State invites fresh bids for redevelopment of MLA hostel at Nariman Point

Mumbai: After one failed attempt to attract takers, the public works department (PWD) of the Maharashtra government last week issued a fresh tender for the redevelopment of the Manora MLA hostel at Nariman Point. The cost of constructing the proposed swanky multi-storey buildings is expected to go up significantly, from a projected 850 crore to over 1,000 crore.

When the PWD department invited bids for the redevelopment of the hostel last year, it garnered responses from three leading real estate players—Tata, L&T and Shapoorji Pallonji—of whom the first two submitted only a technical bid. Shapoorji Pallonji submitted a financial bid but it was over 1,200 crore, reportedly way above the 850 crore that the government had set. This compelled the government to invite tenders afresh by tweaking certain conditions to attract a better response.

“The cost estimate for the redevelopment was done in 2018 and is expected to go up substantially now,” said a PWD official. “If even after three calls, the quoted cost by bidders remains high, the cabinet sub-committee will take a final call.”

After the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) gave its nod to FSI (floor space index) of 5.4 for the project which falls partly in CRZ-II, almost all the permissions required are in place. The redevelopment, to be carried out on a 13,429-square-meter plot, is likely to take at least a few more months to begin. The state plans to construct 850 rooms, measuring 600 sq ft and 400 sq ft in two towers of 25 storeys and 45 storeys.

Shashi Prabhu, the state-appointed architect for the project, said that this time around, the government expected more bidders on account of the changes made in the bid documents, a sentiment corroborated by P P Bangosavi, superintendent engineer of PWD. Both expect the project to take off fairly soon.

The delay in the redevelopment of Manora has been costing the state exchequer a whopping sum. In the absence of hostel rooms, MLAs get up to 1 lakh a month for alternative accommodation, and law-makers have been getting this rent from February 2018 onwards when the BMC announced that Manora was unfit to stay in. The government has already paid more than 115 crore towards transit accommodation rent to members of both houses.