Metro’s retail spaces vacant

Deccan Chronicle.  | Naveena Ghanate

Nation, Current Affairs

Retail spaces were expected to bring about a change in the commuters’ lifestyle by allowing commuters to be able to shop conveniently.

stations were supposed to have food courts, supermarkets and entertainment zones (Photo: Representational Image/PTI)

Hyderabad: Even 11 months after the inaugural of the Miyapur-Nagole Metro Rail corridor, retail spaces remain vacant in several stations, including the busy Miyapur, KPHB, JNTU, LB Nagar, Uppal, and Secunderabad East.

There are no immediate signs of prospective retailers either. Most of the stations have only bakeries and general stores, with large empty spaces at the entry-exit retail areas.

Ameerpet is the only station where retail spaces have been sold considerably. This makes all claims made earlier stating majority bookings had been already done in the stations, as completely false. As for the newly inaugurated LB Nagar-Ameerpet stretch, retail kiosks are yet to be set up.

Retail spaces were expected to bring about a change in the commuters’ lifestyle by allowing commuters to be able to shop conveniently. Stations have been categorised as typical, special and interchanging. L&THMR categorised stories into retail, F&B and service.

As part of retail, the stores expected to come up at the stations include convenience, grocery, vegetable, daily needs and accessory stores, while as part of food and beverages, quick service restaurants, large format food courts are expected, while services category include ATMs, medical stores, laundry centres etc.

There are 54 stations which are typical with retail area spanning from 1,000 sq. ft-2,500 sq. ft. These are available at the entry-exit points and station area boxes. A pharmacy chain called Medplus is the only one which has started and has an outlet at the entry-exit level which can be accessed by both commuters and people visiting the stations in search of a chemist.

At the station entry area box, Zest and Brisk Bites are the two common stores set up across stations, apart from Ola and Pulse weight kiosks. These boxes are 100 sq. ft -350 sq. ft. A salesperson at a franchise of Brisk Bites which sells quick snacks including samosas and puffs amongst other snacks said, “We are spread across all the stations. Such kiosks will be made available even in the LB Nagar-Ameerpet corridor.”

The station area boxes will house pharmacies, gift shops, mobile stores, laundries, bookstores, convenience stores, stationery and photocopying stores. Some of the stations already have ATMs, a vending machine for soft drinks, water and are equipped with public toilets.

The other category of stations is Interchange and special stations which have retail spaces ranging from 10,000 sq. ft. to 40,000 sq. ft with store sizes ranging from 1,500 sq. ft to any size. Currently there are three interchange stations namely Ameerpet, Parade Ground and MGBS. The interchange station is supposed to have large food courts, supermarkets, entertainment zones, florists, retail spaces and electronics stores where mobile phones, accessories and computer peripherals will be available. While MGBS is yet to become operational, the Parade Ground station has all its retail stores empty.

The four special stations at Hitec City, Punjagutta, Raidurgam and Begumpet will have food courts, supermarkets and entertainment zones in addition to the amenities available at typical stations. Begumpet which is the only special station functional now has nothing special about it. Only occasionally have special stalls been set up in it.

An official pointed out that the existing stores are doing well in terms of revenue, but for other retail spaces it is going to be a wait and watch scenario. He said, “Station retail primarily depends on footfalls. We need to reassess the station retail scenario completely as we are expecting large crowds as each corridor becomes operational. With the increasing number of commuters, even the entire outlook of the retailers would change.”