The official governor’s bungalow at Malabar Hill, a heritage structure, might be rebuilt as a swank new home, complete with a gym and a terrace overlooking the Arabian Sea.
Jal Bhushan, the office and official residence of the governor, is to be rebuilt at a cost of about Rs 20 crore if the Mumbai Conservation Heritage Committee (MHCC) clears it.
According to the proposal submitted to the MHCC by the Public Works Department (PWD), the ground-plus-one structure is weak and must be pulled down to make way for a new two-storey structure.
While the current mansion is spread over 17,000 sq ft, the new structure is planned at over 37,000 sq ft.
The governor’s residence was officially moved from Parel (the current Haffkine Institute) to Malabar Hill in 1885.
The mansion was built in 1868.
“More than six structural audits by the Indian Institute of Technology have shown that due to corrosion and seepage, the mansion is unsafe and needs to be pulled down,” said Bipin Sankhe, the Public Works Department’s chief architect.
“We have asked for a site visit to see the building and the extent of damage before any decision is taken,” said Dinesh Afzalpurkar, chairman, MHCC.
The mansion currently houses the governor’s office, a conference room, dining area, an office for the governor’s personal staff, and the governor’s residence.
The proposed structure will have a basement, ground floor, first floor and a second floor.
“The mansion itself is not a heritage structure, but it lies inside the heritage precinct of Raj Bhavan, a grade-II B structure,” said a PWD official requesting anonymity. Currently furnished with exquisitely carved doors and French furniture, the new structure is to have security monitoring rooms and central air-conditioning.
“The ground floor will have offices for the governor and his wife, his personal assistant, a state-of-the-art conference room and a library, apart from a waiting area and a kitchen,” added Sankhe.
The first floor will have a 50-seater dinning room, three guest rooms and a spare room. The second floor will have private rooms for the governor and his wife, a prayer room, gymnasium, private library, satellite kitchen and lift.
The new building will also have solar-powered electrical fittings and will recycle water.