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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.
Moneylife learns that the ADA group in fact negotiated a substantial extension of 12 years to the non-compete agreement on gas-based power projects. So it is ‘Advantage Anil’ on this deal.
Recent media reports suggest that Reliance Industries Ltd, led by Mukesh Ambani, and Reliance ADA group companies, led by Anil Ambani, have cancelled their earlier non-compete agreement relating to all businesses except gas-based power plants. Moneylife now learns that the ADA group has, in fact, negotiated a substantial extension of 12 years to the non-compete agreement on gas-based power projects. So, in effect, it is ‘Advantage Anil’ on this deal.
The original non-compete agreement signed between RIL and ADA group in January 2006 was for a period of ten years starting from 2006. In other words, after 2016, both Mukesh and Anil Ambani were free to enter into each other’s territories.
According to industry experts and sources close to the developments from both groups, Anil Ambani has taken mileage out of the new deal by extending the non-compete clause for all of his ambitious gas-based power plants, including Dadri.
According to the new agreement, Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) will get uninterrupted gas supply for 12 more years (until 2022), at $4.2 per million metric British thermal units (mmBtu).
In addition, during this period, the Mukesh Ambani group cannot bid for power projects based on gas, even though it has ample supply of natural gas at its disposal. The senior Ambani can bid for ultra-mega power projects provided they are not fired by gas.
According a release issued by both groups, the cancellation of the existing non-compete agreement will provide enhanced operational and financial flexibility to both groups, and greater ability to participate in high-growth sectors of the Indian economy, such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, telecommunications, power, and financial services.
However, both Ambani brothers cannot use the Reliance brand name in sectors opened up to either by the revocation of the non-compete agreement.
While steel prices have softened in recent months, they still rule at a premium of about 30% over the year-ago period
Steel prices may fall further by another Rs1,000 a tonne in June due to a softening global trend originating from the financial crisis in Europe and demand slowdown ahead of the monsoons, reports PTI.
Prices of long steel products, mainly consumed by infrastructure and construction firms, have already fallen by Rs5,000 a tonne since April.
"It (steel prices) may further fall by Rs1,000 a tonne next month mainly due to the present European crisis and slackening demand ahead of monsoon," steel secretary Atul Chaturvedi told PTI on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.
The conference was organised to highlight the "achievements" of the ministry during the first year of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA)-II government.
Industry observers said that the crisis in Europe may adversely impact international steel prices, which could, in turn, affect domestic rates.
While steel prices, hovering in the range of Rs32,000-Rs47,000 per tonne, have softened in recent months, they still rule at a premium of about 30% over the year-ago period.
The high prices are attributed to a 90% increase in prices of vital inputs for steel manufacturing, such as iron ore and coking coal.