‘Turn US Consulate plot into green zone’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘Turn US Consulate plot into green zone’

Residents of the Altamount Road — one of the costliest addresses in Asia — want to turn a prime property in their vicinity into a green spot.

mumbai Updated: Mar 05, 2010 02:07 IST
Bhavika Jain

Residents of the Altamount Road — one of the costliest addresses in Asia — want to turn a prime property in their vicinity into a green spot.

The Altamount Road Area Citizens Committee (ARACC) wants to convert Washington House, a prime property at Breach Candy that currently houses the US Consulate, into a green zone.

The current owner, the US consulate, plans to vacate its landmark property after more than 50 years and shift to Bandra-Kurla Complex.

Even as developers have been scrambling to buy the prime property, members of the ARACC wrote to the US consul general Paul Folmsbee in November. The ARACC requested the Consulate to either hand over the property to the association for developing an open space or jointly develop the same.

“Residents feel that it’s a ideal location for developing a green project. We would welcome the participation from your end,” reads the letter.

“We have approached them with the idea of developing the plot as a community project and are expecting a positive reply from the consulate authorities,” said Anand Akerkar, member of ARACC.

Its plan is to turn the place into a green area for senior citizens, children’s playground, a squash court, seating arrangements, walking and jogging tracks and a community centre.

If the consulate is keen to sell it, the association is looking at raising funds with the help of the super-rich residents. To make it financially viable they might consider having a commercial underground parking lot.

Altamount Road was rated as 10th most expensive street address in the world (according to a survey conducted by Wealth-Bulletin, a UK-based online news and analysis provider) and houses the residences of corporate honchos such as Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, Aditya Birla Group chief Kumar Mangalam Birla.

Realty prices on Altamount Road could go as high as Rs 98,500 per sq ft. “We don’t want another high rise or a commercial project on the plot as with more and more construction on our road and vicinity, it is becoming to difficult to live with limited infrastructure,” said Gautam Watsa, honorary secretary of ARACC.

According to experts the plot, measuring a little less than an acre, could fetch a market price upwards of Rs 350 crore.

To generate funds, the association has written to all the residents who include entrepreneurs and industrialists and have received a positive reply from most of them. “We will request them to jointly develop it with us as a good will exercise so that the cost will also go down,” added Watsa.

The US Consulate could not be contacted for comment.