A view of the Jayalakshmi textile mills at Singanallur in Coimbatore. A textile mill here that was closed down almost 20 years ago and remained out of use since then has been renovated to host a trade fair this week. Vijaya Fair Grounds on Trichy Road was earlier Jayalakshmi Mills. It was closed down in the 1980s. The nine-acre campus at Singanallur had staff quarters, guest house, office rooms, working sheds and separate rooms for various plants at the mill.
Since it was not in use for so many years, trees, shrubs and weeds covered the entire premises making it look almost haunted, according to the representatives of the local chapters of the Association of Consulting Civil Engineers (India), Builders’ Association of India and the Indian Institute of Architects. They told on Saturday that the three associations would organise BuildMat 2009, a construction fair, at the grounds from January 23 to 26. The location, parking facilities and huge built-up area made the campus ideal for trade shows. In Mumbai, several old textile mills had been renovated into exhibition halls, they said.
The associations planned and worked on the site for over six months to convert it into a trade fair ground. The main buildings of the mill were still very strong. The huge halls had several pillars and concrete roofing. The strong, huge windows gave enough ventilation. Hence, it was decided to retain these as exhibition halls. The quarters and guest house were brought down. One of the structures at the entrance was renovated and was now used as an office space.
The campus already had roads and the ground had been cleaned and levelled. About 300 cars could be parked inside apart from two-wheelers. The premises had three exhibition buildings and a dinning block. These halls together could hold over 10,000 people at any given time. The organisers of the fair were putting up temporary walking space in front of the halls, air-conditioners and a food court too.