• Wednesday, Oct 28, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:20 pm

The place that once was and the place that once will be

  • Published at 10:54 pm July 27th, 2020
The place that once was and the place that once will be

Chittagong’s urban landscape is still dominated by the oh-so-familiar four or five-storied buildings that were developed in the 80s and the 90s

“An Arab trader, a Portuguese pirate and an Arakanese farmer walk into a restaurant one evening” – no, this is not the setup to a joke but rather this is a very plausible situation in Chittagong,where the decedents of these people have probably found themselves in a similar situation countless times without even knowing it. That is the best thing about the second most populated city of Bangladesh. It is a city with 2,000 years of rich history and has been a melting pot of several nationalities throughout its lifetime.The city, the people, the culture and even the real estate has been as diverse as it gets.

But the modern landscape is different. Just like everywhere else in the country, waves of changes are replacing a lot of the old architecture to things anew,and along with it, the way of life.

The port city is on the fast track of growth and development. The past 10-15 years or so have paved the way for a self-sufficient and modern Chittagong.Much of the economy and the lifestyle of the people of the city have transformed significantly and continues to transform with each passing day. More and more people are becoming independent from their families. Disbanding traditional joint family schema in favour of individual units, opting to join a separate profession instead of going into the family business.

As a result, the demand for real estate, both residential and commercial,in Chittagong is at an all-time high, and it will, no doubt, continue to increase as the completion of several major infrastructural projects nears completion and others begin.

For most of its history, Chittagong has been a business-oriented city. The city grew around the port and it still, very much, lies at the core. But the commercial activities have expanded countless folds to incorporate every form of business possible in a thriving metropolis – which has allowed several commercial zones to bloom throughout the city.

Back in the day, it would be Agrabad and the areas near the port that could be considered commercial zones of the city. However, that is not the case anymore. Places like Muradpur near Panchlaish have become busy commercial districts. But overall, a number of areas of the city have taken on a more hybrid role where commercial and residential properties coincide in near equal footing.

People’s homes have been going through a transformation of their own in Chittagong.High-rise apartments are making their presence felt in the port city as developers remain busy trying to outdo each other on their unofficial competition of providing better and more lucrative housing solutions. More established real estate developers such as Sanmar Properties Ltd,Equity Property Management Ltd and Epic Properties Ltd are having to compete with up and comers such as AirBell Development Technology Limited,who are trying to make a name for themselves in the local real estate scene with projects like Swapna Chaya and Helianthus.

Places like Khulshi, Panchlaish, Jamal Khan and North Kattaliare at the forefront of real estate development.Individual property owners and developers are constructing beautiful and luxurious products all throughout these locations. As a result, modern apartments and even duplexes can be seen in those areas.

Even though the number of these apartment-style homes is growing every day, the urban landscape of Chittagong is still dominated by the oh-so-familiar four or five-storied buildings that were developed in the 80s and the 90s. After all, Chittagong is a generational city with generational homes where familial bonds are still tighter than most other urban areas and a majority of the locals prefer to settle there.Maybe that is why the city is still able to hold on to what makes it so special —fresh air, oneness with nature, kinship with the community and a diverse group of people who all love the port city with all their hearts.

There are plenty of buildings that have a few trees next to them or maybe a charming little hill. As a result, at least for now, it is almost always possible to behold the sight of the majestic Karnaphuli River from atop a seven or eight-storey building anywhere in the city. But soon though, that might not be possible as modernization of the urban landscape continues.

While the march of progress for Chittagong has been going on at full speed,  it is unfortunate that for a city that has been greatly influenced by multiple nationalities throughout its history, of which, the British ruled for nearly two centuries, there are only a handful of remnants of the past — even of the recent past.The Central Railway Building is perhaps the most noteworthy structure of that bygone era. Once, places like Kazir Dewri and the New Market area hosted a number of houses from the old days. However, those are just memories to the people now as, in order to make room for the new, the old had to be brought down.

And no one can dispute that the real estate scene in Chittagong is not booming. People all over are looking for newer, better, more comfortable homes that have modern luxuries one might need or want.Every month, thousands of people are on the hunt for a new place to rent, a new place to buy. Ticking along with it is the ever-continuous progression of infrastructural development. There are still many things that need improvement. But the good thing is, much of it is already on the way — opening up new and better opportunities for all sectors and all businesses across Chittagong, including real estate.

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