After several delays and extensions of the opening date, City Mall Tel Aviv, owned by Blue Square Real Estate Ltd. (TASE: BLSR) (50%), Gindi Investments 1 Ltd. (TASE: GIND.B1) (25%), and Yigal Gindi (25%), has announced a partial opening of the TLV fashion mall on March 23, with only some of the stores going into operation.
The mall, located between Hahashmonaim Street, Menachem Begin Street, and Carlebach Street, is part of the Gindi TLV residential site. The site, which contains 11 buildings and is scheduled for occupancy in the coming months, was built on the ruins of the old wholesale market. The companies bought the land in 2010 from the wholesale market company, Tnuva Food Industries Ltd., and the Tel Aviv municipality for NIS 1 billion.
Designed by the Yasky Mor Sivan architectural firm, the mall has 33,000 sq.m. of commercial space, with 200 stores and stands and 3,000 parking places. Investment in the mall totals NIS 1.5 billion. According to a survey by the Geocartography Institute, over NIS 1.2 billion in annual proceeds is projected for the mall, with 40,000 visitors a day.
The center is branded as a fashion mall. It contains all the fashion chains, including the main branch of the H&M chain, Zara, Fox-Wizel Ltd. (TASE: FOX), Castro Model Ltd. (TASE: CAST), Factor 54, Forever21, and several international brands opening their first branches in Israel, such as the COS fashion chain, Dior Boutique, Zara Home, Rag & Bone, Juicy Couture, and Adidas Originals. Another store that will open in the mall is Super-Pharm, which closed its branch on the corner of Carlebach Street and Hahashmonaim Street a week ago.
Only some of the 180 stores scheduled to open in the mall will open in the first stage. On the launching night, the company promised that over 100 stores would be open. The main attractions, such as the COS and Zara Home branches, will not be open on the launching night; their opening is slated for early April.
The mall was originally scheduled to open close to Passover in 2015, but was postponed several times. According to Gindi TLV CEO Mordi Shabat, the delay was not due to difficulty in finding tenants for the stores. "The late opening of some of the stores resulted from demands by the chains' headquarters overseas, some of them merchants doing business in Israel for the first time, and some of which are undergoing a change in concept," he said, adding, "The engineering complexity of the project, which is part of a complex composed of public centers, not just a shopping center, involves a very difficult engineering challenge, and led to two postponements of the opening date. Rents are similar to the rates prevailing in the Azrieli and Ramat Aviv shopping malls."
Within the mall itself, there is no food area, except for a limited number of chains, including McDonald's and Aroma. In the mall's facade, on the other hand, cafes and restaurants selected for their Tel Aviv ambience are expected to open in an attempt to create a mall that will also attract the tenants in the surrounding towers and both Tel Aviv and non-Tel Aviv residents. Among the restaurants slated to open are familiar names, such as Zozobra, which is opening its first branch in Tel Aviv, a branch of Omer Miller's Susu and Sons, Tatti, and Cafe Europe. A Bistro restaurant and high-quality pizza store are also due to open, to be followed later by PopApp restaurants, in order to attract a Tel Aviv crowd, which usually spends less time at sites like Hatachana and Sarona.
No large supermarket will be opened in the mall, due to the relatively high rent there, but one is expected to open later outside it. Under the original plan, a branch of Mega, then owned by Alon Holdings Blue Square - Israel Ltd. (NYSE: BSI; TASE: BSI), was to have opened there, but this was ruled out, and alternatives are now being considered.
Shabat commented, "The sports center, which can be entered only through the mall, will be an anchor for the stores, and will ensure that people who do not usually spend time in malls will enter it, including at non-peak times." Shabat went one to say, "What will arise here is a mixture of commerce, residences, a park, and public buildings. What we have actually done is to bring Ramat Aviv Gimmel to central Tel Aviv. Azrieli Group Ltd. (TASE: AZRG) and Melisron Ltd. (TASE: MLSR) control the sector, but we'll bring something else here."
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 14, 2017
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