Christmas came early this year for Tbilisi’s shopaholics as the long-awaited Galleria Tbilisi Shopping Mall opened on schedule on 30 November, 2017.
It was a close run thing. Always scheduled for completion during Autumn/Fall 2017. the mall opened at 8pm on the last day of November – just four hours before the start of winter.
The huge crowds that gathered for the opening was a visible sign of how eagerly anticipated the launch of Tbilisi’s first international standard mall really was. While the city already has several good malls, they are all located on the peripheries of the city – Tbilisi Mall at the northern edge, with East Point and the recently launched Tbilisi Sea Plaza both to the east of the city. Galleria Tbilisi is as centrally located as it’s possible to get – being just a stone’s throw away from Liberty Square, right above the Metro station.
Tbilisi’s fashion-conscious buyers already had a ‘sneak peek’ at the mall on 18 November when leading Swedish fashion brand, H&M – which research back in 2015 determined to be the ‘most wanted’ retailer yet to open on the Georgian market – opened their flagship store in the mall, which covers an area of over 3000m2.
The opening of the remainder of the mall brings a whole host of other top international fashion brands to Tbilisi, including such famous names as Armani Exchange, Calvin Klein, Benetton, Guess, Trussardi, Lacoste and Karl Lagerfeld. Galleria Tbilisi is not just for fashionistas, however. Gadget freaks will be delighted that the mall also brings an official Apple Store to the city for the first time.
In addition to all of the shopping options, Galleria Tbilisi also offers entertainment facilities for the whole family, including the Griboedov and Liberty Theatres plus two cinemas and a large food court offering such outlets as McDonalds, KFC and Burger King. There is also a large Goodwill supermarket in the basement level. In total, the new shopping mall contains over 100 retail outlets set among 22,000m2 of space on five floors, with parking spaces for 308 cars on the lower ground level.
The opening ceremony was attended by Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, and Tbilisi’s new Mayor, Kakha Khaladze.
“The fact that there will be so many international brands represented speaks to the fact that there’s a high level of trust to Georgia as a country, and it has to be mentioned that 90% of products used in construction are produced in Georgia,” commented the Prime Minister at the ceremony.
Galleria Mall was originally an abandoned Soviet-era building, commonly known as the Univermagi building. Previously owned by the Dutch company, Doryphore Investment B.V., the project was purchased in April 2015 by the Georgian Co-Investment Fund – a $6 billion fund founded by former Prime Minister and billionaire tycoon, Bidzina Ivanishvili. Construction work on the project commenced in February 2016. Transforming the building into a state-of-the-art shopping centre represented an investment of $97 million and has brought an additional 800 new jobs to the city.