MUMBAI: An ambitiously-branded residential project, the US Open Apartments in Mulund West, is set to recommence after a long wait of ten years.
The Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority (MahaRERA), in an interim order, has directed Ricardo Constructions Pvt ltd, a subsidiary of the Shapoorji Pallonji group, to transparently share information with nearly 300 homebuyers and initiate the formation of a society within 30 days. Most buyers have already paid over 80 per cent for their flats.
The project was floated in 2010 with much fanfare by Nirmal Lifestyle, admittedly in association with the United States Tennis Association. Homebuyers were promised ‘US Open’ branded luxury residences, training academies and clubs. The developer later claimed it had become the first Indian brand to get on-court branding during US Open 2012. All the five proposed buildings in the U-shaped project were thematically named Ace, Matchpoint, Grand Slam, Gamepoint and Centre Court.
Nirmal promised possession from 2015 but the construction of Ace and Matchpoint towers, each with 43 floors, could not progress beyond 19 floors due to lack of further approvals and alleged financial constraints. In August 2019, the project was transferred to Ricardo Constructions under the provisions of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest (SARFAESI) Act.
In September 2019, the new promoters signed a letter of understanding with the homebuyers to give possession by September 2021. However, a status quo until January this year forced the buyers to approach MahaRERA. While 201 members formed an Association of Allottees (AoA) to register a joint complaint, nine other buyers complained individually.
In an online hearing on September 4, MahaRERA chairperson Gautam Chatterjee asked Ricardo Constructions to handover the complete list of flat purchasers in Ace and Matchpoint towers to the AoA within 15 days.
To ensure complete transparency, MahaRERA has asked the developer to hold monthly meetings with the AoA to share the progress of the project. It has also directed that the money paid by the complainants to Nirmal Lifestyle should be honoured by Ricardo Constructions.
“It’s a big relief for homebuyers who were in the dark about the status of the project,” said advocate Sanjay Chaturvedi, who appeared for the AoA along with advocate Pooja Gaikwad, and Kundalik Bhapkar, vice-president of the AoA.