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Indian entrepreneur aims to open 'global mall' in Grand Rapids

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MANOJ MULKI / MANOJ MULKI
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A Grand Rapids Indian community member is working to open a global mall in the city.

Manoj Mulki, who has lived in the city for more than 20 years, said the idea came after he noticed the need for a "one-stop-shop" for Asian goods and services.

"We have a huge Indian and Asian American community, and there is not many things to put together a one-stop-shop. If you have to buy one thing you have to go one corner, then to another corner," he explained.

Mulki purchased 3.7 acres inside Centerpoint Mall, where the 200,000 square foot global mall will sit, near 2525 Lake Eastbrook Blvd. The construction and real estate developer hopes to fill the building with between 80 and 100 shops, many of which he hopes are existing local businesses.

"If it's in one place, there's a lot of traffic. People will come just for one thing and then end up getting other things. First my preference is to connect with local businesses owners to come and move into this mall and do their business from there, because it's more exposed.  to connect, more exposed," Mulki said.

Mulki said his goal is to have the mall include grocery stores, a movie theatre, fast food or restaurants, an indoor sports area and a free community center. The building will also honor the Hindu God, Shiva, with a 30-foot statue, one of the largest of its kind in the country.

While Mulki will own the mall, he said it will ultimately belong to the community, adding that its purpose is to serve as an area for cultural celebration and education.

"Show the people hey this is our culture. We're Indian or we're Asian. We have different things we do, so come and celebrate with us," he explained.

The project is awaiting permits for demolition and construction work. Mulki said he hopes to unveil the mall by the beginning of 2023.