Mumbai: BMC, Blackstone to Unclutter Parel CBD, Spruce Up Civic Infrastructure

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has accepted a proposal from US private equity firm Blackstone Group Inc to overhaul infrastructure in the Lower Parel, Prabhadevi and Dadar area—among the busiest business districts in the country’s commercial capital. The mile-long stretch is home to some of the city’s prime commercial buildings such as One International Center, One World Center and Sunshine Tower, leading up to Peninsula Business Park, Kamala City and Phoenix Palladium.

The One Green Mile project is the fruit of the first alliance formed by a global investor with an Indian civic authority to help improve city infrastructure.

The MCGM is also considering a plan to encourage such private participation by corporates and global investors in overhauling amenities in Mumbai’s business districts and key commercial locations elsewhere.

“We would encourage the private sector to step forward and collaborate with the local government and authorities to improve the city’s infrastructure,” Aaditya Thackeray, state tourism and environment minister said. “We are grateful for the support from Blackstone in our efforts to redevelop one of Mumbai’s busiest streets into a safe and clean space for residents to commute and gather.”

This first project aimed at street improvement and upgradation in the city is being undertaken within the civic body’s prevailing policy framework.

“It’s a win-win situation for all stakeholders and it will help in betterment of citizens, government, city and the environment at large,” said Sharad Ugade, assistant municipal commissioner, GSouth, Mumbai.

He added that it’s the first pilot project on such a large scale in Mumbai and will prove to be a benchmark, encouraging other private entities to come up with such proposals. The project entails planned urbanism, correction and widening of roads, broader pavements, reclaiming the streets from encroachments and beautification.

The first phase of the One Green Mile project, an 800-metre stretch between Blackstone-owned One International Centre and One World Center, is expected to open to the public by May. Work on the second phase of the project, which extends along Senapati Bapat Marg from the Dadar flower market and goes just beyond One World Center, is expected to commence in April. The private equity firm will continue supporting the state government’s efforts to create more green spaces and safer streets in the city centre, said Tuhin Parikh, head of real estate for India, Blackstone.

“As one of the largest global investors in India, we are committed to working with local governments to build thriving communities that can positively impact people and businesses,” Parikh said.

Blackstone has started working on the plan to revamp the streets in the area and the work is expected to be completed by May. The private equity firm has emerged as the biggest institutional investor in Indian real estate in the past few years. The milelong stretch that connects Dadar, Elphinstone Road and Lower Parel in Mumbai’s central business district is a high-volume traffic area with more than 100,000 commuters per day. The project is expected to have an impact on five suburban railway stations and six upcoming metro stations in the area.

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