For big brand food outlets, Perambur is an outlier in north Chennai.

Conventionally a working class neighbourhood, Perambur now boasts some of the big names, be it in entertainment, shopping, dining or housing.

Pizza Hut, Pizza Corner, Dominos and Reliance Trends have already made Perambur their latest home in the last five years, with Spectrum Mall on Paper Mills Road being another recent addition. Sathyam Cinemas has stepped in for the north Chennai cinema-goers with S2 cinemas at Spectrum Mall. Neighbouring localities like Jawahar Nagar and Periyar Nagar are north Chennai’s equivalents of high street. 

The Old Venus Theatre gave way to Spectrum Mall, which was officially launched in June 2012, says Lakshmi Balaji, general manager of Tenants and Leasing, Spectrum Mall. “Perambur was underdeveloped for long. With a mix of professionals including doctors and lawyers moving in, in recent years, this is one of the reasons for coming here,” she says.

It was for similar reasons that Reliance Trends too entered the north Chennai market last August. 

These are clear signs of gentrification, which is fuelled by real estate growth.

If cramped rows of houses and narrow, congested roads remind one of north Chennai, Perambur strives to be different. Nowhere is it as evident as in its skyline, which has undergone a sea change.

A number of high-rise apartments have come up at places in and around Perambur in the last few years. L. Moorthi, former State chairman of Builders Association, says cost of housing has shot up in this locality.

Realtor S. Senthil Kumar does not hesitate to bracket Perambur along with the upmarket areas of the city. “It is one of those unsung heroes in real estate business. Market research found there are a great number of foreign bank account holders in Perambur. The purchasing power of its residents has increased manifold, with the second and third generations following those who had worked in railways or industries here, moving up the economic ladder. The young population has been the engine of growth for Perambur,” he says.

“Many residents living in Perambur work in the IT sector at places like Siruseri, Sholinganallur and Ambattur. This is evident from the number of IT company buses having their starting point from Perambur and neighbouring Moolakadai,” said K. Chandran, a resident of this neighbourhood for the last 10 years. He has seen the many faces of Perambur as the son of a clerk at the erstwhile Binny Mills and previously, a resident of neighbouring locality, Pattalam. 

Today, for long-time residents like De’Souza, Perambur’s changing profile has been a huge surprise. “The neighbourhood has changed drastically in the last five to six years. Look at the various hangouts that have come up. There is no dearth for entertainment here. I bring my family to the mall and spend time with them,” he says.

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