Chennai Central Railway Station, the prime railway terminus in the city and one of the most important railway hubs in South India is now among the 23 privileged ‘A-1’ and ‘A’ category stations announced for redevelopment by the Ministry of Indian Railways. As per the announcement, out of 42 acres of available land in the station premises, 1.5 acres along the Allikulam Road which leads to Poonamallee High Road is to be handed over to a private party for commercial development. With a minimum FSI of 1.50, it may translate to about one million sq ft of commercial development. The proposed development mix includes world class facilities at the station with retail, commercial spaces and hotels.

“Chennai central being the old CBD is predominantly occupied by major government offices, institutions and major banks for key purposes, such as back office operations and other services. The concentration of IT-ITeS companies is comparatively very low in this locality and primarily caters to banks, booking offices, retail outlets, corporate and front offices. The average rent for the warm shell spaces in the surrounding area is in the range of INR 60 to 65 per sq ft, per month. In spite of challenges in making redevelopment a reality in Chennai, the implementation of this programme at Central with the revamped station, world-class facilities and commercial mix will be a great attraction to the commuters and commercial occupiers,” says Shyam Arumugam, Associate Director, Office Services at Colliers International India (Chennai).

The government plans to boost non-operational revenue through monetising the available land around the station premises and provide quality spaces to occupiers. As per Colliers International India’s research, presently, the major challenge faced by the occupiers in this locality is the status of age-old, dilapidated buildings and run-down heritage structure. Chennai Central retains a very good connectivity to all prime locations of the city which will be further enhanced by the upcoming Metro Rail estimated to be completed by 2018. However, in our opinion, implementation of the project is the key, as the major concern that Colliers can foresee is that several redevelopment projects in Chennai are already on hold due to various political hurdles and challenges in obtaining clearances.