May 21, 2015 4:03:53 am
Cash-strapped Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has proposed constructing luxury service apartments on a sea-facing plot that it owns at Napean Sea Road to monetise the land parcel and bring in a steady stream of cash flow.
Towards this end, the MSRDC has, in its proposal sent to the chief minister, sought an unprecedented floor space index (FSI) of 9 for the project to be executed on a build-operate-transfer basis or on a public-private partnership model.
An MSRDC official said, “Service apartments will work well here considering it is a premium location and there aren’t many such options in south Mumbai. The chief minister had verbally said earlier this year that this option can be considered. The project was first planned about five years ago, but did not work out because the entire plot does not have a property card yet since the land was reclaimed later.”
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MSRDC was handed the 66,844 sq ft plot next to the Priyadarshini Park by the state government in 1998.
The land is reclaimed and falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-2, which refers to areas developed up to or close to the shoreline.
The project was originally conceived in 2009 to raise funds for the Worli-Haji Ali and Haji Ali-Nariman Point sea links, whose fate is now uncertain.
As per documents accessed under the Right to Information Act, Bipin Shrimali, then managing director of MSRDC, wrote to the municipal commissioner of the BMC in September 2011 requesting additional FSI citing Development Control Rules (DCR) of 1967 that allow higher FSI on CRZ lands for hotels, educational and healthcare institutions.
“The plot will be developed as a service apartment cum luxury hotel similar to Taj Wellington Mews, Colaba, Mumbai. We therefore request you to grant the additional FSI of 8.71 over and above the permissible FSI of 1.33, totaling to FSI of 10.04,” Shrimali said in the letter said. Taj Wellington Mews is a 14-storey tower with 80 luxury serviced apartments.
As per a rough plan that the MSRDC drafted in 2010 though its architect, the corporation had proposed a total built-up area 5,11,360 square feet of which 4,71,360 square feet would be for the service apartments and the rest for MSRDC’s use.
The construction involves three parking basements, three floors for MSRDC comprising an entrance lobby and offices. Further, six more levels will accommodate an entrance lobby, lounge, restaurant, kitchen, a health club, swimming pool and 189 service apartments.
The total construction area was working out to be 14.92 lakh square feet, of which 12.17 lakh square feet was the salable area. At current prices, the salable area would be worth a minimum of Rs 9,700 crore at modest estimates.
Calculating the cost of construction to be Rs 1,714.75 crore, the plan called for a premium of Rs 2,500 crore due to the MSRDC.
A state government official requesting anonymity said the project might not be granted such a high FSI as the government is batting for a uniform set of DC Regulations as opposed to the current two sets – DCR 1967 for CRZ lands and DCR 1991 for other areas.
Anil Diggikar, managing director of MSRDC, said the corporation is still working on a final proposal.
“We are currently taking stock of our entire land bank, including that on the Napean Sea Road and along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, to explore the possibilities, hurdles, and will accordingly put up a concrete proposal,” he said.
MSRDC’s project is being nudged ahead at a time when several private sea-front projects stand delayed due to CRZ norms and restrictions on construction. The re-building of Bandra’s landmark Sea Rock Hotel which was hit during the 1993 serial blasts has been stuck since 2009 and is still awaiting environmental clearance. The state government had approved FSI of 5.5 for the project.
Similarly, a project by real estate firm Hubtown at the defunct Hindustan Mills property in Prabhadevi, also on CRZ land, was stalled since 2007 until the coast along Mahim was redefined as a “bay,” paving the way for clearances for the project.
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