A mall that had open with such fanfare and noise, City Center shut down permanently a few years ago. At that time the developers of the mall cited many reasons for this.
WHY CITY CENTER SHUT DOWN?
The primary reason according to its developers was that in a city where there is demand for just three malls, Navi Mumbai has 35. This has resulted in a huge oversupply of retail space and the satellite city just does not have the potential to absorb the volume. Shortly after its inauguration, City Center had even had days of near-stampedes on weekends but the moment other options like newer, swankier Inorbit and Raghuleela came next to Vashi railway station, City Center started battling for survival. In the case of City Center, that came up on a warehouse plot for agricultural produce, the key reasons for the mall’s failure were poor planning, inadequate research and sold-out models. And most importantly being in APMC market area in Sector 19D Vashi, the infrastructure accessibility was its biggest failure.
VIOLATIONS GALLORED IN CITY CENTER MALL WHEN IT WAS OPERATIONAL
Of the many violations that came to light, one was grave fire safety violations. This came to light when a fire was reported at the mall when it was partly operational.
PERMANENTLY SHUT DOWN MALL A HEALTH HAZARD AND DANGER FOR CITIZENS
There are many dangers that the permanently shut-down mall poses to citizens. Two basement parking of the mall have accumulated water as much as one sees in swimming pools. It stinks and has the most unhygienic conditions apart from being a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other deadly diseases.
WATER IN BASEMENT MAKING FOUNDATIONS WEAK AND CAN BRING DOWN THE STRUCTURE
Experts say that the water that has been accumulated since years is weakening the foundations and over time can even bring the structure down. Thereby posing life threat to citizens around the area.
WHO WILL PAY THE LOSS OF PROPERTY AND OTHER TAXES?
Any residential or commercial building that comes up in any area of the city, must pay taxes for maintaining civic services in the area among other things. As the mall has shut down and in the absence of strict laws and rules for such cases, question is who will bear the loss to NMMC and other authorities losing taxes year after year?
ARE OWNERS OF THE PLOT CONNIVING TO TAKE OVER PROPERTIES OF SMALL TIME INVESTORS AND SHOP OWNERS AT THE MALL?
Another grave allegation is that the owners of the plot are purposely delaying decision and action on the closed mall so that they can eventually take over the properties sold to small time investors, brands and buyers who purchased shops in the mall with hopes of doing businesses.
ONLINE SHOPPING A THREAT TO MALL CULTURE
With online shopping on the rise and buy back guarantee on most popular and trusted brands available at door step with home delivery, malls are facing new challenges and threat for survival. Online shopping giants are soon going to be the first reason for many other malls to shut shop. And in addition to this, global recession, economic slowdown and various stringent real estate laws, after effects of demonetization makes it difficult that real estate market demand will rise again like it did in days of new mall culture.
NMMC AND CIDCO MUST DRAFT NEW LAWS AND RULES TO AVERT CITY CENTER LIKE SITUATIONS IN FUTURE
The present condition of City Centre mall calls for immediate and urgent attention and action on part of the state government’s Urban Development Dept., CIDCO and NMMC who must look into this case to understand what needs to be done and how such cases should be dealt with in future. A joint efforts with various builders associations and authorities is the need of the hour.
With bureau inputs, Zeba Warsia for NMTV News.