Chennai Citi Centre – Reactions to the Evacuation Notice

Chennai Citi Centre

This is a sequel to Vatsan’s post on Chennai Citi Centre. The deviations noticed by the CMDA are

1. Parking space has not been provided as per the approved plans
2. The approved plan suggests that they provide parking space for around 350 vehicles. Some of the
parking space has been utilized for commercial purposes.
3. The mezzanine floor to is not mentioned in the building plan.
4. The terrace houses a roof-top restaurant that is also not approved.
5. A total of 20,000 sq ft of additional space has been utilized without approvals in place.

What the occupants, the promoter and CMDA have to say about the evacuation notices served by the CMDA ?

Chennai Citi Centre

The Economic Times Madras + of Saturday, April 7 reports the reactions on the Citi Centre violations.

Suhail Sattar, Director, Hasbro says ” I am hoping my business doesn’t get affected. I have been assured that there is a solution. I think the authorities should be pro-business and pro-violation. A little leniency has to be shown in the larger interest:

Kabir Lumba, Executive Director, Lifestyle International has the following to say
” We are completely law abiding. It is the mall owners who have to take a call and we have full confidence in them to find the remedial measures at the earliest”

Himanshu Chakravarti, COO of Landmark states ” The space we have in Citi Centre is completely within legal norms. Speaking of water supply being cut, we aren’t affected. We have a complete power back up in the case of electricity being cut”.

Vinay Nagpal, Cookie Man franchisee told ET M+ “The most important thing is that most buildings do have some kind of deviation”

Chennai Citi Centre

A K Abdullah, Director of Citi Centre says ” We are taking the necessary steps. We are taking remedial action. Beyond which I cannot comment as of now”

According to CMDA’s Vice Chairman ” The planning permission was approved for the building in 2004. The notice for the deviations was issued in October 2006. The deviations still continued to happen. A show cause notice was also issued telling them that the security deposit will be forfeited was also issued” On whether the security deposit was forfeited and the builder’s reaction, he stated that “the money they gain through their commercial endeavour through such deviated spaces is much more than the security deposit”

ET concludes the report saying that one of the occupant has received a letter of assurance from the Management and there will be solutions other than demolition.

Chennai Citi Centre

A reading of the reactions reveal that the occupants are anxious that they are not disturbed from their place of business. The promoter appears to be taking remedial action, but is not willing to comment on that. CMDA’s comments raises some questions

1. If deviations are noticed in October 2006, why they did not make it public then ?
2. Why the CMDA waits till the entire building construction is completed and thereafter on account of deviation in plan sanction initiates evacuation notice and notice of demolition ?
3. It may not be possible for CMDA to inspect each and every building that is being constructed in Chennai. Why not inspect atleast the malls, large residential projects and the IT Parks that are being built for possible deviations and take corrective action then and there ?

Many such questions could be raised.

While returning home in MRTS, Chennai Citi Centre looked beautiful as the train started from Light House Station. The Roof Top Restaurant was having a giant television screen. Possibly the World Cup Match is being telecast. Business appears to be as usual at Chennai Citi Centre, inspite of the evacuation notice served by CMDA on the occupants.

( This post quotes extensively from the Economic Times Madras Plus of April 7, 2007. Photographs of Chennai Citi Centre shot on December 31, 2006)

15 Comments so far

  1. John Adams (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 11:13 am

    We Love Chennai Citi Centre Mall.Its really the first and only true modern mall and multiplex we have in all of big Chennai IN 2007.Its has since commission slowly become the pride of all Chenniates,its architecture,design and mix of retail and restaurants.We have already had so many memories there with our family and friends.It is the most popular place for all Chennai and hence come into notice.I hope and i m sure a solutions would be found very soon and this issue will pass away.Which building in Chennai is free from some deviations.


  2. Farida Jalal (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 1:44 pm

    They should destroy the unapproved deviations with immediate effect. Any CMDA official who is accepting money for approving deviations should be put behind bars for 15 years. This should be publicized in all major newspapers and media.


  3. ram (unregistered) on April 12th, 2007 @ 4:54 pm

    Is it proper to justify somthing which is illegal even though if it is beautiful? What if I am going to build a beautiful mall right on a lake? will it be justified?
    When people are questioning why CMDA has not done this and that at this and that point of time, why is it nobody finding fault with the promoter who has carried out some illegall construction.
    We have developed an attitude to find fault with any and every action of Govt, Govt departments due to unrelated bad experience of us with some of the govt departments. Such an attitude is not correct.
    We can quote one fault as an example to justify another fault. Then everything in ths city in the future will be at fault


  4. John Adams (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 3:59 am

    ETA the promoters of the mall are a huge and a well renowned group doing some wonderful projects in India and esp Chennai. I am sure they will do what is needed to be done to comply with various authroties and protect the building completely from any furthur problems.The Chennai Citi Centre Mall has become such a popular and most loved destination among all of Chennaites.Chennai feels better place to live today with all the offing of Chennai Citi Centre Mall as the city has been for many years now terribily starved from any good modern malls or entertainment in the form of new age multiplexes like seen in all other major metros of India.Chennai has been last.It is today,the pride of New Chennai’s Retail revoution which is just now only begining as it is the first and only mall cum multiplex we have in such a huge city.I am hoping Ampa Mall will open soon.


  5. Arun Kannan (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 7:25 am

    It looks pretty. Odaikaradhu romba easy…kattaradhu romba kashtamnnu solluva!


  6. KR (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 1:30 pm

    “Pro-violation”? Nice. If the CMDA sticks to it stand, then most of Chennai should be razed down. Bunch of jokers.


  7. ag (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

    it is clearly a case of ‘bargain falling through’ between CMDA and Citi Centre. Citi Centre mall authority should have anticipated this move by the familiarly turncoat CMDA and should have avoided the deviations. Their careless attitude may cost them dear. and how is it CMDA always reacts after the place is well established (Chennai Silks, Saravanas etc.). Why can’t they make things public at an early stage.it would be a shame to lose places like the Citi Centre.


  8. gokul (unregistered) on April 13th, 2007 @ 7:53 pm

    the chennai citi centre mall will not be demolished, according to ETA star,the construction partner which said that the amount of deviation was limited to 6% and that would be rectified within a period of 6 months…….


  9. Thad E. Ginathom (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 5:03 am

    ……or until they cease being able to get away with it?!?


  10. Ramki (unregistered) on April 14th, 2007 @ 10:36 pm

    The Basic Issue in case of Chennai Citi Center which majority of visitors face is the extreme lack of decent Two Wheeler parking space within the Mall..

    Actually, the 2 wheeler parking space for this Mall is just too inadequate considering the footfall that the mall gets – Let me say this – the Abhirami Mall (in Purasawakkam), which is much smaller has a much better 2 wheeler parking space than Chennai Citi Center.

    This is the biggest deviation that CMDA should be concerned. What the promoters of Chennai Citi Center forget is that today’s two wheeler owners are tommorow’s car owners/high value shoppers and adapting a rough attitude towards Two Wheeler parking folks is very bad.

    Just try to park your bike in evenings on Weekends and you will know – at times, they simply shut the parking gate telling- no place to park. This is the worst thing about Chennai Citi Center.


  11. John Adams (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 12:30 am

    How can one possibly compare Chennai Citi Centre Mall with Abhirami Mall.Abirami Mall is just a small complex built over and old set of run down Abhirami theatres of decades past.The Abirami developer has not even bothered to upgrade his theatres to the 21st century standards.Its like stepping into 1970’s.The concession stands are soo dingy and so lacking any class or quality.Greedy,Greedy developer only intrested in making money.Never interested in bringing up the standards that todays customers demand and have a right to get for the money they pay.Also that place plays only Tamil movies.No English or Hindi,Telugu or any other.So its no multiplex.Chennai Citi Centre Mall is Chennai’s first and only true modern mall multiplex we have.Its still very small compare to all the better retail mixed larger sized malls of Mumabai,Delhi and even Bangalore.Parking is tight on weekends and at times difficult accepted but atleast we have this one mall in such a huge city of Chennai and we are well into the century its 2007.Its still the only mall Chennai has today when cities like Bangalore our biggest competitor for every industry esp retail where its beating us has atleast 4-5 like Forum,Garuda,Eva,Sigma,Central,Lido to name a few.Chennaittes have been starved with any quality malls ever being developed by greedy local builders only building residential or commercial office space which requires less planning,creativity,imagination. So its been left to builders from outside Chennai to come and tap this humungous demand that exists here for quality organised retail malls.For now in 2007 we dont have any other real mall till Ampa Mall opens.And have you seen the pace at that mall is progressing.Its soo poor the execution is snails pace.This city and its people when compared to all other metros have been starved of quality retail malls in many locations or any entertainment centres within like large sized multiplexes.Our heart and soul cries out for Chennai Citi Centre.It will always be know as Chennai’s first true modern mall multiplex of the 21st century and the retail mall revolution beckons this rapidly developing global city.


  12. Ramki (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 11:54 am

    John Adams,

    1. I am generally with agreement with your views…. I am certainly not for closing/downsizing the Chennai Citi Center.. it is the only decent mall in this biggest City of South India. What i want is that the owners should treat 2 wheeler parkers decently. Maybe they can raise the parking ticket to Rs 25 , but management must stop humiliating people in bikes trying to park.

    2. Otherwise you are generally right… Chennai , despite its Size doesnt have a single decent Mall.

    Here is my view on the so called other malls of Chennai – (none of them is really a mall)

    Abhirami – Their parking is good, but that is only thing good… Their theaters are not in 1970s, they are actually in 1950s, looking so bad and worn out. Also the mall is so tiny…

    Spencers – No doubt the only big decent one in Chennai, but Spencers lacks a multiplex, so no entertainment , all that you can do is shopping stuff.

    Ispahani – Is it really a mall? More like a neat but tiny shopping center, with a few high end shops and Coffee Day. A joke i say…

    Nothing else there otherwise… we hv to wait for Ampa Mall – that one is going slower than tortoise, so maybe will get ready only next year.


  13. Ramki (unregistered) on April 15th, 2007 @ 11:59 am

    Another Question is – Why is that such a Big city like Chennai, (supposed to be the pioneer of retailing culture) does not have any Decent Quality Shopping Mall? Why there are no new projects also coming up? That too despite being so much cosmopolitan city, with lots of Techies working here….

    One friend says that the powers that rule the state want all the people to sit at home, watch SUN/Jaya TV and chew on Kurkure/Popcorn. Donno if this is the case. But Very Strange I say….


  14. John Adams (unregistered) on April 20th, 2007 @ 1:14 am

    Well its high time such a rapidly developing,fast growing,city like Chennai,the Gateway to South India and the largest city in the South overtook the likes of saturated Bangalore in the retail mall and multiplex arena.God knows there is enough and overwelming demand,well well over the very little quality supply on offer.Ampa Mall when it opens will sometime mid-late this year should set the retail and multiplex revolution only now hitting the city(so very late) well on course for bigger and brighter days to come.Something like PVR Cinemas(Best Multiplex Company in India) is what this city is waiting for most anxiously.Its set to explode to among all of Chennaittes.Hold on to your seats,pray on and keep waiting with bated breath that it wont be long now.


  15. Raj (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 9:01 am

    No doubt, Chennai citi centre is a great place, like Alsa mall, prince plaza in 90’s, spencers from early 2000’s and ispahani in mid 2000’s. There is another new mall people flock there……but deviation is pretty much a different topic!

    As Ramki pointed out, there is not much space for two wheeler parking. It is not a courtesy to give enough 2 wheeler parking but a standard. Is there a capacity planning happening before a commercial construction is approved.

    Interestingly, the citizens are not given an opportunity to complete information on any such happenings. One fine day things will be in all the news papers, few days till it spreads around, and then “who knows”. There should be official website which will have all the events tracked to closure.



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