Interview with Mehmet Ayag, Chairman of the Board of JSC Metro Avrasya Georgia
– The next year a new big shopping mall will open in Batumi. What is the concept of this shopping mall and which segment do you focus on?
– As reported, Metro City project includes 464 residential apartments, 415 hotel suites, and the biggest casino in Georgia. A major part of residential apartments has been already sold and they will be put into exploitation in July 2016. Consequently, the shopping mall will also open in the same period. We make accents on tourists and residents in new apartments, the hotel guests. The affordable prices will also enable local residents to enjoy our services. Moreover, we have also resolved one of the main challenges in Batumi and we have organized a parking place for 310 automobiles.
Georgian citizens go to Turkey, namely, to Qemal Pasha, Khopa and Trabzon for doing shopping and they withdraw currency from Georgia. Therefore, we aim to strengthen the Georgian economy so as currency of local residents and the money tourists spend here remain in Georgia, not in foreign countries.
– The shopping mall will be located within Batumi and this is a good factor, but the Qemal Pasha Fair is also located near Batumi and you will have to offer sharp competition to this Fair, at the initial stage, to draw new clients. Do you plan to undertake any marketing or PR campaigns in this direction?
– Our company will enable tourists to enjoy the Ring Service. The last stop will be at the Metro City Forum shopping mall. Metro Forum is located in Batumi, at the very promising place and this location is favorable for both local residents and the whole country to enjoy better shopping mall services without crossing state borders.
Our company will provide weighty PR and marketing campaigns for popularizing the shopping mall.
I believe the Qemal Pasha Fair will have to compete with us, not we.
– What would you say about renting commercial spaces at the shopping mall? What percent have you already rented? Have you already achieved a final agreement with any famous brands?
– Let’s keep the names of the brands incognito, because we want to make a surprise to Batumi residents. I just confirm that we are conducting negotiations with the company that will be very popular in Georgia and that will have successful sales in this country.
We have already rented 65% of commercial spaces in the shopping mall. Negotiations are underway on the remaining 35% of the commercial spaces.
– Besides the brands that have been already represented in the Georgian market, do you conduct negotiations for attracting new ones?
– Naturally, we have contacted almost all famous international brands and negotiations are underway with them.
-Ajara is considered a seasonal resort, as a rule. Do you expect the due demand for the shopping mall services in unseasonal period? I mean various stores have oversaturated the city. Do you expect the shopping mall’s workload to be satisfactory in the autumn and winter periods?
– This is a good question. You have noted stores of various brands operate across Batumi. In rainy weather it is quite difficult to receive pleasure from doing shopping in Batumi Streets.
Our goal is to enable local residents to enjoy services of a variety of brands at the shopping mall, as well as various entertainment centers, such as: movie theater, restaurants with terraces, entertainment center for children, billiard and bowling centers, where people will spend the time jointly with friends and family members.
– How much is the rental per square meter, if not secret?
– The rental per square meter starts from 25 USD plus the VAT. The rental amount depends on the floor, space and location.
– Metro City is implementing a large-scale project in Batumi. What is the investment value of this shopping mall and in which period do you expect to return back the investments?
– Total value of the project exceeds 120 million USD. We also plan to expand our activities by implementing the Metro City Phase 2 project. Naturally, it is important for our company to return the investments, but the preference is given to creating stable job places and products for Batumi residents.