Fewer IT buildings came up in Chennai last year; figures down to 2009 level

Building construction in the city has witnessed a sharp decline, and has reached a level comparable to that of 2009.

Data on buildings sanctioned by the Chennai Metropolitan and Development Authority (CMDA), which does not include ordinary buildings — small individual houses and apartment buildings with less than six dwelling units — reveals that about 3.3 million square metre of built-up area was permitted in the metropolitan area in 2011.

This is nearly one-third that of the sanctions given in 2010, and almost the same as the 2009 figure. Information regarding approvals given to buildings is available on the CMDA website. An analysis of these figures reveals the principal reason for the steep fall is the drastic reduction in the construction of IT buildings.

Only four multi-storied IT buildings sought approval in 2011 and together they amount to about 88,600 square metres of floor space, which is less than 10 per cent of the IT area that was added in the previous year. In 2010, about 1.2 million square metres of IT space was added to the city and in 2009, it stood at 1 million square metres.

The number of commercial buildings has dropped since 2009. In 2010, about half a million square metres of commercial space was approved, and last year, this reduced by 1,25,000 square metres. Six new hotel projects were also sanctioned last year.

Residential construction has maintained a steady course. In 2011, about 2.2 million square metres of residential built-up area was approved and this is about 75,000 square metres more than that permitted the previous year. The bulk of this construction comes in the form of smaller apartment blocks.

The highlight, last year, was the 4,12,000 square metre-residential project in Medavakkam. Only 38 new tall towers will be added this, just half of what was sanctioned in 2010.

Despite poor infrastructure, most of the construction is happening in the immediate periphery of the city. Even salt pans with poor-quality water have been earmarked for apartment complexes.

The core of the city too, is reconstructing itself. Old buildings are being redeveloped to maximise their real-estate potential and take advantage of new development rules. Nine multi-storied buildings will come up in the city soon.

This continuing reconstruction within Chennai, which is among the most densely-populated cities in the country, will further strain the narrow roads. How the city will cope with this is a concern many citizens are raising.

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