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Before land auction: Real estate bigwigs assure CDA of support

Capital Development Authority. STOCK IMAGE

Capital Development Authority. STOCK IMAGE

ISLAMABAD: Representatives of the Islamabad Developers Association (IDA) — an influential commercial real estate lobby — met with city managers on Monday and discussed issues faced by developers in terms of land use plan.

The meeting came before the two-day commercial land auction planned by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) for Tuesday (today).

The civic agency plans to present, for bidding, nearly 25 commercial plots at different locations including Blue Area during the two-day auction.

“It was an issue-focused meeting that remained positive overall,” said Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries Vice-President Akram Farid.

He represented some 20 real estate executives who attended the meeting at CDA Headquarters through the IDA platform.

The lobby enjoys support of top real estate investors of the city and in February 2015, after unsuccessful negotiations with CDA, it announced to boycott auction proceedings. The move resulted in the postponement of a planned sale by the authority.

“IDA has assured all-out support and full participation in future commercial land auctions,” said Ramzan Sajid, the CDA spokesperson.

He said justified and admissible suggestions presented by the association had been accepted by the civic agency, adding that other proposals and ideas would be given due consideration too.

We asked the CDA for commercial property assurance based on accurate and onsite survey of property it offers during auction, Farid informed.

He explained that it would help investors understand the pros and cons of any property before investing.

“It happens sometimes that after giving the highest bid against a commercial plot, the investor comes to know that the land lies on a depression, or some IESCO instalment is located on it, or sewerage or water pipeline is passing through it,” Farid shared. The situation leads to stoppage of instalments to the civic agency by the investor which generates unnecessary litigation, he added.

Now, he said, the CDA has agreed that it would issue property assurance in the form of a no-objection certificate when offering the plot for auction, declaring that the site is ready for construction and clear of all hurdles.

According to a report presented by the authority before the National Assembly Standing Committee on Cabinet Secretariat in January 2015, currently receivables worth Rs9.5 billion on account of sales of residential and commercial plots are stuck due to litigation and reasons mentioned above.

Farid said CDA also agreed that investors would be allowed in future to establish site or sales office on commercial plots subject to full payment of property and irrespective of approval of building plans.

“How will an investor pay the quarterly instalment if he would not be allowed to establish a sales office at the auctioned plot,” Farid questioned.

Issues related to planning parameters, development of indoor car parking basements, extra setbacks, and extended spaces between two commercial plots meant for construction of high-rise residential cum commercial buildings also came under discussion.

A senior planning wing official of CDA said due to the ongoing slump in commercial real estate market, investors now want extra facilities which CDA was forced to extend, as sale of commercial property is the prime source of income generation for the authority.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 13th, 2015.

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