The chaos of 'India's priciest retail space'

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spc one square meter new delhi khan market_00011714

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Story highlights

  • Khan Market in New Delhi is India's most expensive retail space
  • More than 10,000 shoppers flock to Khan Market every day

(CNN)At first glance, the bustling Khan Market in New Delhi may seem like any other shopping space in India's vibrant capital city.

Stray dogs saunter along cracked pavements while loose electrical wires droop overhead.
    But first looks can often be deceiving.
    This dusty and popular bazaar is the most expensive retail space in all of India and among the priciest anywhere in the world, according to research carried out by real estate experts Cushman and Wakefield.
    Average rent here is more than $200 per square meter a month ($2,100 per sq foot) -- far more than the average Indian's monthly income.

    Home to luxury

    The transformation of the market from being a place for local businesses to a haven for big brand names has taken place "over the last 10 to 15 years," said Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director of real-estate firm CBRE New Delhi.
    Khan Market originally emerged as a shopping district for Pakistani refugees from the late 1940s.
    But what once used to be a site populated predominantly by grocers and clothing merchants has today been transformed into a buzzing area that features many of the trappings of a western mall: spas, luxury boutiques and high-end restaurants.
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    "Today if any luxury brand wants to come to India or to New Delhi, they want to be here because it gives them [the] highest end of the market," Magazine said. "It gives them exposure to the high net worth individuals."
    For Delhiites to buy or sell here is now also a status symbol.
    "Rich people who have money want to be seen in Khan Market," said Deepal Marwah, a local business owner.

    New Delhi's hippest district

    Khan Market has another key advantage, however -- its proximity to India's political elite.
    "Since Khan Market is the closest market to the parliament, the members of parliament, bureaucrats and (embassy staff come here)," Marwah said. "This market is frequently flocked by these VIP people of India."
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    Yet while it may be posh, Khan Market is also poorly maintained -- open sewers are a common site while traffic and parking is chaotic.
    For Magazine, however, not even these cracks in the facade can dampen the enthusiasm for the city's hippest district.
    "If you look at the environment around it's not that great but the fact is that the choices are very limited and it's just the place to be now," Magazine said.
    Affluent Delhiites still flock to Khan Market, with some 10,000 shoppers coming here every day.
    And as India gets richer and fuller, this footfall looks set only to grow.