Basant Lok, Ansal Plaza: Once tony marketplaces, now falling on hard times

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Ansal Plaza mall might have been one of the first to open in Delhi but has seen a steady decline over the years with office spaces taking over merchandise shops. Ansal Plaza mall might have been one of the first to open in Delhi but has seen a steady decline over the years with office spaces taking over merchandise shops.
SummaryBefore advent of malls, Delhi's brand and fashion-conscious flocked to these places.

things might improve,” Das says.

Unlike in Basant Lok, traders say civic agencies are making efforts to keep the place neat and clean. “The lighting and general upkeep have improved. Pavements have been re-laid. While improvement on this front is slow, at least it’s happening,” a trader says.

But broken fountains and a general lack of cleanliness is still visible all around. Once frequented by rich customers, traders say now the address only draws middle-class crowd, especially from nearby areas.

Ansal Plaza

It was one of the first malls to open in Delhi. Its prime location in the heart of South Delhi made it an instant hit, especially with cultural events organised in its amphitheatre. But over the years, like Basant Lok and Anupam complex, people have given this mall a miss altogether. With several merchandise and retail stores shutting down, the mall now has offices functioning out of it. Shopkeepers claim they are struggling to make ends meet.

Gagandeep Singh, Chief Operating Officer (malls), Ansal API, says, “Ansal Plaza was launched in 1999 and enjoyed the status of being the most successful mall for almost a decade. Every product has a life-cycle.

With more malls opening in the vicinity, there is definitely a rationalisation of footfalls,” he says.

Office space seems to outrun the number of merchandise shops in the mall. The ground and first floors still have Shoppers Stop, McDonald’s, Meena Bazaar, Lacoste, Red Tape etc., besides two liquor shops. By evening, with most office-goers leaving, the mall wears an empty look. “The mall was designed as a retail-cum-office centre with retail on the ground and first floors and offices on the two upper floors. This was done to retain perennial footfalls. With time, the rental for office space in South Delhi has seen good growth, which resulted in investors leasing the spaces to offices,” he adds.

In order to revive the mall, a new strategy is being worked out. “A new strategy is being worked out for the mall by using the new concepts of zoning, segmentation, food court, a resto bar etc. This will boost footfalls and also offer a fresh experience to visitors,” Gagandeep says.

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