Steering what would be one of Mumbai’s biggest redevelopment projects in the island city, the Maharashtra government is in the process of finalising two developers for the metamorphosis of the century-old Bombay Development Directorate (BDD) chawls. The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada), the state’s nodal authority for the redevelopment projects, has chosen Larsen & Toubro to redevelop the BDD chawls at Naigaon, Dadar, and Shapoorji Pallonji Group for the BDD chawls at NM Joshi Marg, Lower Parel. The two developers were the lowest bidders for the two projects, respectively, in a three-month-long bidding process.
The BDD chawls were developed by the British in the 1920s as a low-cost housing solution for the city. There are 207 such chawls spread across about 37 hectare in four areas – Worli, Sewri, NM Joshi Marg and Naigaon. About 12,327 families live in these 160-sqft houses. The state government has, for now, initiated the much-delayed redevelopment for two of the four sites through Mhada.
Yielding more than 3,000 additional houses for sale, the redevelopment of these chawls will lead to the creation of one of the largest stocks of low-cost housing in the space-starved island city, besides the units required for rehabilitating existing eligible occupants. While real estate prices in these areas can be more than Rs30,000 a sqft, Mhada will sell these in its draw of affordable houses at a significant discount to the market price.
SS Zende, vice president and chief executive of Mhada, said, “Both the developers had put in bids for both projects. Incidentally, Larsen & Toubro was the lowest bidder for the Naigaon site and Shapoorji Pallonji for the NM Joshi Marg site. The work will involve not just redeveloping the chawls and rehabilitating existing tenants, it also involves creation of on-site and off-site infrastructure such as roads, open spaces, landscaping and so on.”
He said Mhada hopes to start the actual construction in a month, after formally inaugurating the project in the presence of the chief minister. The developers will implement the projects on a cash contract model, getting regular payments in instalments for the work completed. The state government has given developers seven years to complete the projects.
It was initially concerned whether the BDD chaws redevelopment will gather interest among developers after its recent attempts at getting the decade-old Dharavi revamp project failed, with developers shying away amid a tepid real estate market.
As part of the redevelopment of the Naigaon chawls, Mhada tentatively plans to build four buildings with 60 floors each for the sale component. The houses will be built either for the higher-income groups, those with a monthly income of at least Rs75,000, or middle-income groups, which includes those who earn between Rs50,000 and Rs75,000 a month. The housing authority will also build a 20-storey commercial building as part of the sale component. Besides, 20 buildings with 19 to 23 floors will accommodate existing residents of the BDD Naigaon chawls.
The redevelopment of the chawls at NM Joshi Marg will yield four sale buildings of 47 floors each – two for higher-income groups and two for middle-income groups. There will also be a 14-storey commercial tower. Besides, 14 buildings of 22 floors each will be built to house existing tenants.