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Delhi’s World Trade Centre to soon be ready for business | Latest News Delhi

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Over the last few weeks, metallic sheets that shielded a massive construction site at Nauroji Nagar in south Delhi for close to three years have begun to be gradually removed, slowly revealing our first glimpse of the national capital’s first World Trade Centre (WTC) — the sparkling glass façade of 12 newly built 10-storey towers.

Delhi’s World Trade Centre will primarily have the offices of private corporations, government departments, and public sector undertakings. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photos)
Delhi’s World Trade Centre will primarily have the offices of private corporations, government departments, and public sector undertakings. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photos)

The site, which is spread across 25 acres of land, have replaced 600-odd residential quarters that housed government employees for close to five decades — one of seven general pool residential accommodation (GPRA) colonies in the city, along with Sarojini Nagar, Nauroji Nagar, Kasturba Nagar, Netaji Nagar, Srinivaspuri, Mohammadpur, and Thyagraj Nagar, which has been redeveloped.

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Read here: NBCC sells 2 lakh sq ft commercial space in South Delhi’s World Trade Centre for 828 crore

The project, licensed by New York’s World Trade Centre Association (WTCA), has 3.4 million sq ft in commercial area, and selling space here raises much of the funds required for redeveloping the seven GPRA colonies.

“As of now, four of the 12 buildings are ready to be occupied. Two central government departments have already started functioning from the complex,” an official from NBCC — a public sector undertaking under the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) that is developing the site — said on condition of anonymity.

Senior NBCC officials said the target is to complete the construction of the WTC and the sale of commercial space by the end of the current financial year, with 80% of the space already sold, with some of the successful bidders including HDFC, GAIL, Petronet LNG, and Oil India.

“WTC’s accreditation has raised its marketability, and hence, we are confident of finishing the entire sale by the end of the month,” the official quoted above said, adding that the proximity of the airport, Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station, Central Secretariat, Bhikaji Cama Place, and the Yellow and Pink lines of the Delhi Metro make it an attractive destination.

What the new WTC means for Delhi-NCR

WTCA currently has member properties in more than 90 countries. Mumbai was the first Indian city to have a WTC, and currently, more than 30 Indian cities have such properties, including two cities in the National Capital Region —Noida and Gurugram.

The foundation stone was laid in May 2018 after WTCA granted NBCC the licence in September 2017.

This space will primarily office private corporations, government departments, and public sector undertakings. In addition, there will be a landscaped retail and food and beverage plaza with terrace gardens, and will have a three-layer underground parking structure with a capacity for 8,000 cars.

In addition, a four-story school building will be given to the civic body as part of social infrastructure.

Offering a large floor area for offices in the heart of south Delhi makes WTC a “notable development”, said realty experts, because in the last decade, noting that many private companies seeking such office spaces have chosen Gurugram and Noida over the national capital. “The strategic location with frontage on Ring Road, with power backup, green design principles, and ample parking solutions collectively make this project an option worth considering for businesses in search of accessible office spaces,” said G Hari Babu, national president of the National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).

Vibhor Jain, managing director at Cushman and Wakefield, said, “Delhi has always been a supply crunch market from a commercial office availability point of view, and this is after a long time that a large floor office is available due to this project.”

He said that the location alone cannot guarantee the project’s success, but a WTC with the right mix of amenities is a good destination in itself. Referring to the existing Ansal Plaza and Bhikaji Cama complex near the project, he said those properties do not have the qualities to attract top-tier clients and lack the required modern amenities like power backup, centralised parking and civic upkeep.

How the project will affect traffic on Ring Road

WTC is located right on Ring Road, which serves as a major transportation artery connecting various traffic hotspots such as DND-Ashram, Lajpat Nagar, South Extension, Moti Bagh, Dhaula Kuan, Rajouri Garden, and Punjabi Bagh, and is located close to two of the Capital’s largest medical facilities —Safdarjung Hospital and AIIMS.

In August 2018, the Delhi high court stayed the WTC project for two years, citing environmental concerns, including apprehensions about the traffic situation in the area. The stay was finally lifted in February 2020, after the court was satisfied with no-objection certificates from the concerned departments and the compensatory afforestation promised by the government agencies.

However, experts feel that an increase in traffic volume on Ring Road is unavoidable, given the project’s magnitude.

“There might be a need to increase (traffic) capacity for making U-turns below the Bhikaji Cama flyover,” Sewa Ram, head of the transport and planning department at School of Planning and Architecture.

Ashok Bhattacharjee, a former director of planning at Delhi’s apex traffic and transport body UTTIPEC, said the authorities should ensure there is enough pedestrian access to the WTC campus, and explore how the access to public transport such as the Metro and buses can be made easier for officegoers.

In addition, MoHUA and subordinate departments, Delhi Development Authority plan to build a 14-km elevated corridor from INA market on Aurobindo Marg to the Mahipalpur underpass, which will serve as an alternative route from and to the airport. Sewa Ram said that this should address some of the traffic concerns.

Green and safety features

The WTC project has an integrated building management system with 100% predictive maintenance of all electrical and mechanical systems. Facility operators can oversee and control all services on one screen. Access to the site and buildings will be restricted via radio-frequency-controlled smart tags for occupants, which will be used for parking, boom barriers, and lifts.

Light poles on the campus will also double as WiFi hotspots and public address systems in times of potential distress. The entire campus will have modern fire detection and response systems. In case of fire, lighting and signage for emergency exits will be automatically turn on, and 10% of the windows will open automatically for smoke extraction. There will be smoke extraction facilities in lifts and lobbies.

Read here: 80% commercial space at World Trade Centre in Delhi sold: NBCC

Solar panels on rooftops will generate 800 kilowatts of power, and lights in all areas will be sensor-activated to modify energy usage and increase intensity based on requirements. Following the GRIHA-3 energy efficiency rating, the buildings will have a combination of double cavity walls and double-insulated glass, thereby reducing the need for air conditioning.

Officials said the building will follow a zero-waste model for solid waste and water. The facility will have two in-house sewage treatment plants with a combined capacity of 1,800 kilolitres a day. “All used water will be reused for flushing, and the treated sewage will be used for horticulture,” a second NBCC officer said.

The basement will have a central waste collection system, in-house compactor facilities, and anti-odour treatment. To capture rainwater, the site has 26 pits, each having a capacity of 66,000 litres.

However, some concerns remain.

“The three levels of basements and edge-to-edge construction in the project means that there is no space to plant trees, and the natural water table of the area in a water-stressed city is disturbed,” said Vallari Sheel, an environmentalist based in Delhi.

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