Monday, July 6, 2009

Sea link hits Worli property prices Assetventures

With the Bandra-Worli Sea Link now open to the public, real-estate prices in the once tony residential area of Worli Sea Face are set to change.

According to real-estate experts, increasing traffic and the consequent noise and air pollution are bound to have a negative impact on property prices along the promenade.

"Individuals who may have wanted to shift to Worli Sea Face will be put off," said Anuj Puri, managing director, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, a real-estate consultancy firm. "There are many issues like pollution, easy access to buildings, and security of children due to the increase in vehicular traffic."

Residents are already complaining that noise levels and air pollution have gone up. Moreover, the exit of the sea link has created a bottleneck, ruining the peace of the locality. The press of the National School for the Blind is on this road which, interestingly, is designated a silence zone.

While Puri did not think that prices would crash, he said they would stabilise, "they won't appreciate. The impact will be such that if anyone wishes to sell their property, they won't get a good price."

Even the hitherto quiet hillock of Pochkhanwala Road will now suffer heavy vehicular traffic. In fact, some residents anticipated this problem some months ago and moved into the western suburbs, selling off their properties when prices were still good.

"A CEO of a top information technology firm sold his property a few months ago as he anticipated noise and traffic problems," said Pranay Vakil, chairman of Knight Frank India. "The fact is that the value of properties along the Sea Face has now gone down."

On the other hand, experts say the sea link has brightened real-estate prospects in the western suburbs. "The key word is infrastructure," said Vakil. "It increases connectivity and with better spread comes better prices."

N Raghunathan, a former chief secretary of Maharashtra and resident of Priya building on Worli Sea Face, is now spearheading a campaign against the exit of the sea link. Raghunathan and other residents have written to the state government and even the prime minister about the problems.

Their claims are not unfounded. Town-planning expert Chandrashekhar Prabhu said he had read the note prepared by Raghunathan and agreed that the area, once an open space, is now a hub of pollution.

"They are cent per cent correct in the assessment of the aftermath of the sea link," Prabhu said. "Worli Sea Face is surely becoming the most polluted area for no fault of the residents."

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