Taximen's colony gears up for huge redevelopment deal

Jan 17, 2013, 07:12 IST | Varun Singh

While an agreement worth Rs 1,100 crore fell through in 2008, sources say a similar sum may be offered this time and preliminary preparations may be concluded in the next 8-9 months

It’s called the Bombay Taximen’s Colony, but only about one per cent of the present residents are cab drivers. However, the misnomer doesn’t alter the fact that this society in Kurla is a prime piece of real estate. The colony that came into existence in 1972 was inaugurated by then trade union leader George Fernandes.

The Bombay Taximen’s Colony at Kurla is very close to the Mithi River and falls under the Coastal Regulation Zone. The colony has 686 apartments including 30 shops. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

The society comprising 686 apartments, including nearly 30 shops, was almost sold in 2008 to a developer for about Rs 1,100 crore. Now, the wheels are in motion yet again, and while people associated with the redevelopment are tight-lipped about the price tag, sources claim that the rate would exceed the previously bargained figure.

The society is situated off LBS Marg and next to Bandra-Kurla Complex. According to realty industry sources, in 2008 after an agreement had almost been reached certain members’ objections led to its dissolution. “This is the second largest society after Navjeevan.

We expect to get a developer in three months. Either the whole society could be vacated and the plot handed over to the builder, or redevelopment may be carried out. Everything should be finalised within eight to nine months,” said Nirmal Jain of Avon Projects, the consultant firm for the venture.

We got the general secretary of Mumbai Taximen’s Union AL Quadros to speak about the society that was once home to hundreds of cab drivers of the city. “In 1969, we began construction and in 1972 the colony was ready. We had given 1-BHK flats to taxi drivers for Rs 18,000 each. We had taken a loan from LIC,” he said.

However, Quadros says one mistake was not including a clause making the flats non-transferable, and even if someone sold a flat it should have only been to a taxi driver. “Hardly one per cent of the more than 600 flats are occupied by taxi drivers. The rest have been sold to people from outside the community,” said Quadros.

Meanwhile, brokers claim that the rate that was offered for the society in 2008 was an inflated one, and the area where the plot is doesn’t deserve such high rates. However, as already an offer had been made and since rules pertaining to FSI and DCR have changed since then, these aspects would also have an effect on the sale.

Realtor Prakkash Rohera said, “Estimating the plot price is difficult in this area especially with the modified rules. However, the price would be close to the one offered last time.”

Jain says that the plot, being close to Mithi River, falls under Coastal Regulation Zone and the FSI has already been utilised. “There are many tenants who are ready to leave the society accepting money, so by exploiting the incentive FSI a builder can come up with good commercial centre or hotel apart from residential property,” he said.

The year in which the Taximen’s Colony was inaugurated by then trade union leader George Fernandes

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