In 2021, the Petit family, which controls the trust that runs the Bai Avabai Petit Girls’ School, plans to exploit a prime 2.2-acre vacant plot behind the school near Bandra’s Carter Road, for a residential project.
TOI has learnt the trust has entered into an agreement with a builder, KBK Realtors (Kotharis), to develop the land. According to property market sources, the plot has development potential worth a couple of thousand crores given its location. A south Mumbai-based chartered accountant with expertise in selling Parsi trust properties is believed to have initiated the deal.
The state government too has lent a helping hand to the Bai Avabai Framji Petit Trust by deleting all the public amenity reservations on it. Under the city’s development plan, the plot was reserved for 1) municipal market with old age home and students’ hostel, 2) playground, 3) park/garden and 4) school. However, on March 12, 2021, the state urban development department issued a notification removing these reservations, thereby allowing the trust to develop the plot. While the reservation for the municipal market/old age home/students’ hostel has been entirely deleted, the reservation for playground, park and school has been relocated on another open ground nearby, which also belongs to the Avabai Petit school.
“With the reservations for public amenities gone, this plot has suddenly become a gold mine because of its prime location,” said a property market source. Property market sources expressed surprise that reservations for a playground and school have been relocated on a plot located inside the existing school campus which is already used as a playground.
One of the school trustees, who spoke to this newspaper on the condition that he is not named, confirmed the trust wants to monetise the land. “We plan to upgrade the existing school infrastructure; perhaps build a college too,” he said. Asked if the trust had taken the mandatory permission from the charity commissioner’s office, the trustee said, “It will be done in due course of time.”
“We have not sold the land to the builder. The developer is only advising us on how to exploit the plot and procure permissions. The trust will be selling the flats,” he said. Developer Rajendra Kothari of KBK Realtors said his firm is providing consultation to the trust and helping it procure the permissions. He denied there was a formal agreement with the trust to develop the property.
Property experts said it is mandatory for a trust to issue a public notice, inviting bids from potential developers if it wants to develop or sell its property. However, the trustee told TOI this will be done after the charity commissioner’s sanction is taken. “Everything is at a preliminary stage now,” he added. However, documents made available to this newspaper show that the trust has already received Rs 1 crore from KBK Realtors.
The Bai Avabai Framji Petit Girls’ High School was established in Bandra in 1913 as an orphanage for Parsi girls, but turned into a cosmopolitan school for girls in 1963.