Mumbai: MMRDA wakes up to market potential of prime Wadala land

The town planning authority had earlier sub-leased around 18 hectares of prime land in Wadala to transport associations to de-congest south Mumbai; since the area has now become prime real estate, MMRDA wants around 9 hectares back, and is trying to finalise a deal with the transport bodies

Here's another example of the myopic view of the city’s town planning authority. In the 1990s, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Develo-pment Authority (MMRDA) had allotted nearly 19 hectares of land on sub-lease to the Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA) and MAHASANGH (Maharashtra Rajya Truck, Tempo, Tanker and Bus Vahatuk Mahasangh), which are transporters’ associations.

The Wadala Truck Terminus is currently occupying prime real estate. Pic/Shadab Khan
The Wadala Truck Terminus is currently occupying prime real estate. Pic/Shadab Khan

Now, MMRDA wants around 9 hectares back from the associations. The reason for this rethink is because when the plot was allotted nearly two decades ago, Wadala, despite being in central Mumbai, was not a prime destination, but has now witnessed extensive development, making the MMRDA want to cash in.

Projects like the Monorail and Eastern Freeway, along with the upcoming Metro routes, have made this area a business hub with huge potential. The main aim behind granting the land to transport associations was to decongest south Mumbai, and make it pollution-free and the MMRDA had given the land to the transport associations for a mere Rs 3,000 per square meter.

Now, according to sources in the MMRDA, the authority is eyeing almost half of the total 18 hectares (9 hectares) and, going by current market rates, the area would have a market potential of R1,200-1,400 crore.

MMRDA speak
“The area of the plot on which they (transporters) should have constructed has not been finalised yet, as some of the members have also gone to court. The area occupied by BGTA-MAHASANGH at Wadala is around 18-19 hectares and the present FSI (Floor Space Index) is 4, but the FSI consumed by them is 0.8 or 0.9.

At present, the Project Management Consultant appointed by us to prepare a plan will calculate all the things which will also include the FSI that has been consumed. We will also check how many of the buildings have been completed, how many are under construction, etc, and only after we take all these into account will we come to know the exact FSI that has been consumed,” said Anil Wankhede, deputy metropolitan commissioner (Lands & Estate), MMRDA. Sources indicated that MMRDA also has plans to move the truck terminus out of Wadala.

Prime land
According to Prakkash Rohira, a real estate consultant, the current rate in Wadala for land is nearly R15,000 per sq ft. MMRDA is eyeing a market potential of around Rs 1,400 crore from this 9-hectare plot, and this does not take into account the higher FSI of 4 that’s available in this area.

MMRDA is the designated planning authority of the Wadala area, and it controls 109 hectares of land in all in this locality. Out of this total figure, 27-28 hectares is designated saltpan land. MMRDA has 82 hectares of land remaining.

It has already allotted almost half of this land (to the BGTA-Mahasang for the Wadala Truck Terminus; to the Lodha Group for construction of a residential township; and the Monorail depot has come up in the balance area). Now, looking at the rising property rates in the area, MMRDA wants to cash in, by either leasing or selling out the plots.

Meetings, meetings
On April 22, 2015, a joint meeting between BGTA, MAHASANG, MMRDA and the consultant appointed for preparation of the master plan for the Wadala Notified Area was convened under the chairmanship of the Additional Metropolitan Commissioner.

The main aim of the meeting was to work out the possibilities of relocating the BGTA and MAHASANGH buildings into a single plot for optimum utilisation of land. On Wednesday, a meeting took place between BGTA-MAHASANG members and Metropolitan Commissioner UPS Madan at the MMRDA headquarters at BKC and details are awaited on the outcome.

After the April meeting, MMRDA had given a couple of options for relocation to BGTA and MAHASANG. Either the associations will be provided a single plot on which they will be permitted to construct the equivalent of the built-up area which they currently occupy, or the associations will be provided constructed premises of equivalent existing built-up area on a single plot by MMRDA.

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