There's no doubt that Thailand loves its malls, just look where all the traffic is heading on the weekends. In Pied Piper-esque fashion, cars line up one by one following the trail of the music issuing from our malls . . . who could blame us, it's damn hot outside.
Mallers (that's a neologism) will be pleased to know Chiang Mai will soon be home to very different kind of mall, a "totally different mall experience" as Tjeert Kwant, CEO of Dutch Property conglomerate ECC, exclaimed to Citylife. In late 2011 the international brand mall, Promenada, will be opening its doors on the Ban Sahakorn Road that links the super Highway and the second ring road, close to the Sankampaeng turn off after you pass Big C.
ECC, formed in 1991, has already developed several shopping malls in central Europe investing over 350 million dollars, and they plan to invest a massive 88.5 million US dollars in the Chiang Mai project. The BOI (Board of Investment) Thailand, has given the group tax breaks while ECC's Promenada will create thousands of jobs during the construction of the mall and of course for the ongoing running of the mall. They are currently investing in new markets in South East Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. The other investment in Asia will be called 'Promenada@Canary' which will be in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam, a project not unlike the one we will have in Chiang Mai.
So what can we expect from our new mall?
Kwant, who is now living in Bangkok with his family, explained that Promenada is nothing like the average six floor mall experience. He explained that going to the Promenada is something like a "shopping resort feeling" where everything is on two floors and very spread out. "An entertainment indoor and outdoor experience" he says, adding that the shops themselves will be a mix of local, Thai and international products. "Its design, combined with atmosphere, will attract people to come for the experience as well as to enjoy its features. It will be attractive for sophisticated shoppers, and definitely for foreigners."
The mall will take up about 75,000 sqm of space, much of it for entertainment purposes, not just shopping outlets. Kwant explains that wining and dining is important to the experience, too, and says that as well as food courts there will be a selection of specialty restaurants, "where you can eat inside and outside, al fresco with shaded dining." The group is strongly considering a cinema complex, though that may come later in the future.
Kwant, who says he loves living in Thailand, has visited Chiang Mai on many occasions, and has only good things to say about the city. "You think of Chiang Mai, you think of nature, friendliness, of the colour green . . . we have designed the mall to fit with this." Even though the Promenada malls in other counties, notably Warsaw, Poland, will be similar - if you want a sneak preview - the Chiang Mai Promenada will still be unique, as Kwant explains, "it will be a Chiang Mai Promenada experience."
For more information contact:
Walaiklao Kumwong/Paul Dermont
ECC Group's Press Information Service
Tel: 02 233 4329/30, 02 233 4338/39