Maithili Ahluwalia used to cringe when she saw ordinary high-rises replace elegant historical structures. But she decided she would do something about it. So she shifted her home accessories store, Bungalow Eight, in December 2008 to the Grants building on Apollo Bunder Road in Colaba. The building is not on the heritage committee’s current list but could find its way into the next one.
“I wanted to take a step towards preserving the city’s heritage,” she said.
Ganesh Kumar Gupta, the co-owner of the Grants building, says her moving in has improved the value of his property.
In turn, this gives him an incentive to preserve the heritage, which he now sees can further improve the property’s value.
“Hopefully this trend will be able to save many more heritage structures from being reduced to rubble,” he said.
Ahluwalia isn’t the only entrepreneur choosing historical buildings to give her business some old-world charm, and conserving them as a result.
Another example is the Belgian café in Colaba, Le Pain Quotidien, located in a Grade 3 heritage structure (see policies for description), Dhanraj Mahal, near the Gateway of India.
“Being located in an iconic heritage structure, the volume of our internal space and our design elements
have combined to allow us to create a unique ambiance,” said founder Alain Coumont. “We have incorporated certain original characteristics of Dhanraj Mahal into our design. For example, we have incorporated the scrim structure of the façade into our design, continuing that theme into some of our windows.”