Anthony’s High School, automobile repair shops, books, China Chowk, Christian community, dome, Dr M Dubbeleere, history, John Lawrence, Lahore, Lahore Zoo, Lawrence Gardens, Lawrence Road, Mall Road, office space, readymade clothes, Regal Chowk, Retail space, Roman-Byzantine, Sacred Heart Cathedral, Sacred Heart School, serenity, standalone shops, steeple, Syed Wajeeh-ul-Hassan Naqvi, tailoring services, towers, turrets, Viceroy of India
Named after John Lawrence, Viceroy of India (1864-1869), Lawrence Road is one of Lahore’s oldest thoroughfares and stretches between China Chowk and Regal Chowk. Several historic landmarks are located there as well as several commercial enterprises.
A magnificent Cathedral… Sacred Heart Cathedral, Lahore’s largest church, is located on Lawrence Road. Established in 1907, it was designed by Belgian designer Dr M Dubbeleere in the Roman-Byzantine style. This magnificent structure has a steeple that rises to 165 feet, flanked by two towers, and an imposing 120 feet high dome surrounded by four elegant turrets. Today, as Easter is celebrated, members of Lahore’s Christian community will attend morning service at the Cathedral and the sounds of hymns will resound throughout the premises and beyond.
Around the Cathedral… Several historic buildings established during the Raj are located near the Cathedral. These include two educational institutions (Sacred Heart School and St Anthony’s High School) as well as two of Lahore’s most popular recreational avenues –Lahore Zoo and Lawrence Gardens (which houses two libraries). Commercial activity has increased over the years, with shops that offer tailoring services, books and readymade clothes, a few eateries, as well as an enclave where several automobile repair shops are located. A slew of low-rise buildings have been constructed recently, primarily providing office space.
The real estate take… Lawrence Road is completely built-up and vacant plots are not available; commercial property options include office space, retail space and standalone shops. Due to its prime location near Mall Road, commercial property is in high demand. Property prices have appreciated by approximately 30% in the last five years, while rentals have increased by nearly 20%.
In a nutshell… Due to commercialisation in recent years, Lawrence Road is characterised by chaotic traffic especially during rush hour. But, its architectural splendours serve as a testament to its history and evoke the serenity of the days gone by.
– Syed Wajeeh-ul-Hassan Naqvi
First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on April 6, 2014.