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The halls of a mansion, where the Malayalee Club will function, resonate with accounts of a massive construction effort.
The doors of a new building on Club Road in Chetpet — from where the Malayalee Club, beyond any soupcon of doubt the oldest association for Keralites in Chennai, is to function — will soon swing open for visitors.
The building where the socio-cultural establishment, now 119 years old, functioned was demolished in 2011 and the new building that’s coming up in its place is in the final stages of completion.
Over the years, the old building had not undergone any significant structural changes. It was a simple structure.
“It lacked a solid master plan. It did not have guest rooms, restaurants or any significant facilities for its members,” says M. Nanda Govind, president of the association
When he took over the reins of the Club in 2002, Nanda Govind together decided that the Club needed a facility that would highlight its importance.
“We realised that demolishing the old building and raising a new one in its place would be better than just revamping it; this way, we would be able to bring an array of facilities under one roof,” says Nanda Govind.
A 72,000 sq.ft. mansion characterised by an architectural style one associates with the Travancore Palace, it has “a massive auditorium; a well-equipped modern kitchen; a multi-cuisine restaurant; a lounge bar; 24 guest rooms; two suites; banquet halls; conference and board rooms. Only members and their guests can avail the facilities,” he explains.
That’s not it!
“In the next three to four months, the third and fourth floors will have a high-end restobar, a gym and a spa,” says the entrepreneur and activist.
As the Malayalee Club was closed for five years, funding the construction project was difficult for Nanda Govind and his team. Work even came to a standstill briefly due to fund crunch.
“We took funds in part from banks, members and donors. However, the funds received in this manner still failed to meet the requirements. The construction came to a standstill. We did not want the project to fall through and continued looking for various other funding options. South Indian Bank finally provided further funding, with which we were able to step up the construction,” he recalls.
The Malayalee Club currently has around 1,500 active members; in the last one year, over 100 joined the Club. The membership fee, earlier Rs 1 lakh, has been raised to Rs 3.45 lakh.
“We welcome non-Malayali members too,” says Nanda Govind.
“Once the General Body reviews and approves the applications of non-Malayalis, they will be given membership and can enjoy the same privileges as any other member here.”
To be a part of the Malayalee Club, contact Nanda Govind at 9840046116.