The Public Works Department (PWD) wants to build a high-rise on the triangular plot behind the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters, which currently houses the Bori Bunder state excise department.
However, the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) is opposing the proposal.
The 2,999 sq metre plot, which currently houses two tilled roof structures built 60 years ago, falls under the heritage precinct.
The MHCC says the PWD cannot demolish the existing heritage structures to make way for a ground plus nine-storeyed administrative cum residential building.
Under the new plan, the front portion of the plot will house the administrative wing, and the portion behind will have a seven-storeyed residential structure.
“The state excise wants to centralise their department and they need more space and hence we have given the proposal to the MHCC,” said a senior PWD official.
The committee, in its meeting in August, observed that the existing structures are in good condition and even if they are not individually listed as heritage, they possess several elements of the old vernacular architecture and should not be demolished.
“We have suggested that the PWD should explore the possibility of retaining the existing structures and integrating the new structures around them,” said chairman of the MHCC, Dinesh Afzulpurkar.
The members of the MHCC have inspected the site and have said that the proposal also doesn’t keep in mind the height restriction in the area.
Afzulpurkar said the proposed height of the building is more than that of the BMC headquarters (which is a ground plus seven- storeyed structure). The plot also falls in the buffer zone of the world heritage site, CST station.
“We are trying to re-work the design, but it will be difficult to integrate the new building with the existing one because the area kept open is too small,” said chief architect, Public Works Department, Bipin Sankhe.
Currently, one of the two structures near the entrance is being used as the office, while the other structure on the plot is being used for residential purposes.