Curated By: Business Desk
Last Updated: September 07, 2023, 11:30 IST
Connaught Place, also known as CP, holds different meanings for various people. For the common Indian, it’s a shopping paradise in Delhi, a top-notch hangout spot and a preferred culinary heaven. For international visitors, it’s a must-see destination. Meanwhile, for retailers, it represents the ideal workplace, a dream location to establish their businesses.
Connaught Place, constructed by the British Government in 1929, was completed within a span of five years. Subsequently, it was christened after the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, a British royal figure. The credit for its architectural design goes to the British architect Robert Tor Russell, who collaborated with Nicholas in creating the blueprint. Russell is renowned as the mastermind behind Connaught Place’s architectural concept, which drew inspiration from notable structures in England like the Royal Crescent and the Roman Colosseum.
Following India’s independence, Connaught Place transformed into a bustling hub for both business and cultural activities. Today, it stands as one of the world’s most high-priced commercial districts. Indeed, if you work in this vicinity, you are likely operating in one of the most expensive areas globally. However, the ownership of these buildings remains a significant mystery to the general public, leaving many to ponder who holds these prime properties.
A user named Shivam Tiwari, on the social platform Quora, explained that there are numerous property owners in Connaught Place. From a legal standpoint, the true owner of this area is the Government of India. However, prior to independence, a majority of the properties in this location were rented out at relatively low rates, often just a few hundred rupees. It’s even noted that some individuals had the opportunity to lease as many as 50 shops.
Under the Old Delhi Rent Control Act, properties that were rented out before independence were subject to an annual rent increase of 10 per cent from the base price. So, for example, if in 1945 an owner had rented a shop for Rs 50 and adhered to this act, the rent would have only seen a modest increase over the years, resulting in a relatively low rent even today. It’s interesting to note that this situation hasn’t changed significantly even after seven decades.
It’s a remarkable contrast that while the property owners who rented out space in Connaught Place may only receive a relatively small rent, the current tenants, which include expensive brands like Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Warehouse Cafe and many banks, are generating substantial monthly earnings, often in lakhs of rupees. This disparity means that the original property owners are typically earning only a fraction of what the current tenants are making, despite owning the property.