Three metro stations dotting a two-kilometre stretch, a wide two-way thoroughfare and an address that leading retail brands are competing for — Second Avenue Road on Anna Nagar is now a posh shopping hub bustling with life, a dramatically different picture from a year ago, when the metro rail construction had just finished.
Since the end of 2010, when phase-1 metro constructions began in the area, the roads were dug up and barricaded, traffic turned chaotic and shops began relocating as the area was almost cut off. Now, a year after the road is widened and metro rail has become operational the transformation is complete with the locality getting back in business.
While the newly-opened showrooms are looking at brisk sale, existing shops which suffered huge losses are experiencing a revival. S Prabhakaran, manager of a leading consumer electronics shop near Anna Nagar Tower metro station said, “We opened our showroom six months ago. From 2012 to 2017, it was a difficult time for traders because sales took a heavy beating as Second Ave nue Road was made into a one-way and parking was not allowed. The losses ranged between 20% and 30%,” he said, adding that business had improved in the past few months and new brands were setting up shop. “Reputed chains, including several restaurants had relocated. That phase has ended with new entrants moving into this area,” he said.
Anna Nagar is a home for several political leaders and noted personalities such as MDMK General Secretary Vaiko, TNCC President Su Thirunnavukkarasar and ÁIADMK Minister K Pandiarajan. Before traffic diversions, the locality was an important business centre of west Chennai.
But the one-way rule and with a majority of road space taken over for construction of underground stations, there was hardly any room for business establishments.
S Nagoor Kani, owner of a stationery shop said customers had dwindled. “I was on the verge of shutting down my business due to heavy losses. I pulled through hoping that the scenario would change and, now the change has begun,” he said. “Four big retailers and a hospital moved out of here and are yet to return,” he points out.
A few traders are yet to see the boost they expect. “The changes in Anna Nagar haven’t helped and add to it the losses due to demonetisation. I am reeling under a 20% loss. The business though better than before is still not on a par with the years before 2012,” said L Gopalakrishnan, a textile shop owner.
Yogesh Kabirdoss, The Times of India, Chennai