Chennai Corporation’s auction of rented spaces in Alwarpet, R. A. Puram ‘flops’. No takers for run-down properties.

The auction of renting shops and office spaces of Chennai Corporation at its blocks in Alwarpet and R. A. Puram seem to have been a failure.

Held on Oct. 12 at the GCC zone office in Teynampet, there were only five bidders who picked up spaces in the two complexes. Some 40-plus spaces did not even get bids / offers.

The reasons for this are manifold, and they are neither appreciated nor investigated by the GCC senior officers handling its properties, which are located in prime places in the city.

One, while ground floor spaces are grabbed quickly by retailers and food joints if they see great business potential, hardly anybody now wants to rent spaces on the first and second floors.

Here, GCC’s rates are still 15 – 20% higher than prevailing rental-commercial rates.

In the current rental auction for its Teynampet zone properties, GCC’s base rate was Rs.55 per sft for offices on 2nd floor while the going rate hovers around Rs.42/38 per sft.  GCC jacked up its rentals to Rs.80 per sft. some 3 years ago, saying the area commands good rentals. This drove out some 95% of its renters from both complexes. The spaces decayed the past three years.

This sentiment was shared with the ARO at the Teynampet rentals auction by people who walked off when the options did not appeal to them.

More importantly, these properties are not repaired, white-washed and annually maintained by GCC. This time, ( auctions of properties in all zones were held on Oct,12) all shops spaces auctioned are in a bad shape. GCC went ahead and offered run-down spaces for a stiff rate – this kept off many people.

The auctions were advertised only in what may be termed small circulation newspapers, so the development was not widely known.