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Maraimalai Nagar – the new Chennai

 

A spurt in industrial activity and a raft of housing projects have made Maraimalai Nagar a hot realty space beyond the Chennai suburbs. The town and its surrounding areas are today hailed as ‘New Chennai’.

However, Maraimalai Nagar’s transformation has come later than expected. Ever since the late 1970s, Maraimalai Nagar has been touted as a satellite town; but the lack of any significant development made a mockery of this description. “The town was ahead of its times. It was being promoted as a satellite town when the need for such townships was not pressing. Land was readily available within Madras and the prospect of living 45 km away was not inviting,” says P. Suresh, managing director, L&T Arun Excello Realty. “The idea of moving to Maramalai Nagar generated about the same enthusiasm that moving to Marakanam would now.”

To make good CMDA’s promise in the First Master Plan, the various arms of the Government worked hard to make Maraimalai Nagar a model town.

Residential clusters for varied income groups were a sign of this resolve. Despite all the acquisitions and planned development, the progress was not up to the expectations. Reason: the area lacked potent drivers of development.

It took a private-public partnership to speed up growth. The Mahindra World City, an integrated business city developed by Mahindra Group and TIDCO, put Maraimalai Nagar well on the map. When Infosys moved into the area in the early part of this decade, interest in the business city grew by leaps and bounds.

“The Infosys move swung the pendulum considerably in favour of Maraimalai Nagar. That’s when the Mahindra World City became an engine powering development in the area,” says Suresh. “There have been other drivers such as the Ford company, SRM [group of institutions] and the MEPZ. Despite its location in Tambaram, MEPZ was a factor in the development of areas lying beyond,” says Suresh.

Realty experts with their ears to the ground say Maraimalai Nagar can’t be viewed in isolation. “As much as they have benefitted from Maraimalai Nagar, areas close to the township have contributed to its growth,” says M. Arun Kumar, managing director, Casa Grande.

It is a two-way process, where the satellite township and the surrounding area feed on each other. Commuter towns (residential areas out of which people commute daily for work) on NH45 are growing bigger due to Maramalai Nagar. An increased demand for housing in these areas is a clear marker of this trend.

The process of symbiotic growth has led to urban agglomeration. “Urban development is continuous from Chennai up to Maraimalai Nagar; this stretch has the makings of an urban agglomerate,” says Suresh.

Effective transport infrastructure rank high among the factors driving urban agglomeration. “The South line of the Chennai Suburban Railway is without comparison. It has mitigated the problem of distance effectively,” says Arun. “A quasi-satellite town, Sriperumbudur is clearly disadvantaged by the lack of rail connectivity.”

“People are not crippled by distance, but vehicular traffic that is disproportionate to road space,” says Suresh. “A freer road and option of taking the train makes travelling to Maraimalai Nagar less time-consuming than reaching many points within the city.” Rail and road connectivity, coupled with Government planning, have made Maraimalai Nagar a balanced township. “The 100-feet road that separates residential areas from the industrial area graphically illustrates prudent planning,” says Anand Jain, managing director, Hallmark Infrastructure.

It is this balance that puts other areas along the NH45 in the shade. “Chromepet and Pallavaram are also townships. But Maraimalai Nagar is more self-contained. It generates jobs the way none of these commuter towns can,” says Arun.

Suresh cites social infrastructure for Maramalai Nagar’s added attraction. It gives the town an edge over other areas that are also experiencing phenomenal industrial growth (such as Oragadam).

On a slightly critical note, Arun points out that Maraimalai Nagar is yet to reach full potential. “At present, massive development is found only within a five to six kilometre radius. It can extend to at least a radius of 15 kilometres. Maraimalai Nagar is an unfinished masterpiece.”

Developers seem to have worked out a uniform format for Maraimalai Nagar and surrounding areas. Their projects do not feature small-sized flats and houses.

Akshaya Homes’ Metropolis offers living spaces that are not less than 1,900 sq.ft. In Hallmark Infrastructure’s Golden County, the smallest apartment is 1,680 sq.ft.; and in L&T Arun Excello’s Estancia, it is 1,500 sq.ft. Lancor Holdings’ Abode Valley’s minimum space is 1,125 sq.ft.

“We are looking at buyers from Channai. Most people moving out of the city look for a bigger living space. Houses in the 800 sq.ft. range don’t interest them,” is how Chitty Babu, chairman and managing director, Akshaya Homes, explains it. Other features shared by these projects are their more-than-usual focus on investment buyers. In an effort to woo them, Hallmark Infrastructure offers to make a three-year rental arrangement for the flats sold to its customers. The buyer is paid Rs. 5.76 lakh, the money his flat would earn for the next three years. “There are three groups that are of interest. One, end users.

Two, NRIs with plans to wind up work abroad and settle down in India. Third, investment buyers,” says P. Suresh, managing director, L&T Arun Excello Realty. “Chennai is an end user driven market. Our experience in Potheri is different. We find a well-proportioned mix of end user and investor buyers,” says Mallika Ravi, CEO, Lancor Holdings.

Big is beautiful

Developers seem to have worked out a uniform format for Maraimalai Nagar and surrounding areas. Their projects do not feature small-sized flats and houses.

Akshaya Homes’ Metropolis offers living spaces that are not less than 1,900 sq.ft. In Hallmark Infrastructure’s Golden County, the smallest apartment is 1,680 sq.ft.; and in L&T Arun Excello’s Estancia, it is 1,500 sq.ft. Lancor Holdings’ Abode Valley’s minimum space is 1,125 sq.ft.

“We are looking at buyers from Channai. Most people moving out of the city look for a bigger living space. Houses in the 800 sq.ft. range don’t interest them,” is how Chitty Babu, chairman and managing director, Akshaya Homes, explains it. Other features shared by these projects are their more-than-usual focus on investment buyers. In an effort to woo them, Hallmark Infrastructure offers to make a three-year rental arrangement for the flats sold to its customers. The buyer is paid Rs. 5.76 lakh, the money his flat would earn for the next three years. “There are three groups that are of interest. One, end users.

Two, NRIs with plans to wind up work abroad and settle down in India. Third, investment buyers,” says P. Suresh, managing director, L&T Arun Excello Realty. “Chennai is an end user driven market. Our experience in Potheri is different. We find a well-proportioned mix of end user and investor buyers,” says Mallika Ravi, CEO, Lancor Holdings.

The Hindu:Property Plus, 29 May 2010
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  1. bhuvaneshwaran
    February 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm | #1

    wow next chennai m m nagar great government

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