Chennai development body moves SC, land acquisition for MRTS delayed again – ET RealEstate

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CHENNAI: Land acquisition for the last 50m stretch of the Velachery-St Thomas Mount MRTS project is likely to get delayed further.

Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has approached the Supreme Court against the Madras high court order of March 8, 2019, which directed the agency to provide enhanced compensation to the landowners who were litigating for the past decade. CMDA filed a special leave petition on September 14.

This comes even as CMDA has vetted papers of all landowners and promised to process the compensation as per the high court order in the past four months. TOI had reported how the state government’s red tape is delaying the process.

In its petition, filed on behalf of N Ravikumar, senior planner of CMDA, the state government’s pleader has asked for an ad interim stay on the high court order of March 8, 2019. The government has prayed for permitting it to deposit in court the extra amount of compensation to be paid as per the court’s order and also asked for directions to the landowner to hand over the land.

In its petition, the state government has said it wants to pay compensation only according to a 2016 order, which calculates the value of the land as on January 1, 2011. This means that it wants to pay only Rs 1912 per square feet, whereas as per the 2019 order of the high court, the state government has to pay enhanced compensation of Rs 4500 per square feet.

The case has other complications. For instance, some landowners have relinquished the property and are fighting for enhanced compensation along with others. However, as per the state’s SLP, it wants to deposit the difference in compensation in the court and take possession of the land.

Ezhilarasan, one of the landowners who is a respondent in the SLP, told TOI that they were surprised and frustrated. “Just as we were waiting for the compensation to be released and the process to be completed, the CMDA has done this. Many government officials promised that the enhanced compensation would be released,” he said.

Land acquisition officials from CMDA did not respond to calls for comment.



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L&T Realty forays into Chennai commercial market – ET RealEstate

BENGALURU: L&T Realty is betting on the southern commercial market, as the real estate unit of engineering conglomerate Larsen & Toubro plans to launch its maiden office project in Chennai.

The 6.85 million sq ft project will be developed in four-five phases, two people aware of the matter said. “In the first phase, L&T Realty will develop around 1.2 million sq ft that is expected to be completed by 2022,” said one of them.

The project will also have a million sq ft of residential development space.

The project is coming up on a 40-acre plot in the IT hub of Chennai that was owned by group company, L&T Valves, which was shut down a few years ago.

L&T Realty has received pre-leasing enquiries from global IT firms, the people said.

“In the Chennai market, Grade A Space is completely leased out. The L&T management is also extremely bullish on their Chennai project as it is strategically located at Porur with good availability of IT talent,” said the second person.

L&T Realty is present in West, South and North India with many residential, commercial and retail projects.

Commercial property market in Chennai, mainly occupied by IT and BFSI firms, has seen top builders like TRIL, Embassy, Brigade, RMZ, K Raheja and DLF expanding their office portfolio to tap the growing demand for Grade-A space.

Despite the overall economic slowdown, Chennai’s commercial real estate remained resilient in 2020.

Recently, Walmart Labs leased 250,000 sq ft in Chennai. BNY Mellon, which took 600,000 of sq ft, was another company that recently leased office space in the city.



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Chennai: Tenants sore as landlords refuse to return deposits – ET RealEstate

CHENNAI: A couple of weeks ago, S Madhav received a ‘maintenance bill’ from the owner of his Chennai apartment, indicating the Rs 1.25 lakh deposit wouldn’t be returned.

With Madhav and his cotenants in their native places due to lockdown, the owner began ‘maintenance’ work. “We were maintaining the flat very well. There was a leakage on the wooden floor of the hall when we moved in. The wetness eventually spoiled the wood and now the owner says we are responsible,” said Madhav, a BTech student at a popular city college. “My certificates are there. I don’t know whether the workers doing the maintenance have misplaced them,” he said.

Several students in the city, particularly women, are facing such problems. S Beena Cherian (name changed) had no rental dues but her landlord wanted her to leave the flat in a month. “My two friends and I are in our native places in Kerala, having rushed home without taking our valuables. We can’t go to Guduvancherry where the flat is and vacate it because of Covid restrictions. We don’t know what to do,” she said.

Many students opt for private stay because they cannot afford high hostel fees in colleges.

S Navin Nair, who has just completed visual communication at SRM University, said the landlord didn’t return the ₹1lakh deposit when he and three others vacated the flat a week ago. “He said the amount would be adjusted for maintenance. We couldn’t say anything because we had to pick up our valuables, mainly certificates from the flat,” said Navin.

A P Paramesh, a final year student of mechanical engineering, was charged ₹18,000 for painting and other maintenance charges. “He [the owner] didn’t want to return the deposit. The details in the bill don’t make sense. He calculated it based on his whims and fancies. It’s unfair,” he said.

Many landlords say they are resorting to such steps as they haven’t been getting rents from tenants, mostly students. K Rajagopal, who has let out his Guduvancherry flat for rent, said he had told his tenant not to pay rent for two months. “But I can’t do more than this because I need to pay the bank the monthly loan. Even though most students stay together, they don’t take responsibility together,” he said.

Madhav said many like him would be in trouble if the situation continued. “I have vacated my apartment. I have to find one soon.”



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Tech companies lap up 12.55 lakh sq ft office space in Chennai – ET RealEstate

CHENNAI: While some tech companies are surrendering their office spaces partially or wholly, some others including financial services giant BNY and global electronics company KLA Tencor have signed up real estate deals during the lockdown to enhance their city presence.

Between April and August when the city was either fully or partially locked down due to Covid-19, more than 12.55 lakh square feet of office space has been lapped up, mostly by tech companies.

While Omega Healthcare signed up for 41,000 square feet at Chennai One IT park, banking giant BNY pocketed 6.25 lakh square feet space at Embassy. Desi payments company NPCI and Nine Stars, too, joined the space hunt, sources said. BNY did not respond to a TOI questionnaire, but sources confirmed the deal,

“These are encouraging deals in the city. The companies, though mandated before the pandemic, decided to go ahead with the transactions, indicating their keenness to expand or set up operations in the city,” said Srinivas Anikipatti, senior director at real estate consultancy Knight Frank.

“While companies were talking about cost saving and productivity improvements due to work from home (WFH), creativity appears to have taken a back seat, our clients tell us,” he said.
Tech companies lap up 12.55 lakh sq ft office space in ChennaiReal estate industry sources said that WFH is effective when it’s training related, but when its R&D or manufacturing design, collaboration with colleagues enhances quality. “Cost saving is from productivity and not quality. We will get to see return to campuses or a hybrid model. This full WFH may not work in the long run” sources said.

“These deals indicate that there is nothing to panic, as earlier thought. Since January nearly 2.2 million square feet has been absorbed and we may end 2020 with 4.2 to 4.3 million square feet. (In 2019 Chennai absorbed 5.8 million square feet) ,” said Rajesh Babu, Chief Consultant, at real estate consultancy Asset Advise.



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