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Mumbai's Heritage Conservation Committee Awaiting Decision to Demolish
Shelley's Hotel at Colaba to Make Room for New Planet Hollywood Hotel

By Bhavika Jain, Hindustan Times, New DelhiMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

July 21, 2010--MUMBAI -- A world famous luxury hotel amid a heritage precinct? This dilemma has been troubling the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee for two months.

The committee is studying a proposal to demolish the 70-year-old Shelley's Hotel at Colaba to make way for a 20-storey luxury hotel to be built by international hotel chain Planet Hollywood along with Shubh Hospitality Private Ltd, the current lessees of the plot.

If the proposal is cleared, the Hollywood-themed hotel will come up on the 5,000-sq-m plot across the road from hotel Taj.

It would be Planet Hollywood's second hotel in the world. The first Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino opened at Las Vegas in 2007.

However, heritage activists are not keen on the proposal as Shelley's Hotel is located on PJ Ramchandani Street, where all buildings are collectively listed as heritage structures. They want the committee to take a strict stand on the issue because the decision would set a precedent.

"Planet Hollywood reasons that Taj hotel too is located here. But it was built in early 1970s when heritage rules were not drawn up. Since we now have heritage rules in place, we must adhere to them," said historian Sharada Dwivedi.

"The height of the structure is the main issue. The proposed plan will increase the height of the hotel up to the new wing of hotel Taj," said a member of the heritage panel requesting anonymity. "Planet Hollywood wanted their hotel to be done up with glass façade, but understanding the nature of the area now they said they would tone down the construction."

Heritage panel chairperson D.K. Afzulpurkar said: "There are norms that need to be observed with regard to the height of structures in such precincts. The panel will study the proposal to see if it is in keeping with the heritage guidelines and then take a decision."

The firm has sought a higher floor space index of 5.3 as per the CRZ rules.


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