Sunday, November 08, 2009

MG Road loses sheen to Metro

MG Road loses sheen to Metro
Deepa Bhasthi | TNN

Bangalore: Not too long ago, an MG Road address was the most prestigious thing for an office or a shop. However, during the real estate boom, prices went through the roof. Now, it’s a shadow of its former glorious self.
Several large buildings on this stretch are waiting for tenants, one mall has closed and a swish store is moving elsewhere. With Metro Rail work on in full swing, the road is congested and dusty. Commuting and parking has become a nightmare. This is keeping potential businesses away, say experts.
Balakrishna Hegde, immediate past president of Credai, told STOI the Metro Rail work was chiefly to be blamed. “Real estate being expensive is a relative term. In Mumbai, some properties in the Central Business District may cost 3-4 times more than Bangalore. For big brands, rentals don’t really matter as much as having a presence on such a road,” he said. “There is a possibility of redevelopment of old buildings. But a developer will wait till Metro work is over,” he says.
Shops and office space is increasingly falling empty along the stretch.Lido Mall, which replaced the landmark Lido theatre, was home to several international brands, apart from housing a multiplex and upscale restaurants. Now, there are posters announcing, ‘Mall closed for customers due to renovation; inconvenience regretted’.
The official spokesperson of the chain refused to confirm talk of a major retail and household chain coming up there in the next 3-4 months, saying a decision is pending.
What remains is a coffee chain, multiplex and a restaurant. Metro work started soon after the mall opened.
The Bombay Store is also moving elsewhere. Store officials say the company had leased the building for ten years and as that period is ending, it’s moving elsewhere.
The good news is that once Metro work is complete, the sparkle should be back on MG Road.
Many buildings lying vacant
No retail outlet has set up shop in last two years
Congestion, traffic woes keep potential businesses away

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