Only one company has submitted proposal for the ambitious and much-anticipated ‘Destination Entertainment Hub’ planned on Sabarmati Riverfront, leaving the Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Limited (SRFDCL) in a quandary.
“We are in a dilemma as the proposal may raise questions about transparency and competition but rejecting it could further delay the project. We have sought guidance from higher authorities within AMC and the urban development department,” said a senior SRFDCL official.
Another factor is the direct competition from GIFT City in Gandhinagar which, too, is looking at setting up a similar entertainment zone with almost the same specifications.
SRFDCL has earmarked a 45,000 sq m plot on the eastern stretch, between Atal Bridge and Ellis Bridge, because of cheaper real estate rates compared to the western bank.
This area initially lacked major infrastructure and hence the aim was to attract a day-tripping clientele with a vibrant entertainment hub. SRFDCL floated the tender in November 2023, setting a minimum annual rent of Rs 45.60 lakh and a 30-year lease.
Its request for proposal sought detailed proposals, design layouts, and plans for a minimum Rs 75 crore investment.
While the deadline was extended after companies raised queries, only one company named Imagicaa submitted a formal bid by January 16. In a desperate move, SRFDCL authorities relaxed the minimum investment criteria, but that too failed to encourage firms.
“International bidders said the plot size was far too less for them to set up the entertainment zone,” said a senior SRFDCL official.
The revised valuation policy implemented in Oct 2023 for attracting international players has not helped either. The Sabarmati Riverfront Land Disposable Policy 2023 approved by the SRFDCL board on Oct 18, 2023, divides the riverfront land into eight value zones and sets a price formula for short- and long-term leasing.
The land was intended to be leased for entertainment purposes for 30 years. “But this revised policy too has been unable to attract investors,” the SRFDCL official added.