180 degree turn for 360 MALL



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The property management company in Kuwait – Tamdeen Mall Management – manages 1.45 million sq. ft of retail real estate for the Tamdeen shopping centers in Kuwait. Tamdeen Mall Management is associated with every stage of development of a property.

Avijit Yadav, CEO, Tamdeen Mall Management, Kuwait, gives exclusive details to ‘Coliseum’ at the recently held Coliseum Online Week MENA as regards his company pulling off an ambitious arena project in Kuwait notwithstanding the fact that they are total greenhorns when it comes to the arena business – some food for thought.

Terming it as an “incredible story”, Avijit Yadav says that they started off as a luxury mall but in February 2020 they graduated to lifestyle destination by adding lot of components to their project.

With a unique vision, 360 MALL has been created to simply redefine the meaning of luxury shopping in Kuwait. Inspired by renowned shopping destinations as well as the local culture of Kuwait, 360 MALL embodies the finest of luxury brands, all within a unique ambiance.

In the year 2009, a top official of Tamdeen Mall Management was looking out of his office window and wondering how the recession had brought to a complete standstill the tennis facility right outside their mall. And from there generated a big business idea.

Revealed Yadav, “The Government had given this land to a private entity to build a tennis facility and also the offices of the Kuwait Tennis Federation. But from 2009 to the next five to six years there was simply no activity happening in that facility. And then suddenly we discovered that there was a bidding going on and our Chairman immediately decided to go to the authorities with a plan of just not looking at this venue as a tennis stadium but also we built in other components into it.”

The 360 MALL opened in July 2009. The new development envisioned a retail space, a hotel, indoor sports, an arena and a car park. And the whole development required cash injection and Yadav stated that they had put in around a million dollars in design.

Yadav further informed that they started in 2009 with the 360 MALL and when they finished in February 2020, the following components were there and everything within the whole development is very well connected:

  • Shaikh Jaber Al Abdullah Al Jaber Al Sabah International Tennis Complex – “It was mandatory, that was the branding because it is a Government requirement,” stated Yadav;
  • Offices of the Kuwait Tennis Federation;
  • Rafa Nadal Academy, Kuwait,
  • 360 MALL;
  • Arena Kuwait, that is the branding; and
  • Grand Hyatt.

 

360 MALL

Yadav puts in, “360 is a beautiful mall, very luxurious. Though the mall was built more than 11 years back, but it still looks in a mint condition due to very high maintenance. Italian marbles and exquisite chandeliers adorn the mall and boast high-end brands. Painters were brought from Italy to paint the columns of the mall. A lot of attention has been given to details while building the mall. We have taken motifs from the region to make sure that people understand that this is a structure in the Middle East and not really some place in Europe.”

Added Avijit, “We have a vertical garden in the mall with a restaurant precinct. With sustainability as the main theme, we have a total of 1,700 species of plants which grow on the walls of the mall. The mall also boasts luxury anchors and a food court. Olive trees have been planted to beat the harsh climate of Kuwait. Vertical walls have been extended to run throughout the mall.”
 

Rafa Nadal Academy Kuwait

Yadav shared that this facility was started in February 2020 but had to close down soon thereafter as COVID-19 struck the world with full force – “We opened again in October 2020. It is doing really well. We have eight indoor and outdoor tennis courts. It’s got a beautiful facility – very well appointed and designed. They have their own gym with a swimming pool and their own training facilities and a sports shop.”

The Rafa Nadal Academy is a 1,600-capacity outdoor stadium enjoying eight outdoor tennis courts, eight indoor tennis courts, training center, fitness center, school programs, and camps.
 

The Arena Kuwait

The Arena Kuwait is expected to open in December 2021. Shared Yadav, “We really got into ‘The Arena Kuwait’ business without really being arena operators. The arena was built with CRTKL and they had a lot of sub-designers and contractors. The seating came from Spain and the capacity of the arena is 5,000 and 12 seats in tennis mode and when it is in other mode we have around 5,008 seats in the arena. The main entrance to the arena is actually from the mall or the streets. We have 16 VIP boxes that can accommodate around 10 people each. The Arena has got a size – when all the seats are extended – of around 1,144 square meters on the floor and when the seats are retracted, it is around 3,763 square meters. So, it is a fairly large capacity arena and one can see the connection from the Arena into the mall.”
 

Grand Hyatt Kuwait

He informed that another component the Grand Hyatt is still under construction and is expected to open in October or November 2021. The ballroom in this swanky hotel can accommodate 2,000 people – “Our Arena has got a capacity of 5,000 and it actually connects very well to the ballroom. So, when we open up the doors between the arena and the ballroom, we actually have a facility that can accommodate 7,000 visitors in one location. Massive doors in the Grand Hyatt open up to the arena. We also have retractable seating, so when you pull the seating back and you open those doors and you also open the ballroom doors and the foyer, you have a very large venue.”
 

Kuwait Tennis Federation

“We have the offices of the Kuwait Tennis Federation in this location and again we have built some beautiful offices for them. So, this in a sense, we have an arena on which we have no expertise. So, we built the arena and built the retail around that,” he continued.

Yadav further pointed out, “We are really not into the sports business and we had to really get into this. We are into the shopping center business but we ended up with a building with a 5,000-capacity. It is not necessarily a tennis stadium. Tennis is only going to be played in the main arena for 15-20 days in a year but it is a multipurpose arena where other sports like basketball, boxing, ice skating, shows like ‘Disney on Ice’ can be held. We are also hoping to attract big-ticket events because there is no other facility in Kuwait which boasts a capacity of 5,000.”

He concluded by stating, “Since we are not experts in managing arenas we have handed over the management of the arena to US-based Live Nation Entertainment – global leaders in organizing events. So, they have a business plan and they execute that plan in the arena. We had actually estimated starting of around between 65 to 100 events in a year and so there is going to be all kinds of events – small events, large events. We were planning for the arena to get on to the celebrity circuit which is Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Dubai, Singapore, Japan and back to the United States. But, now with the pandemic, we do not know where that plan is going to go.”

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