Chennai is the capital of Tamil Nadu and the fourth most populous city in India. Strategically located, it is also the most prominent port in South India. Chennai’s urban agglomeration, known as the Chennai Metropolitan Region (CMR), is spread over 1,189 sq km and consists of parts of Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, apart from Chennai city. According to Census 2011, the total population of the CMR was 8.7 mn.
Chennai is divided into four broad zones: North, Central, South and West. It may be noted that being a coastal city facing the Bay of Bengal, Chennai does not have an eastern market.
Chennai is known as the “Detroit of India” for its automobile industry. It is the fifth-largest city and fourth-most populous metropolitan area in the country. Chennai has a broad industrial base in the automobile, computer, technology, hardware manufacturing and healthcare sectors. The city is base to around 30 percent of India's automobile industry and 40 percent of auto components industry. According to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Chennai is estimated to grow to a US$100–billion economy, 2.5 times its present size, by the year 2025
Central Chennai is the oldest and
most developed part of the city, with numerous corporate offices located in the Central Business District (CBD) areas of Anna Salai, Nungambakkam, Egmore, Nandanam and others. Excellent connectivity with various parts of the city, good physical and social infrastructure and the presence of organised retail have ensured that this zone commands the highest property prices in the city.
The saturation of residential areas in Central Chennai has encouraged real estate development towards the west of the city. This area has evolved itself as electronic hardware corridor in Sriperumbudur, and the auto and auto ancillary manufacturing units in Oragadam. Multinational companies, such as Nokia, Dell, Samsung, Saint-Gobain, Renault-Nissan Alliance and Hyundai, have set up their units here.
South Chennai is evolving as a commercial hub along the OMR and Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road, with the presence of a large number of IT SEZs, IT parks and manufacturing units. Nodes such as Perungudi, Sholinganallur and Siruseri on the OMR, along with Tambaram and Mahindra World City on GST Road have created enormous employment opportunities in this region.
North Chennai is primarily an industrial area dotted with locomotive workshops and port-related activities. The two major ports, namely Chennai Port and Ennore Port, are located in this region. Factors such as the non-availability of vacant land, narrow arterial roads and lack of employment opportunities have restricted the real estate growth of this region as compared to other parts of the city.
Chennai is bound by the Bay of Bengal on the eastern side, thereby restricting its growth to the other three sides of the city. Backed by excellent road and rail connectivity, the city has been expanding three ways over the last few decades. However, development on the northern side is subdued as compared to West and South Chennai, mainly due to the presence of several industrial pockets and port-related activities in the north.