Ashutosh Limaye, National Director – Research, JLL India
More than four decades after completion of the city’s last planned district centre – Bandra-Kurla Complex – comes a new kid on the block in northern Mumbai: Oshiwara District Centre (ODC). Even as the potential of BKC to provide further office space nears exhaustion, ODC has been set up by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) to help the ever-growing businesses in India’s financial capital.
As the city expanded northwards in phases over the last century, the lack of infrastructure has led to a poor quality of life for citizens who make their homes in the newly established suburbs and extended enclaves. Among the many difficulties they face is the long travel time and poor quality public transport from their residences to workplaces with the choice being either an arduous road journey that may take anywhere from 90-120 minutes or a ride on the over-stretched suburban railway system that sees overcrowding levels often described as inhuman.
Source: JLL India
A compromised quality of life for its citizens has an implicit cost for a city – and the country. Although hard to quantify and measure, the productivity loss has serious repercussions on the competitiveness of the city’s economy and weakens its reputation as an economic powerhouse. Therefore, it makes sense to have more suburban office districts in the city. Given this need, MMRDA decided to plan ODC as the next cluster development as it had all the required aspects to make it a successful district centre.
Moreover, existing commercial developments in Goregaon and Malad such as NESCO, Nirlon and Mindspace are very successful and have high occupancy levels along with a very good tenant profile. This also indicates a gap in demand and supply of quality commercial space within these precincts. While the eastern suburbs already have a big-scale cluster development in Powai, their western counterparts so far lacked a similar landmark.
Also, employees prefer working in a location where there is availability of relatively-affordable housing options so that they can just walk to work. This is possible in ODC given its catchment area as well as the residential development planned within the district by MMRDA. ODC has been conceptualized and zoned as a new mixed-use development comprising commercial and residential projects.
And while there are various factors that generally make a commercial node successful – the type of development, vision of organized real estate developers and physical as well as social infrastructure, to name a few – the ODC already possesses basic features that can lead to a well-planned district centre. A comparison with BKC below shows how well ODC is set to succeed as a business district in coming years.