New project to be spread over 3.73 acres in K.K. Nagar; super high-income category introduced

The Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) would no more strictly tether itself to the social objectives of delivering affordable houses nor construct all the housing units on its own. It will soon turn into an active promoter of apartments like any other private developer in Chennai.

The TNHB has taken two important steps towards this. First, it would soon commence its first Public Private Partnership (PPP) venture at K.K. Nagar after finalising bids from private developers.

Second, it has steeply revised the income limit for beneficiaries and has introduced a new super high-income category (Super HIG) — persons who earn more than Rs. 62,000 per month. Henceforth, it would also design and build houses to cater to the Super HIG group.

“This new category was introduced keeping the highly paid IT sector in mind and was also necessitated by the upward rise in income levels after the implementation of pay commission recommendations,” said government officials.

TNHB owns a 3.73 acre property (about 1,62,000 sq. ft.) near Ashok Pillar and proposes to develop a residential-cum-commercial building along with the private developer. It has accepted one of the three proposals put forth by its consultants and fixed a base price of Rs. 210 crore for the project.

Private promoters who can match this base price and exceed other bids will be chosen. The detailed bid document for selecting the developer would be finalised on June 14.

However, this is not the first time TNHB is trying to develop this plot by partnering with a private builder.

In 2008, it had appointed Jones Lang LaSalle, an international property consultant to advise it on the scale and nature of the project. A 4.5 lakh square feet building complex with residential apartments, commercial offices, serviced apartments and multiplex was proposed at the K.K. Nagar site. Apart from the land cost, the private developer was to give 25 per cent of the built-up area to TNHB.

This proposal has now been abandoned and the consultant changed. The TNHB has appointed Darashaw and Company Pvt. Ltd as its new consultant. The housing board is tight-lipped about the details of the new proposal.

Not all are happy with this change in course. Experts are critical about TNHB's approach and want it to focus more on constructing affordable housing.

K.P. Subramanian, former professor of Urban Engineering, Anna University said that “instead of promoting social housing, why should the TNHB build for the rich who are already well served by the market. It is the LIG and economically weaker sections who are suffering from the lack of affordable housing. Second, the TNHB has forcibly acquired many lands with a promise of delivering housing to the needy. How can it give such lands to private developers and make huge profits,” he questioned.

When contacted, K. Sellamuthu, the managing director said, “TNHB has not given up construction of affordable housing and there is no change in its objectives. At K.K Nagar, we are trying to maximise the potential of the site. The final proposals would be submitted to the government and a decision would be taken only after detailed discussion.”

Keywords: TNHB

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