Sea change for Worli Sea Face

Updated on Sep 05, 2022 05:46 PM IST

Mumbai: Worli Sea Face’s skyline is all set to get a makeover in the next few years

At least four properties on the seafront are being redeveloped. The new rules, when implemented, will relax the restrictions on development in creek and bay areas from 100 m to 50 m from the high tide line.
At least four properties on the seafront are being redeveloped. The new rules, when implemented, will relax the restrictions on development in creek and bay areas from 100 m to 50 m from the high tide line.
BySatish Nandgaonkar

Mumbai: Worli Sea Face’s skyline is all set to get a makeover in the next few years. Tall highrises may soon dot the seafront, with relaxations in coastal zone regulations expected soon.

At least four properties on the seafront are being redeveloped. The new rules, when implemented, will relax the restrictions on development in creek and bay areas from 100 m to 50 m from the high tide line.

HT had recently reported about the proposed redevelopment of Sportsfield, the iconic nine-storey building, which is home to some of India’s top cricketers including Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar.

A little away from Sportsfield, workers are seen milling inside the compound of Champagne House, where the family bungalow of wine baron Ranjit Choughule once stood. The property was purchased by banker Uday Kotak, CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, in March 2018 for an estimated 275 crore. The bungalow has now been demolished, and the 1672.25 sq m property has been fenced, indicating that construction would soon start on what is likely to be the Kotak family home.

On the southern side of the sea face, where Anand Piramal and Isha Ambani’s bungalow Karuna Sindhu stands with its gleaming glass dome, Shree Naman Group has begun work at the corner plot adjoining the Koli Man and Woman sculpture. According to industry sources, the group plans to develop a 30-storey luxury duplex with select residences with apartments of over 5,000 sq ft. Jayesh Shah, chairman of Shree Naman Group did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.

A few buildings ahead, another redevelopment project is all set to commence. Sahni Villa, the quaint 1,675 sq m bungalow of the Sahni family, is transforming into another 30-storey highrise with 15 uber luxury duplexes. Christened The Legacy, the tower will be designed by renowned architects Panthaki and Partners and will boast of a 45-foot temperature-controlled swimming pool among other amenities.

Interestingly, the Sahni family’s third-generation entrepreneur Sachiv Sahni is himself developing the property as a tribute to his grandfather and his love for Worli. Pankaj Goshar of Goshar Alliance LLP is executing the project.

“My grandfather purchased this seafront property in 1952 at a time when Worli was nearly a jungle. He was an entrepreneur who set up multiple businesses and was a man of vision. Our family was one of the largest exporters of mangoes, and he set up a gelatine plant in Bhopal. My family lived in Sahni Villa till 1971 after which we gave the property on lease to the Japanese consulate,” Sahni told HT.

Sahni himself spent some of his childhood early in the house before he moved to Delhi. “I returned to Mumbai and decided to develop this as a tribute to my family. That’s why we have called it The Legacy. My whole endeavor is to make the tower an iconic landmark which will be the first thing people will spot on Worli Sea Face. We have just got the commencement certificate two months ago,” said Sahni, who felt that the Coastal Road will further add to the beauty of the Worli Sea Face promenade.

Further south on the promenade, the 14.5-acre Worli Dairy has been earmarked for the development of a tourism complex and aquarium of international standards. Worli MLA Aaditya Thackeray, who was the tourism minister in the previous MVA government, had put his weight behind this project and the state was planning to provide 1,000 crore for the development of a tourism complex. Shortly before the MVA government collapsed in June, the Urban Development department issued a directive for the transfer of the land.

“We transferred 10 acres to Urban Development two and half months ago. The milk production operation has now been shifted to Aarey and nearly 300 people working at the dairy have also been shifted to Aarey,” said a senior official of the Dairy Development Commissionerate. Officials indicated that it will take at least two years for the land to be cleared of the old structures. BJP leader Mangal Prabhat Lodha now holds the tourism portfolio.

Adjoining the Worli dairy, work has also begun on two big slum rehabilitation projects, which were dormant for a long time, even as the work on Coastal Road on the promenade has picked up speed.

Industry sources said Mumbai developers are lapping up bungalow properties closer to the coastal promenades not just in Worli but also Bandra in anticipation of the relaxations in the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms. Rustomjee Group, Oberoi Realty, and leading Bengaluru developer Prestige group have recently acquired such properties, market sources said.

“Relaxations in the coastal zone regulations were announced earlier and the final notification is expected any moment. Developers being a pro-active lot, they are lining up properties,” said Ritesh Mehta, senior director of real estate firm JLL India.

In October 2021, the Minister of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change approved the much-awaited Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP). The approval made the new Coastal Regulatory Rules framed in 2019 to be applicable but a final notification from MoEFCC is yet to be issued. The rules will relax the restrictions on development in creek and bay areas from 100 m to 50 m from the high tide line.

Relaxations are also expected in CRZ II norms which will mean that the no development zone could be reduced from 500 m to 300 m from the high tide line. “Once the final notification is issued, we could see more redevelopment activity on the Worli Sea Face and Sir Pochkhanwala Road,” Mehta said.

Pankaj Kapoor, managing director, Liases Foras, said, “Worli Sea Face with its unrestricted sea view will always remain a premium location. It has always been in demand due to the connectivity it offers to Bandra Kurla Complex and south Mumbai.”

Industry data indicates that Worli has emerged as the top luxury micro-market over the years. “The top luxury micro-markets in Mumbai are Worli, Lower Parel, Bandra, Tardeo, Prabhadevi, and Andheri. Worli alone contributes about 20 per cent of the overall Mumbai luxury market,” noted a joint report by India Sotheby’s International Realty and CRE Matrix published in April this year.

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