Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Tuesday, October 6, 2015, Aswin 21, 1422 BS, Zilhaj 21, 1436 Hijr

Inordinately Rich Obaidul Karim - Part 3
The inside story of how City Centre grabbed
Published :Tuesday, 6 October, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 51
Jibon Islam
The beauty and uniqueness in design of a glasshouse in the capital cannot spare your eyes. Also, it's the tallest building in Dhaka's commercial hub.
Dhaka City Corporation is the owner of the land on which the building now stands. It was earmarked for constructing a transport pool. Former Mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka had appointed the Orion Group as its developer. Being situated in the heart of the capital, this is the most attractive building at a costly spot.
Former Mayor Khoka knows it well what benefit he had derived from allowing this valuable land to be used for constructing a commercial building. There is a pressing need for a transport pool in this commercially busiest place, Mayor Khoka cheated with the Dhaka dwellers by allowing construction of a commercial complex over this valuable land. It is not now possible to get any reply from Khoka as he has apparently settled in the USA permanently.
The land bearing holding number 90/1, Motijheel Commercial Area, Dhaka-1000 was supposed to see a building wherein a car parking place would be there. The entire building should have been developed as a parking place, but the main purpose was ignored. It was an urgent need to cater to in a city that often experiences traffic gridlock due to haphazard parking of different modes of vehicles.
This lucrative land was not touched by anyone until 2004 when the then Mayor Khoka's eyes had fallen on it. Orion Group did not pay for being owner of the land. It was simply the developer of this complex. But through dubious means the Group grabbed the land from Khoka. The Group did not care for a parking place, it turned it into a commercial building with ulterior motive. Khoka, through a deed, gave 70 per cent of the land to Orion Group as a developer.
Under the agreement, the Group would get 70 per cent share and DCC 30 per cent. Accordingly, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the DCC and the Orion Group. Subsequently, construction of the complex, better known as City Centre, began on September 21, 2004.
As per the MoU, the basement floor (first to forth floor) of the 37-story building would be owned by the developer, while the DCC would get the ownership of seven floors starting from the first, which was supposed to be used for car parking. Again, the DCC would get the ownership of 8th floor (13,499.28 sft), 9th floor (13,002 sft) and 10th floor (2,656 sft.). Orion Group would be the owner of 27 floors of the 37-story building including four floors under the name of basement floor and 11,000 sft space in the 10th floor.
Besides 27 and a quarter floors, Orion Group also purchased 8th, 9th and part of 10th floor measuring 29157.28 sft from the DCC. The Orion, however, tried in different ways to purchase the parking spaces that are located in one to seven floors measuring 94500 sft.
The total space of the City Centre is 482413 sft, including the DCC's parking place of 94500 sft. But the Orion Group alone owns 387913 sft.
City Centre is the tallest building built ever in Bangladesh. It is the first building of Bangladesh to offer multi-storey car parking facilities. Besides, there are rooms for small indoor convention centre and recreational area, as well as a wide atrium filled with greenery. The building is constructed for commercial use but is open to the public. The entire building contains a premier restaurant open to the public.
When asked his comments about the allegations of grabbing the land in a dubious way, Salman Obaidul Karim, Managing Director of Orion Group and son of Obaidul Karim, declined to make any comment.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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