25,000 new homes in SoBo by 2015?

With Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan announcing an extra Floor Space Index (FSI) of three for cessed buildings on Friday, officials of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) are confident that it will lead to as many as 25,000 homes in South Mumbai in the next two and half years. They are expecting minimum 2,500 buildings would be redeveloped by 2015. These structures would not only have enough space to rehabilitate the existing residents but would also make space for transit camps. Even if every building puts up a minimum of 10 homes for sale, the number would automatically go up to 25,000. Consequently this would also scale down real estate prices.

According to MHADA officials, there are more than 14,000 cessed structures in the island city and most of them need urgent repairs or redevelopment. The housing authority had been pressurising the state government for more FSI as most cessed buildings are small. So they can’t be redeveloped as lower FSI is insufficient to accommodate existing tenants. It also makes it difficult for the builder to put up flats for sale to recover the cost and make profits.

Prasad Lad, chairman MHADA’s Repair and Reconstruction Board, said, “With a larger FSI, we expect the redevelopment of cessed buildings would expedite and in the next two years, we hope that at least 2,500 buildings would be redeveloped.”

He further added this redevelopment would bring in ample space for the existing tenants, transit camps and even salable flats. “With such high density of flats coming up in South Mumbai, the rates will come down,” said Lad.┬áMost of the cessed buildings are in C ward of Mumbai, which comprises Chira Bazaar, Kalbadevi and other areas. While MHADA officials couldn’t confirm which area would be developed first, they are guessing it would be Chira Bazaar as few years ago there were plans of redeveloping buildings in that vicinity and primary work had been done.

While MHADA authorities are hopeful about the future developments, experts are skeptical. They are of the opinion that this plan will borne fruit only if the government implements its policies well. Ashok Gulati, managing director of Sun Realty India, a real estate consultancy firm, said, “The intent is good but implementation is needed.┬áThe government should expedite the process or the redevelopment of cessed building will get delayed. Only when things are well planned such that major redevelopment can happen soon.”

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