DELHI: The Delhi Development Authority has decided to increase the cap on total floor area for hotels by up to 66 per cent, DDA vice chairman Balvinder Kumar said on Friday.
The authority will increase the floor area ratio (FAR) or floor space index (FSI) — the ratio of the total floor area of a building to the size of the plot on which it is built — to 3.75 for hotels outside the Lutyens zone that stand on roads with more than 30-metre width, up from existing FAR of 2.25. This means the gross floor area across different floors of such a hotel can be 3.75 times the size of the plot.
In the case of hotels next to roads with width of under 30 metres, again outside the Lutyens zone, FAR is being raised to 3.25, up 44 per cent. While some hotels like the Leela Palace in Chanakyapuri will benefit from the move, industry experts say most other hotels might not because the ground coverage has not increased, and older buildings may not be able to support extra floors.
"Hotels will have to examine whether vertical expansion is possible given the strength of their buildings as ground coverage has not been increased," said Saeed Shervani, executive member of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India and a hotelier himself. DDA had increased the FAR for hotels from 1.5 to 2.25 in 2008 to help increase the number of rooms in the city for the Commonwealth Games, but at the time it had also allowed 10 per cent more ground coverage because of which some hotels had added rooms.
Hotels in Delhi's Lutyens Bungalow Zone—like the Taj Mahal, Shangri La, Le Meridien, The Oberoi, Taj Palace, ITCBSE -0.95 % Maurya and Claridges—will not profit from the new rule because of heritage laws. Even hotels being built near the airport in the new hospitality district will not benefit because of height restriction. "Without extra ground coverage, it will be difficult to utilise this additional FAR," said Sushil Gupta, chairman and managing director of Asian Hotels, which owns the Qutab Hotel and the JW Marriott at the Aerocity.
Rajiv Kaul, president at The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts, welcomed the move. "This is extremely valuable real estate so we will definitely find the best possible usage to render it most marketable," he said. Leela Palace in Delhi has the opportunity to add over 125 rooms in a tower over its banqueting space or do a mix of retail, residences and rooms to maximise its value.
Delhi has around 14,000 approved hotel rooms. When DDA increased FAR last time, hotels like the Hyatt Regency did construction on additional space. The hotel had added close to 15,000 square metres of space by building a serviced apartment block along with some commercial area.