Developer ZBS plans to begin construction on the first open-air mall in Bulgaria in March 2009, website investor.bg reported on November 10. The investment in the new shopping centre is estimated at 30 million euro.The Strand mall would be built on a six ha plot near the highway to Sofia, next to a Baumax hypermarket, currently under construction. The open-areas will be built like pedestrian streets and will be covered in bad weather.Initially planned to open in the summer of 2009, according to ZBS' website, the mall is now scheduled to begin operations in 2010, investor.bg reported.Designed by British architecture and interior design firm GMW, The Strand's retail areas will total 30 000 sq m, with another 8000 sq m of pedestrian walkways and 26 000 sq m of parking space.ZBS expects to attract at least 50 international retail chains and has said that it has already drawn interest from companies in leasing retail space. King Sturge was hired to handle all leasing operations.Open-air malls have returned to fashion after decades of neglect in the 1990s. With lower construction and maintenance costs, it made sense to build such a structure for business reasons, but also because Bulgaria's climate was mild, ZBS investment director Mariella Ostend said, as quoted by investor.bg.ZBS plans to build open-air malls in Haskovo and Pazardjik as well.