Thursday, July 17, 2008

Call it what you will

The name 'Abbotsbury' today brings to mind the block of apartments on CP Ramaswamy Road. But there was a time when Abbotsbury was the hall of choice for hosting celebrity weddings. Somewhere along the way, the stars crumbled around it and the owner - one of the founding partners of Tarapore & Co. - willed it to his company on his death. For some reason, Tarapore did not develop the property and it lay vacant until it was gifted away to the Sai Baba of Puttaparthi. The Sai Baba also did not appear to be interested in holding on to it and the place was sold to the Balaji Group, promoted by Magunta Subbarami Reddy, a Member of Parliament, in 1994.

The Balaji Group began construction of what was rumoured to be a "7-Star Hotel", at a time when the category was non-existent. The Oberoi Group, with their experience in running luxury hotels, was to manage the property and so it came to be known as the 'Magunta Oberoi'. However, when Subbarami Reddy was murdered by Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh in December 1995, the Balaji Group lost direction; the Magunta Oberoi project fell through.

Every once in a while, there would be a report that a hospitality major was taking over the property. Over the past dozen years the names that have done the rounds include Intercontinental, Hilton and Hyatt. Now, there are two banners across the gates - one claiming 'Ramani Hotels, Mumbai' to be the owner and the other staking the claim of 'Robust Hotels'. Through all this, the building still stands half-constructed, with its glass paneling facing Mount Road hiding the unplastered bricks at its rear, hoping to someday add 323 rooms to the Chennai hotel market!


PS: The title of this post is in some sense inspired by my fellow Chennai-daily-photo-blogger Ram's post about the same building!

6 comments:

chennaidailyfoto said...

i also saw the two name boards last week and that brought the smile on my face on reading the confusion ......

Ram

magiceye said...

seems jinxed! now the 2 groups will fight endlessly over what belongs to him until a third party will arrive to lay a claim!

Sometimes I don't, sometimes I do said...

>> Ram>> Wonder how many more will come by!

>> Magiceye>> You're right. There is an urban legend that the property is hexed... it was supposedly owned by the P&T department at one time and they conveniently let it go from their hands...

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