Going to Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) is no longer just about picking up and dropping off your guests.
The visitors’ area, where entry is not restricted, now houses a brand new shopping cluster, with a host of tastefully curated shops.
The cluster opened a little over two months ago, and has already become a hangout for people en route to Nandi Hills, and couples going on a quick drive out of the city.
Called The Quad by BLR, the shopping area has a sit-out with benches, and is done up in bright colours---pink, red and blue.
Quad presumably stands for quadrangle, and the shopping area was formally inaugurated on February 19. Some outlets had opened business ahead of the inauguration, on Jan 1.
The airport authorities have taken care to make the space greener than before, adding vertical and flower gardens. The hut-shaped shops, made of bamboo, sell perfumes, jewellery, clothes, bags and toys. Among the other attractions are gourmet food and craft beer.
Brands like Superdry, Hidesign, Toyport by Lego, Auromonde, and Gajet Plaza have also set up shop here. Auromonde sells essential oils, incense sticks, stoles and such other gifting options from Auroville.
If you are looking for city souvenirs, you could try Bengaluru, a shop selling customised T-shirts, badges, books, pens and stationery.
The Quad is designed both for both shopping and dining, so it houses a host of restaurants: Barley & Grapes Café, Windmill Craftworks, Café Azzure, House of Kebabs, The Wok Shop, Burrito Boys, Doner & Gyros, Frozen Bottle, Great Foods of India, Wine Vault by Living Liquidz and Gourmet Food, Haagen-Dazs, Smoor, and Café Coffee Day. An MK Ahmed store stocks organic and gourmet products.
You can get a decent meal for two for about Rs 700, Metrolife found on a visit to The Quad.
The shopping area offers good variety: Among the 20 outlets, there are around 10 food and beverage outlets along with nine gift, souvenir outlets, and 1 gadget store. It also encourages flea markets, and has set aside a space for live performances.
A hexagonal structure in the middle of the quadrangle is mounted with five LED screens. The airport plans to use them for flight updates, promotions, and sports events.
The Quad is a lively sight at night but doesn’t have enough shade for people on sunny afternoons.
India’s No 3
Bengaluru’s KIA is the third busiest airport in India---after Delhi and Mumbai.
What you get
Green cover 60 percent
To retain the city’s green reputation, 60 percent of the land is dedicated to gardening and only 40 percent used commercially, he says. Most shops have gone eco-friendly by using discarded containers and bamboo in the construction. Paikray says the shopping area project took BIAL just three months to execute. “About 300 labourers worked day and night,” he says.
Stores are on short contracts
Why have some establishments, such as south Indian restaurant Maiyas, closed down?</p>
“Maiyas had a contract of five years and since that was done, they had to shut down,” he says.
For those looking for southern cuisine, a place called Ooru Canteen is coming up soon, according to Paikray.
It’s a temporary bazaar
Pravat Paikray, assistant vice president, commercial development, Bengaluru International Airport Ltd, says the shopping area is temporary and has come up in space meant for a second terminal. “Since the construction is estimated to take around 18-20 months to begin, we decided not leave the place idle,” he says.
Not just for air passengers
The new shopping area is not just for travellers. The main aim is to attract people from the city, he explains. “We have many people coming in from Electronics City just for an outing. Since it is the IPL season, we air matches on the LED screens,” he says.