If your plans for winter afternoon outings included window-shopping on the riverfront besides lazying on a sun-kissed bench listening to the rippling water enjoying hot chaat and gossip…revise your plans. For, the riverfront stretch at present is yet to come alive with the hustle and bustle of shops and eateries, which the civic body had promised last July, and may need even more time.
Why? For the idyllic picture "A shop, just beside the river, with fresh cool air and at a posh locality like riverfront stretch…" that the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had painted, did not sell well among prospective bidders. And therefore, the auctioning of 26 shops, constructed beside the riverfront garden near Subhash bridge, still lies in limbo.
But take heart, all's not lost. Though disheartened at the lukewarm response, the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) has decided to go at it again and this time, they are hopeful of their dreams bearing the desired result. It has thus invited expression of interest (EOI) again for these shops' auction.
Speaking to dna, one of the officials of SRFDCL said: "Our earlier attempt to auction shops on lease garnered poor response. As we want more competition and better prices for these shops, we have decided to invite EOI for the second time."
Out of the total 26 shops, SRFDCL has constructed 19 general shops and seven shops as the food court. While shops meant for the food court received four applications, general shops got none.
Going by entry fees and ticketing system data at the riverfront garden, nearly 1,000 people visit the garden daily and the footfalls increase to 5,000–6,000 at weekends.
Executive director for SRFDCL, M Thennarasan said: "Looking at this, we see a huge potential for such shops and activities like food court and amusement park."
Whether it's the slowdown in real estate or the slightly remote location of the garden that did not gel well with bidders nobody is sure, but the results of the first attempt was indeed despondent.
While trying to explain the abysmally low response, Thennarasan said, "I believe that there was not much awareness about these shops when we floated EOI for the first time. But this time, we will ensure that there is enough publicity."
Or, was the offset price of the shops too unaffordable? No, said Thennarasan, explaining that the price for lease is very much in alignment to the existing rates. The offset price is Rs10,000 per shop per month, while for food court shop, he said, the offset price is Rs30,000-38,000 per shop per month.