Builders raise safety bogey, nix move to open up tech park roads

Say such facilties will drive multinationals away

The State government’s plans to ease traffic in Whitefield and the Outer Ring Road by opening up roads inside the tech parks for the public has hit a roadblock. The Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Associations of India (CREDAI), Bengaluru, has turned down the proposal saying that any such move would only “hurt the government”.

“These are not practical solutions. Nowhere in the world tech parks have thoroughfares. Where is the safety if these roads are open for public traffic. It  will lead to exodus of MNCs. The government will be making a mistake by opting for these short-term measures,” Suresh Hari, secretary, CREDAI Bengaluru, told Deccan Herald.

Noting that one has to maintain the sanctity of workspace, he suggested the government to have a fast and time-bound plan to improve the situation on the ground.

Urban planner V Ravichandar, who made a suggestion to the government to open tech-park roads as thoroughfares, said that it cannot be implemented if developers resist. He, however, said that opening roads will benefit the tech-park promoters.
Fall in rentals predicted.

The poor infrastructure is already taking its toll on rentals in Whitefield area. “Rentals in Whitefield are half of those on ORR, because of the poor road connectivity” Vinod Chandran, vice president and managing director of Brocade, says.

“By opening their roads, developers will get better rentals. I don’t know why they are not doing that,” he wondered. Several senior executives said that they are not going to renew their leases after the current agreement ends. They, however, refused to be named or quoted.

“Traffic is a headache. Some big MNCs located in traffic-congested areas might be moving out to a better place to improve their productivity. But we will find someone else to occupy that space though rentals may not be the same as paid by MNCs,” Chandran said, pointing out that builders will have to compromise on rentals.

“There is a 20 per cent decline in rentals,” he said, but added that there is no crash.
Pratik K Mehta, Managing Director, Unishire, admits softening of rentals in the Whitefield area due to large supply of office space and poor infrastructure.

Currently Whitefield rentals vary from Rs 30-35 per sq ft whereas ORR operates upwards of Rs 50 per sq ft, he says. Companies are preferring ORR and North of Bangalore where infrastructure planning is better and rental values are affordable. “The other market which is getting benefited through this is Electronic City wherein rentals are much lower and owing to the Expressway, commuting is far better,” he opined.

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