A 33-storey building, likely to be the tallest in the city, and possibly the State, will soon come up near Chennai Central station. Sources in the Chennai Metro Rail, which is constructing the building, said it will be part of the Central Square project that integrates the Chennai Central Metro station with various other transport hubs and seeks to transform the locality. The towering structure will come up opposite Chennai Central station.
This building will be 150 m high and used for commercial development. “We will call for a tender and lease it out to a concessionaire. The firm will have the choice to use it either as a shopping mall or office space or a combination of both,” an official said.
But before construction, a mammoth task awaits CMRL in obtaining a series of No Objection Certificates (NOC) and planning permissions from several agencies in the city. “We need to get clearances from various agencies, including the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) and Airports Authority of India (AAI). Though this structure is quite far from the Chennai airport, we still want to get a certificate from the AAI to avoid any problems in future. Also, an Environment Impact Assessment also needs to be done,” an official said.
Experts said a detailed study is necessary before construction is feasible. S. Rajarathnam, former director of The Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management, Anna University, said, “The city falls under seismic zone III. So it should be designed in such a way so as to be earthquake and cyclone resistant. There are special design rules stipulated by the government on building such high-rise structures. They have to study the soil strata, characteristics and its behaviour during vibrations. If all the conditions are adhered to and the planning permissions are in place, it is possible to build this structure,” he added.
S. Santhanam, former member- Chief Urban Planner, said, across the world, there are high-rise structures which have been beautifully built and the city too needs such buildings. “If they receive all the clearances, which I think they can, it will be nice for the city have such a tall building. Once upon a time, the LIC building used to be tallest. It’s high time we have well-built tall buildings,” he added.
Disaster management expert N. Mathavan said any new multi-storey building near the Chennai Central station will increase the risk during any disaster event. “The Chennai Central Metro Rail station is going to be a crowd-puller. Chennai is already a vulnerable place. The evacuation of people from such a huge building during any disaster event may be challenging in that location. The security risk may also be high,” said Mr. Mathavan.
( Inputs by Aloysius Xavier Lopez and Deepa H Ramakrishnan)