Navi Mumbai’s first mall, Center One, will down its shutters today. While most shops in the mall have already closed, the remaining ones were seen packing up yesterday. However, according to the mall management, this is only a temporary closure and they claimed they will return in a new form after two years.
Center One in Vashi opened in 2003. The mall’s management said they are closing it down for modifications and will return in a new avatar in two years. Pics/Sameer Markande
Employees at several shops on the premises were seen closing their establishments. Bhagesh Jadhav, who worked with the Pantaloons outlet in the mall, said Tuesday (today) is his last working day. “I will shift to some other location as the store has assured me a job in another outlet,” he said. Fahim Ali, the store manager, said they would move to Kharghar.
Razi Khan, an attendant at apparel store Tomato, said his shop would shift to nearby Raghuleela Mall. “This was the favourite hangout for the people of Navi Mumbai. Despite being smaller, it was one of the best malls in the locality,” said Khan.
The mall opened to the public in 2003 and local residents were upset with the news and said they were attached to the place. Anu Kohli, a regular visitor of Center One, told this paper, “I have come here one last time before it closes. This was the first mall to have all branded stores. It doesn’t feel good to see it shut down,” she said.
Riddhi Thakkar, another resident of Vashi, recalled, “I remember pestering my dad for an entire week to take me to Center One, as most of my friends had visited that place and I did not want to be the last one. Center One was the first ever mall I visited.
I have a lot of fun memories associated with it. Today, at the age of 21, I have that sinking feeling of losing my childhood get-together place.” If the mall management is to be believed, there is still a silver lining. Deepak Thakkar, the mall manager, said, “We are closing down for modifications.
The mall will open soon; within two years’ time, it will be a new, changed mall.” When mid-day specifically asked him if the arrival of Inorbit Mall in 2008 was the reason why the mall had decided to close, he refused to comment on the issue.
There are three malls near Vashi railway station, all of whom are facing troubled times; Center One will shut down today. mid-day had earlier reported that shopkeepers at the neighbouring Raghuleela mall saw a similar future for themselves, since footfalls have drastically reduced and business has greatly dwindled.
Inorbit is facing legal trouble as the Bombay High Court has asked the developer to return the entire plot on which the mall and the adjacent Four Points hotel are built, saying CIDCO had “irregularly allotted” the 31,000 square-metre plot to the firm.