Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Bandra Kurla and the changing face of the business district.

Mumbai, India’s financial capital and one of the largest urban agglomerations in the world has always been an Asian business powerhouse. With some of the world’s largest companies, banks, television networks and other important businesses calling Mumbai, either their headquarters or an important regional office, it is only natural that office space in this metropolis comes at a premium.

Traditionally, South Mumbai has always been Mumbai’s commercial/business district. The areas of Nariman Point, Marine Lines, Tardeo, Worli, Prabhadevi and Lower Parel, have all been hubs for the smooth flow of commerce. The problem now though is one of dwindling space and soaring commercial realty prices. To address this problem the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), in the early part of the 21st century, proposed in its charter, “ a series of "growth centres" created to ‘arrest further concentration’ of offices and commercial activities in South Mumbai.” (Source: Wikipedia) Bandra-Kurla complex was a first among these growth centres.

Why Bandra-Kurla Complex?

Any business relies on top-notch infrastructure, hassle-free connectivity and easy access. The central nature of Bandra-Kurla Complex, ease of access, location and availability of premium office space for rates that are not astronomical, has made this area a popular destination for business development. Says a marketing manager, of a multinational beverages company, that moved here a couple of years ago, “Bandra-Kurla Complex made a lot of sense for us. Its ready availability world class office spaces, proximity to the international and domestic airports, easily accessible to both our employees and business associates from the Western and Central suburbs, and most importantly the dramatic savings on leasing a similar property in South Mumbai, are the primary reasons of our decision to call it home.”

Ease of access has also made lives for employees that much simpler. Scores of people who would have to spend hours commuting all the way to South Mumbai, now find themselves travelling half the distance, and with the improvement inaccess roads to BKC, many of them now travel to office by vehicle. As a result, the load on public transport infrastructure too, has reduced a bit. Says Eleanor Rodrigues, an employee of a private sector bank, “my office used to be in Prabhadevi and travelling from Santacruz was quite troublesome. But ever since we’ve shifted to BKC, getting from home to office is a simple 20 minute car journey. On the upside, I also get to spend the morning commute with my husband, as he works in the vicinity too.”

Developments in Bandra-Kurla Complex:

Bandra-Kurla Complex today is a hotbed of activity like few other places in the city. With a number of residential and commercial projects underway, the area is undergoing a sea change as we speak. Corporate headquarters and IT parks today stand side-by-side, where once slums and desolate roads used to be.

“The landscape of the area has changed dramatically,” says Manish Madambat, a long time resident of Kalanagar, Bandra East, a stone’s throw away from BKC, “there used to be a time when getting a rickshaw from Bandra station was nigh impossible, the streets were bad and fraught with potholes, but today, with the emergence of BKC, those days are a thing of the past.”

The best part about the development of BKC has been the phased manner in which it has been conducted. BKC is probably one of Mumbai’s only well planned areas, modern town planning ensures that streets leading into and out of the area are smoother, wider and congestion free.

The emergence of BKC as a business hub has also seen a proliferation of hospitality brands setting up shop here to cater to the corporate set. Over the last few years many top hotels have opened their doors to the droves of corporate clients that have now made them their destination of choice to entertain, host foreign dignitaries and conferences and get-togethers.

With projects and developments in various phases of completion and planning, BKC’s future and that of Mumbai’s new business district seems too bright and in a sentence, BKC is the new commercial heart of India’s financial powerhouse!   

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