The structure will need to be at least 80 storeys high to fully utilise the available FSI. How far is this possible? Moneylife posed this question to some leading architects.
The Wadala Truck Terminal (WTT) in Mumbai, a 25,000 sq mt plot that was recently acquired by the Lodha group for Rs5,723 crore in an MMRDA (Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority) auction (read:
will need high-end infrastructure inputs and innovative urban design and planning to make the project viable for people to live and work there. This means that the structure will need to be at least 80 storeys high. How far is this possible? What are the major requirements to make the project successful? Moneylife posed this question to some leading architects.
“The developer would have to construct a 100-story tower to consume a built-up area of 4,95,000 sq mt by utilising an FSI (floor space index) of 19.8. To develop such a big plot, the project has to be designed with the involvement of many professionals like environmental planners, urban designers and architects,” said an associate of architect Hafeez Contractor who did not want to be named.
According to other experts, the project would have to have a well-designed mix of commercial and residential development to utilise the total permissible built-up area of 4,95,000 sq mt. They say Indians are not accustomed to staying in ultra-high-rise buildings that are taller than 80 storeys and, therefore, the Lodha group will not find too many takers for a standalone residential project (without any commercial facilities).
“The whole ballgame changes when you go above 80 storeys. In India, people are reluctant to stay in 20-storey buildings, forget 40- and 50-storey structures.
Super-high-rise towers do not work in India because the residents feel totally disconnected from the social environment. High-rise towers all around the world are a mix of residential and commercial development. In such towers, retail shops are right at the base of the tower, and above that residential, then hotels and, right at the top, offices. Developers try to keep residential housing as low as possible in such towers,” said Pranav Desai, partner architect, Atul Desai Consultants Pvt Ltd.
In any case, MMRDA has stipulated that commercial development should not be less than 50% of the permissible built-up area for this project. “The developer has to maintain a 50:50 mix (of residential and commercial development) to consume the total permissible built-up area efficiently, and if that happens, prices of both residential and commercial projects will crash in that area,” said Mr Desai.
“The project needs to be designed cleverly to effectively utilise the permissible FSI and the developer will need to provide adequate infrastructure such as sufficient water supply, both on-road and off-road parking and uninterrupted power supply,” said Jagdeep Desai, architect and urban planner.
According to a Lodha group source, the developer may build super-high-rise towers with apartments priced at Rs14, 000-Rs15,000 per sq ft. That will entail high-end infrastructure requirements, including 15-30 lifts in each tower (so that there is no traffic congestion), centralised garbage collection and water-heating systems, sufficient purified drinking water, fire escape and enough parking space.
“The construction needs a lot of high-end infrastructure in place and various measures should be taken for maintaining such infrastructure for 65 years,” he said.