Mumbai’s next large business hub planned for western suburbs

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The Maharashtra Government is pushing for the development of a large-scale mixed-use development at the Oshiwara District Centre. This may lead to a boost for the real estate market here rather than entice companies to set up shop. After several initial obstacles and a remapping of strategies by the Government, the plans announced by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to establish a business district at Oshiwara seem to be back on track.

The business district initiative in the western suburbs has been fast tracked after a modification of a notification by the urban development department of the state for promoting mixed-user developments in Oshiwara. This routes half of the added FSI (Floor Space Index) for residential development. This modification took place in November, 2016, thereby clearing the decks for this project. According to the MMRDA Commissioner, U P S Madan, the Oshiwara District Centre (ODC) is a brown-field project and development will be based on the initiative that is being taken by present landowners. The state has decided to scale up FSI of up to 4 for commercial and up to 3 for residential use. He talked of how a positive response has been received from real estate developers for commercial and residential units at the location.

Madan also stated that taking the applications from interested owners and overall response into account, the ODC will get 20, 000 extra homes along with creating employment for a whopping 2.5 lakh people. The business enclave will be home to several BPO and IT units along with retail units, restaurants and shopping malls in tandem with entertainment industry offices. The added FSI is being bought through paying a premium of 60% of the land’s market value to the Government according to Madan.

The FSI is a tool for urban planning which is used for incentivizing development by the state. This is the ratio between the total size of the plot and the built up area and usually works as an indicator of how high a developer can build in case of a particular project. The plans for the ODC were almost trashed in 2016 after MMRDA informed that the state government that there was non-existent demand for commercial units in this proposed 102-hectare land parcel. The modification of the notification has changed things to good effect.

The state is hopeful of a transformation as far as Oshiwara is concerned while real estate developers anticipate a housing boom here based on this development. Already prices have gone up by almost 30% in comparison to the last year and prices range from Rs.15, 000 per sq. ft. onwards here. The mixed-user development will also bring a distinct flavor to the area which will be quite different from the majorly business oriented Nariman Point and Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC). With the Metro 2 corridor and new suburban railway station going through Oshiwara, connectivity will be excellent for this new business district according to MMRDA officials.