After Backbay Reclamation and Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC), Mumbai is set to get its third commercial business district. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has approved the plan to transform Wadala into the “commercial centre on the lines of the BKC”.
On September 16, the CM-led urban development department notified modification in the development control rules for the implementation of the move.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which was notified as the region’s special planning authority in 2005, has proposed to set up a business district over 64 hectares.
It was first set in motion in January last year, when the MMRDA’s directorial board, headed by the CM, sanctioned the proposal, which was later submitted to the government for approval.
Wadala was originally meant to be developed as an inter-state bus and truck terminus. But with several luxury residential and commercial projects coming up in central Mumbai, developers and land builders have long been eyeing the “Wadala truck terminus” land.
In June 2010, an empowered committee, under the chairmanship of then chief secretary, has first recommended that the shifting of the truck terminus and development of the region as a business district.
The proposed new business district will also be the first to be developed on the lines of the transit oriented development (TOD) model in Mumbai. Ironically, the Mumbai municipality, while formulating the city’s development plan, has opposed the TOD model, which advocates higher buildable area for plot near transportation facilities.
Public transportation in the area has been beefed up due to the Monorail service. The region is also to be serviced by a proposed Metro rail route. Further, the Mumbai Port Trust has proposed a revamp of its own land in the region, with a plan to convert it into a recreation and an entertainment hub.
The government has proposed “mixed use” in the new business district. While commercial development will be the mainstay as per the modified land use, residential construction will be permitted on a portion of plots in the region.
According to the government, the new location, once developed, will also provide MMRDA an additional source of income to fund big ticket infrastructure projects. The MMRDA has traditionally raised revenues through land leasing and monetisation. Sources, however, said height restrictions imposed on construction activity in the region, owing to its proximity to the airport, might affect the plan.
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