, importers of the Desigual brand, will open the first branch of the UK Superdry brand's chain of stores, which emphasizes sports fashions. The branch will have 350 sq.m. The chain has stores in 45 different countries.
The familiar brands will also be in the chain, including a 666-sq.m. Castro Model Ltd. (TASE: CAST) branch, branches of Fox-Wizel Ltd. (TASE: FOX) and Fox Home, and a branch of the Reebok sports equipment and clothing chain, which is setting up its first branch in an Israeli mall.
Toren says, "Our immediate market is from the nearby towns: Ness Ziona, Be'er Ya'akov, Rehovot, and of course Rishon Lezion. We're closer to these towns than the other current shopping malls, and the cake will be re-divided naturally."
Azrieli Group is planning to expand to other locations. It recently demolished the "Yedioth Ahronoth" building in Tel Aviv, and will use the site to add 10,000 sq.m. to its stock of commercial space, in addition to a fourth office building to be constructed on the premises.
Last May, Azrieli Group bought the Buy2 company for NIS 62 million, and then launched Azrieli.com, the mall's website. The fashion chains have not yet taken part in it, however, and are expected to do so, starting this June.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 15, 2017
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