The Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee has rejected a proposal to raze down the sea-facing Shelleys Hotel in Colaba to make way for a Hollywood-themed five-star hotel proposed by US-based chain Planet Hollywood.
Shubh Hospitality,the master franchisee of Planet Hollywood,had submitted the proposal to the heritage panel in May,seeking permission to demolish the four-storey Edwardian-style Shelleys Hotel. The 5,000-sq-m plot opposite Radio Club was then to be used for construction of a 22-storey luxury hotel.
Heritage committee chairperson D K Afzalpurkar said they have decided to turn down the proposal as the hotel is a listed Grade III A structure and therefore cannot be demolished unless unstable. All buildings along PJ Ramchandani Street have a particular character and a uniform height. The reconstruction as envisaged by Planet Hollywood does not fit into the heritage regulations.
The hotel chain had argued the height of the new structure would be the same as the new wing of Taj Mahal Hotel on the other end of the lane. But Afzalpurkar said,Tajs new wing was constructed way before the heritage norms came into effect. We have to stick to the regulations for any new structure. The committee can allow renovation of Shelleys Hotel as long as the façade is left intact,he said,
The hotels 40 seaview rooms have made it a favourite among backpackers coming to the tourist hub of Colaba. The 70-year-old hotel has been shut for three years since the plans were drawn up by Planet Hollywood.
The chain started in the 1990s with over 30 Hollywood celebrities including Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis,but most of its hotels worldwide shut over the years,barring 20 at places such as New York,Las Vegas,London and Dubai. In 2007,it announced plans to start five hotels in India beginning with Mumbai and followed by Delhi,Hyderabad,Goa and Bangalore.
Anup Pillai,director (project and development) for the US-based Shubh Hospitality,said the company has not yet received an official communication from the heritage panel. We are going ahead with our plans to construct a tower that will have a total 141 hotel rooms. It will be Indias first Planet Hollywood hotel and will have all the features of similar hotels internationally, said Pillai.
The company also has plans to set up a floating restaurant with a resto-bar,spa and coffee shops on a multi-deck ship anchored off the Gateway of India.
Pillai did not comment on the floating restaurant project which would be close to the naval base,saying it is awaiting clearance from the Defence Ministry.