The city's eastern waterfront is likely to get a new iconic look over the next four years as the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) readies to appoint a design consultant.

On Wednesday, the MbPT will open financial bids of the six shortlisted consortia to prepare a design concept. After one of them is selected, a formal nod from the Board of MbPT is likely by December 10.

The shortlisted bidders include 3TI Progetti Italia Ingegneria Integrata SPA in consortium with Jones Lange LaSalle Property Consultants-Architect Hafeez Contractor, Perkins Eastman Design Consultants with STUP Consultant-IL & FS Township and Urban Assets, Voyants Solution in consortium with THR Innovative Tourism Advisors and Knight Frank, Surbana Jurong in consortium with SMEC India-Boston Consulting Group, HCP Design, Planning & Management in Consortium with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Unity Consultants and Townland Consultants in consortium with Tata Consulting Engineers-CBRE South Asia.

According to Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of MbPT, "There will be space for entertainment, leisure activities, and recreation."

The entire planning involves linking the waterfront facilities with the overall east coast development of Mumbai's last open lung space; like cruise terminal, marina, Ro-Passenger ferry services, inland water transport, water sports, etc. The master plan is also being prepared to unlock the commercial value of the land, which is among the last remaining untapped spaces of Mumbai. Other plans include sea front walkways, promenades, plazas, floating restaurants, public transport such as - roads, water, metrorail; parking places, cycling tracks, entertainment hubs, heritage tourism places, theatres, convention centre, marine museum, etc.

The total area of MbPT is spread over 721 hectares, of which customs and port operations cover around 200 hectares. The port land development plan involves 500 hectares, of which only 150 hectares is readily available for immediate development. Out of the 500 hectares, 350 hectares has been marked for development and the balance 150 hectares for allied facilities.

"In next six months, a detailed plan to develop the eastern waterfront will be prepared. Thereafter, it will take a year to begin the work," said an MbPT official.

The development of port land involves rehabilitating about 14,000 slums at the Darukhana area near Reay Road.