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Ravi Menon a business leader as first co-worker

Posted on by Track2Realty
Gen Next Business Leader

Bottom Line: What it takes to emerge as a business leader for a second generation when the father has built a legacy of trustworthy brand? Not living in the shadow of father and at the same time not sitting on the laurels of past achievements is really challenging for the scion. Ravi Sinha meets Ravi Menon, Chairman of Sobha Ltd who has today created his own identity. 

Ravi Menon, Chairman Sobha Limited, Real estate professional in India, Beast property professionals in India, Best developers in India, Best real estate brand in India, Bengaluru property market, Bangalore real estate, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news Realty Plus, Investment in Sobha property, Track2RealtyIt is 8PM and the corporate office of Sobha Ltd at Sarjapur-Marthahalli Outer Ring Road, Bangalore wears a deserted look as most of the employees have left for home. A casually dressed young man is still working with a graphic designer on the open floor space.

On first look it seems the not-so-performing employee has been given a dressing down by the management and compelled to work till late. But wait! On a closer look the employee turns out to be the young scion of India’s most admired real estate company.

Meet Ravi Menon, Chairman of Sobha Ltd and son of PNC Menon whose legacy gives the son liberty to rest in his cabin and enjoy the laurels that the company has earned. But it seems there is something professional in the DNA of this family. Hence, the colleagues respect Ravi as first co-worker in the office whose personal involvement and eye for detailing is what has helped brand Sobha to get to the next level of brand reputation.

In a business like real estate where the shelf life of employees is pretty short and the parting ways is often painful and unpleasant, Sobha employees respect the team leader for his dedication and personal involvement. It is the dynamism of the second generation entrepreneur that today Sobha has a very cosmopolitan culture and the company has attracted right talent from diverse backgrounds from all parts of the country.

“In his mid 30s he has completely sacrificed social life as his only dedication is to work; making sure the processes are improved. I have not seen any other second generation in the business working like this,” says JC Sharma, VC and MD of Sobha.

Top 5 business mantra 

Focus on product is the key

To deliver it at the right price point is market differentiator

Timely delivery is key to gain respect

Ability to sell in a focused manner is critical 

Building a brand is a long term plan and right path will help build a long-term sustainable brand 

Stepping stones

For Ravi it was a conscious decision to carry forward the legacy of family business and immediately after completing his Civil Engineering Degree from Purdue University, US, he joinedthe then nine year oldentity, which had already established a strong brand in Bangalore, and was known in the market for high quality development work.

“It wasthe interest in architectural design,and buildingstructures that led me to study and work in this field, and fortunately for me I got a fabulous platform to begin my work experience with Sobha and my father. Sobha was a company that always had a culture to bring the best technologies and practices from across the globe and incorporate them in the local context,” says Ravi.

Under his leadership, Sobha has been working on some of the most unique projects in India.For a young business leader the work is engaging and provides challenges and this environment is full of excitement and stimulation.

Before joining, did he ever thought work culture & demands of this business would compromise his personal life/freedom?“I consider myself fortunate to be working in a business that I enjoy. This naturally leads one to get passionately involved in every aspect, to learn more and at the same time bring gradual improvements and further strengthen the business. When I am not at work, the rest of my time is completely spent with family,” he says.

As a matter of fact, after graduating from university,and then moving to India,he had the realisation that his knowledge about the business and the country was not up to the mark. He nevertheless took it as a challenge to learn it on the job. Fortunately, he hadthe opportunity to interact and learn from his father, PNC Menon whose professional acumen is globally acknowledged.

Sobha’s Initial Public Offering (IPO) was at the end of 2006 and this was the opportunity for him to understand deeper about the business. He could learn as to how dynamic the business is and it is important to understand the cycles, trends, changes in policies that affect the business. His work ethics nevertheless makes him learn new things everyday.

In the context of the Indian real estate, many second generation entrepreneurs had to struggle to change the brand philosophy after taking over the mantle. Majority of them even struggled to cope with the petty shop mindset within the organization. Ravi Menon, however, has been fortunate to share the same brand philosophy of his father.

“My father is manwho is extremely passionate about his work; has the highest values systems; and delivers products only at the highest levels ofquality standards. He attracts and employs the besttalent towork with him. The brand Sobha was built only because of the firm focus ondelivering international quality products on time,” he shares.

There has been no clash of generation in this case because th framework of brand Sobha was well defined in terms of the product, financial structure, land strategy, and sales & marketing. Ravi maintains that while the company may continuously look at the relevance and effectiveness of this business framework at any point of time and slight changes and fine tuning are made, even now the broader framework which was defined is still very much relevant and gives them competitive edge.

It’s my choice

Your role model in life & real estate: My father 

Your favourite architecture globally: Burj Khalifa and Emirates Towers in Dubai

Your favorite real estate market: India

One thing you dislike about real estate: Sector not given industry status to harness true potential

Turning point

Every professional has his turning point. What has been the defining moment for Ravi Menon? He thinks Sobha’s first integrated township project, Sobha City in Thrissur, Kerala, is the kind of landmark project that makes him proud. It is a 55 acre campus and built around a 6.5 acre man-made lake that is one of the largest rainwater harvesting facilities in the country and caters to Sobha City’s total potable water requirements. The Sobha City Mall, their first commercial retail venture which opened in 2015, is a landmark development that makes him feel like a personal milestone.

Ravi’s brand philosophy is pretty simple to be focused on improving the quality of products consistently. He believes that brand perception is shaped by the quality of products and hence he has been conscious of the quality of products and its timely delivery. Today, a large number of Sobha buyers are repeat customers and they are growing by word of mouth.

“Our brand philosophy hinges on ‘passion at work’ which signifies our attention to minutest details, carried out passionately. Our company’s overall brand personality is that of obsessive perfectionist. We deliver what our customers need. Moving forward to the next level is a part of the journey that we are undertaking daily,” he says.

Open letter to stakeholders 

“I believe that Government has already taken few steps and is likely to take few more positive steps to bring real estate sector in the mainstream. With RERA coming into play, there will be more transparency and accountability in the system. Push for Smart Cities, Housing for All and other similar such programs will usher change. We all must work towards building TRUST amongst our customers and stakeholders” 

Innovation quotient

In terms of brand positioning he asserts that Sobha brand has always stood for international quality products delivered on time at a reasonable price with transparency. According to him, these are hallmarks which keep the brand differentiated in the market and he will continue with this position.

“One of the major steps that we have taken recently is introduction of precast technology to make more than 6000 homes on an 81 acre plot within the city of Bangalore. Two years back we stepped into an altogether new segment which is called Dream Seriesfor the first time. We have erected our precast factory within the Dream Acresproject site using some of the best machinery and know-how from Germany,” Ravi shares.

A humble professional in him believes his contribution to the Indian real estate is as much as the performance of the brand. Today, he is heading a team where the processes are chained with a solid backward integration model focused at creating best quality products and highest delivery excellence. He nevertheless is open to admit that there is much more to be done in terms of improving processes, technology, skilling of manpower and living responsibly as a good corporate citizen.

What the world does not know about Ravi Menon? 

“When I was growing up, I used to watch lot of movies in Malayalam. Mohanlal was one of my favorite heroes. I have watched almost all his films in the 1990s” 

Business lessons learnt 

He has been hands on with the operations as the first co-worker. Each and every day has been a new day for him when he gets engrossed with work. He is so passionate about construction, design, architecture, marketing and strengthening the processes that he personally gets down to the minutest of details.

The young business leader thinks out of the box and comes out with ideas that could lead to market disruption. He recently conceptualised Sobha ConnectProgramme where team Sobha meets thousands of existing customers at especially designed carnival programs at their properties. This unique approach was carried for more than six months in 2016.

Sobha got connected with about 3000 of the existing customers, covered more than 4300 units in about 36 properties. Not many developers would dare to do this anticipating buyers’ backlash if the product does not meet the expectations.

Similarly, Sobha Privilegeoffered the customers promotional offers and privilege points for referrals. Then there was Sobha Alliancethat was an exclusive partnership program with an opportunity to earn by promoting Sobha homes. Similarly, for the Sobha employees he offered Sobha Advantage programme that is a sales referral opportunity.

“We also introduced the Sobha Hackathonprogram centered on the notion of innovation. Objective was to encourage our people to come up with innovative spark of an idea into a working prototype. They could choose a field they were comfortable with ranging from sales and marketing to construction and engineering. All regional teams participated and showcased their innovative ideas which are now in various stages of implementation,” says Ravi.

Future calling

Ravi is not satisfied and there are more market disruptions in the pipeline. Focus is hence shifting on more mixed-use developments in future. He believes that apart from good quality homes, people are desirous of having an aspirational life style – whether it is harmony with nature or having a sports and fitness laden set of amenities or integrated with commercial (shopping, food, business and entertainment) facilities where they can live, work and play.

Are these market differentiation borne out of challenges during the slowdown? The son in him gives credit to the foresight of father, “Sobha has been self-reliant to a large extent from the very beginning. In 1995-96, when the company faced difficulty in procuring quality wooden doors, aluminum window frames and concrete blocks we decided to set up our own factories of woodwork, glazed metal frames and concrete blocks. This was the beginning of the backward integration model.”

“Today, I can say it was my father’s foresight and vision that is working so beautifully for us. Our unique business model is our true differentiator which enables us to hold our head high and never compromise on quality,” he adds.

The second generation is really serious to take the legacy of father to the next level of expansion. The company under his leadership is working towards increasing its footprint and volume of business in the country. Amidst a growing debate that the entry of corporate conglomerates have changed the brand dynamics of business, Ravi feels both the corporates as well as core developers have a place in the market.

“Both types have unique strengths of their own. While the large corporate groups have an added advantage of their legacy, trust and financial muscle, the niche developer can go deeper and cash upon proven potential of delivery and having created excellence in their chosen field of expertise. The key lies in professionalizing the processes. Location, cost, design and architecture, quality, timely delivery and transparency will always play an important part in helping developers to command premium today and tomorrow,” he feels.

Sobha is currently working on 39 real estate projects in nine cities measuring 42.94 mn sqft and 33 contractual projects in nine cities measuring 8.96 mn sqft of developable area. In total, there are 72 ongoing projects measuring 51.90 mn sqft of developable area.

“My immediate priority is to first get these ongoing projects executed well and as per our standards and within time frame. We also plan to launch new projects in Bangalore and Chennai regions in the next 3-4 quarters measuring a total area of about 5.15 mn sqft,” he says.

Brand Sobha of PNC Menon is definitely into the safe hands of Ravi Menon. After all, he is not behaving like a boss, scion, rich or powerful but the first co-worker of the brand.

 

Homebuyers of Supertech Ecociti robbed of potable water by builder

Posted on by Track2Realty

News Point: In yet another blatant violation of norms, Supertech has siphoned off money collected from homebuyers of Ecociti project at Noida Sector 137 for the supply of Ganga water. Though the Noida Authority has issued show cause notice to the builder, it seems the builder already embroiled in many legal cases just doesn’t bother.

Supertech Ecociti, Supertech Noida Sector 137 Project, Supertech fraud, Supertech cheating, Supertech buyers' grievances, Supertech complaints, Cases against Supertech, Supertech projects delayed, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Track2Realty, RK AroraSupertech, one of the largest developers of Delhi-NCR by the market size, just seems to not care about the growing consumer grievances against the builder. The ever increasing legal cases has also not deterred the developer and the heightened arrogance of the builder does care to respond to the media as well. Worse even, the developer also takes the government agencies for a ride.

In a fresh controversy, the homebuyers of Supertech Ecociti at Sector 137, Noida Expressway are taking to streets after being robbed by the builder of what is as basic service as the potable water. The developer has collected the money from the homebuyers of the housing society for the supply of Ganga water and not deposited the same to the Noida Authority.

The nefarious design of the builder has led to limited Ganga water supply in the society. The homebuyers question what is their fault to suffer after having made all the payments asked by the builder. Though the Noida Authority has now issues a show cause notice to the builder, it seems the builder just does not care about the same.

The homebuyers have submitted a petition to the Noida Authority in which they claim that more than 1,600 flats are being deprived of their legitimate due of Ganga water supply due to an inexplicable non-payment of dues by the builder.  

The buyers after having suffered for long finally found from an RTI query that the builder, Supertech, has deposited money for only 168 flats for Ganga water supply to Supertech Ecociti. This is the primary reason why Ganga water supply is limited to one hour in Ecociti as it is rationed by the authority keeping in mind the requirements of only 168 flats.

Clearly, Supertech has misinformed the water supply authority about the number of flats in Ecociti about Ganga water requirement, while collecting money at the time of construction, as well as every month, from each of flat owner for the same purpose. This is a scam.

Besides this, the homebuyers also allege that the TDS levels in the society’s ground water is around 2000, which is poisonous, and can lead serious health issues. They have now demanded immediate intervention of the authority to instruct the builder to deposit the requisite funds for Ganga water for all residents within 30 days, and commence supply 750 litres of Ganga water to every day to each flat, which is their legitimate due.

Track2Realty asked RK Arora, CMD of Supertech to explain the reasons of non-payment for supply of Ganga water but the builder refused to speak.  

The investigation, however, finds upsetting fact about the Ganga water pipeline itself that carries water from the mainline to Ecociti’s reservoir. The builder has enacted a rip-off on this as well. The diameter of the Ganga water supply line connecting Ecociti’s reservoir with the main supply line is of 3 inch, whereas the main supply line is of 10 inch.

This is scandalous. It cuts the volume of water by half at one stroke just because Supertech, for inexplicable reasons, chose to install a 3 inch  diameter pipe, instead of 10 inch, to carry Ganga water into the society’s main reservoir.

The buyers demand Noida Authority to instruct the builder to change the main water supply line to 10 inch diameter pipe within 30 days.

Satya Prakash, a resident of Ecociti says, “It is shocking to find that the builder has deposited money with the Noida Authority for Ganga water supply only for 168 flats, whereas it had collected about INR 25,000 per flat for Ganga water supply. Also, it appears that until January this year, the builder was charging INR 210 per flat for Ganga water supply, whereas it has been supplying groundwater with extremely high TDS levels. This is playing with people’s lives, which should call for strict action against the builder.”

Sanjeev Gupta, another resident point out, “The quality of water is extremely poor. The TDS levels are very high. The builder should be asked to pay up all dues for Ganga water supply and start water supplies immediately as is legitimately due to all residents, instead of supplying unhealthy ground water.”

The residents of the housing society also demand that the STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) in Ecociti needs immediate third party audit. The STP water is drained out in the open and is so toxic that it has destroyed even the grass in the society’s lawns. The sewer line also needs to be joined to the main pipeline near Advant building with immediate effect.  

Furthermore, the drains along the boundary wall of Supertech Ecociti are uncovered and have not been cleaned and is breeding mosquitoes. These pose serious health risks, needs to be covered and cleaned immediately.

The moot point is whether Noida Authority will now take some concrete action or the builder will yet again manage the government agency after the show cause notice. It would be interesting to see whether Noida Authority manages to tame the erring builder this time.

It is not clear as to what extent the growing consumer backlash leading to media spotlight would force the builder to take corrective measures. The builder has thus far managed to evade its responsibility in many other such cases where the legal battle continues for years. However, it is a case of potable water supply which is one of the fundamental rights of homebuyers in any given housing society.

By: Ravi Sinha

SOBHA forays into Gujarat with over INR 500 crore investment in GIFT City

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News Point: SOBHA Limited marks its foray into Gujarat market where the company will make an investment of over INR 500 crore towards residential development in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City).

Sobha Logo. Sobha Ltd, Bangalore real estate, India real estate news, Indian property market, Track2RealtyWith its footprint in GIFT City, India’s 1stOperational Smart City and International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), SOBHA increases increase its residential footprint to 10 cities in India.

Speaking on the occasion, Ravi Menon, Chairman, SOBHA Limited said, “Ahmedabad is a prominent business centre of Gujarat. It isthe second largest cotton textile centre in India after Mumbai with equally strong pharma, petrochemical and automobile industries. Rapid infrastructure development over the years has augmented the IT and ITES sectors as well tremendously, making it an important investment destination. These, together, have given a fillip to commercial and residential real estate market in the city. To fulfil this increasing demand, the Government of Gujarat initiated the full-integrated city project of GIFT City between Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar, where SOBHA will contribute significantly in fulfilling the residential demand.”

With a total built up area of 1.3 million square feet, SOBHA will develop close to 1000 housing units in the fully-integrated city built on the walk-to-work concept. This investment is in line with SOBHA’s focus on developing affordable housing projects in major cities across the country. 

Commenting on the development, Ajay Pandey, MD and Group CEO, GIFT City said, “GIFT City is experiencing unprecedented growth in the commercial developments and corporate participation. We are delighted to have SOBHA committing such a significant investment at GIFT to complement and participate in GIFT’s journey in becoming a global financial and services hub. It has also emerged as one the prominent landmarks in the office market, after witnessing rapid office development by companies from BFSI, IT/ITES and other services sectors. As a result, more developments will be needed to cater to the increasing demand at GIFT City,” he added.

J.C. Sharma, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, SOBHA Limited said, “SOBHA has set benchmarks in the Indian real estate sector with its precision and international quality homes across segments. Our uniquemodel of backward integration makes us the only real estate player in India to have all the competencies and resources in-house to deliver a project from conceptualisation to completion. With our investment in GIFT City, SOBHA aims to meet the increasing demand for affordable housing while contributing to Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Housing for All’. This also aligns with the vision of GIFT City of offering world-class services and infrastructure. We look forward to working on this project and associating with GIFT City to introduce first-of-its-kind housing project.”

Spread over 886 acres of land, GIFT City features include a district cooling system, underground utility tunnel, and automated vacuum waste collection, many of which are being introduced in India for the first time. The city is designed for walkability and includes commercial and residential complexes.

GIFT City has so far received investment of over INR 11,000 crore with allotment of ~16 mn sq ft of built up area (BUA). Presently, ~200 companies are operational at GIFT City, employing around 8000 people.

Till date, SOBHA has completed real estate projects and contractual projects covering about 88.93 million square feet of area. The Company currently has ongoing real estate projects aggregating to 41.37 million square feet of developable area and 28.48 million square feet of saleable area, and ongoing contractual projects aggregating to 7.17 million square feet under various stages of construction. 

Currently, the Company has a real estate presence in Bengaluru, Gurugram, Chennai, Pune, Coimbatore, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Cochin and Mysore. Overall, SOBHA has footprint in 26 cities and 13 states across India.

SOBHA’s product portfolio ranges from a 650 sq. feet unit to the presidential villas with about 12000 sq. feet. On the Contracts side, SOBHA has constructed a wide variety of structures for corporates including office complex, convention centres, software development blocks, multiplex theatres, hostel facilities, guest houses, food courts, restaurants, research centres and club houses.

Some of SOBHA’s prestigious corporate clients include Infosys, Taj Group, Dell, Biocon, Bosch, LuLu Group, Manipal Group and others.

Greater Noida attractive & affordable rental market

Posted on by Track2Realty
Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: One of the attractions of Greater Noida property market is that it is an affordable rental market that offers quality living.  

Paramount Group, Ashwini Prakash, Greater Noida, Delhi NCR real estate, Bangalore Real Estate, Track2Media, Track2Realty, ravi sinha, india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india, ndtv.com, ndtv, aajtak, zee news, india news, property news, real estate news, 99acres.com, 99 acres, indianrealtynews.com, indianrealestateforum.com, Mumbai Real Estate, India PropertyFor a large expat workforce that depends on the rental houses across the cities, the quest has always been to find a house where the rental prices are not high. Though the rental values might seem to be undervalued in the Indian context due to higher capital values, the fact is that when compared to affordability and median income of the cities, the rental values are mostly exorbitant. This is more true in the context of the top 10 cities being the job magnet.

In the context of Delhi-NCR where Delhi and Gurgaon have skyrocketed in rental values in recent times, Greater Noida happens to be a market where the rental values are so reasonably poised that it suits the budget of working class across the budget segment.

The higher rental values are INR 10 per square feet and the lowest rental rates are INR 5 per square feet, with the average of INR 7 as rental value across the sectors of Greater Noida.

With mushrooming educational institutes along the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, this rental market is proving to be a wishful thought for the students as well.  

And hence, Greater Noida is today evolving from owner driven market to an attractive rental market. With the connectivity to Noida and other parts of Delhi-NCR improving due to the Expressway, Greater Noida is much in demand nowadays for rental housing.

“When educational institutions started setting up in the region, I knew Greater Noida would come up as an attractive rental market. In the last two years majority of the demand has come from the students. But what has actually surprised me, of late, is that now with Noida-Greater Noida Expressway even the working class is coming over here to stay and travel to other parts of Noida and NCR,” says Masood Beig, a local broker.

Nikhil Hawelia, Managing Director of Hawelia Group maintains that it is the connectivity that is adding to the attraction of Greater Noida as a place to live & work. Moreover, when compared to the cost of living with quality spaces this is one of the best not only in Delhi-NCR but across the country.

“Greater Noida offers quality housing at a very affordable price, be it for buyers or expat professionals looking for a rented accommodation. Moreover, the kind of social infrastructure that one can find within the housing societies and the neighbourhood nowadays, this is the market that is a top pick for those who wish to travel a bit but enjoy quality living,” says Hawelia.

Greater Noida Advantages 

With average rental value of Rs. 7 Greater Noida offers most affordable rental market of Delhi-NCR

Students and expat workforce major demand drivers of rental housing in the sub-city

If public transport is upgraded the rental potential of Greater Noida will be huge 

Critics nevertheless argue that the real potential of Greater Noida is yet to unfold. They point out that infrastructure alone cannot push the real estate market and what is urgently needed to elevate the regional positioning of Greater Noida is the availability of public transport. They nevertheless agree that rental flats in Greater Noida are still affordable as one can get a 2 BHK in a decent property for around INR 10,000 today.

Considering the fact real estate market in Greater Noida has not appreciated much in the last five years, this market will continue to be paradise for those looking for affordable rental housing for the next few years. Once the public transport system is upgraded and more upscale properties come up, the dynamics of rental house will drastically change in the sub-city.

Another reason that is pushing up the rental potential of the market is the realisation among the corporates about the advantages of setting up businesses in this part of the world. It is a late and slow entry but definitely the market offers much affordable cost of doing business per square feet. Along with that, it brings the workforce in this part of the world; something that is catalyst to the growth of rental market.

By: Ravi Sinha

 

Marina One elevates aspiration of waterfront apartments

Posted on by Track2Realty
Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: Amidst a number of housing projects along the backwaters of Kochi, Marina One promises to elevate the aspiration quotient of waterfront apartment in this part of the world. Ravi Sinha reviews the promising project.   

Marina One, Kochi Property, Sea view apartments, Sea Facing property, Waterfront property, Coastal property, Kochi real estate, CRZ free property, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Realty Plus, Track2Realty, Second homes, Leisure homes, Luxury homesA waterfront apartment is a dream that everyone would like to fancy about. Across the globe the homebuyers have fancied their aspirations of a riverfront apartment.

The quest for sea facing apartment is nevertheless unlike the aspirations of Richie Rich to have an apartment or villa at the peak of mountains, as second home. Most of the coastal houses in India are closer to the city centers.

But wait! Even though a substantially large share of sea facing apartments is not meant to be second homes or for the retirees, they are actually priced possessions beyond the aspirations of an average homebuyer. Such is the demand for these apartments, mostly luxury and ultra luxury properties, that a sea facing apartment today is the signature statement of being super rich.

It is in this backdrop that the project Marina One at the Marine Drive, Kochi draws my attention in the first place. Kerala, after all, is known for its backwaters. A riverfront apartment therefore prima facie gives the impression of one of the many projects sprawling across the backwaters.

The fact that the project could claim to have elements of luxury only means there is also an additional oomph factor at exorbitant cost; something that the developers in many other cities have been over-doing.

Having said this, the entry ticket size of Marina One property, that is just INR 2.5 crore, gives the impression as if this is definitely not a luxury property that is sea facing.  

A comparative chart clearly shows how any sea facing property in Mumbai would command the entry ticket of no less than INR 40 crore.  Is Marina One a mere value for money project? A closer look at the project, its marketing strategy, and the demography of the city suggests even though it is an exclusive property, it isnot meant for the super rich only.

The project will comprise 12 towers and a total of 1141 luxury apartments which is quite a sizeable inventory from Kochi’s demand standpoint. The project will have two, three and four-bedroomsuper luxury apartments with the size of the apartment units ranging from 2482.65 sq. ft. to 3710.67 sq. ft.

The property has to offer a 497-metre waterfront and a 5-acre urban park. The first phase of the project is expected to be complete by 2021. In recent past a number of national level developers have failed in the city due to regulatory challenges like the CRZ norms.

I had my apprehensions with this project as well, since both the JV (Joint Venture) partners of the project, Sobha & Puravankara, have their heavy concentration in Bangalore market. However, after reviewing the CRZ norms of the region, I realized this could indeed be music to the ears of any prospective buyer that this project does not come under the CRZ norms.

The fact that the project is a JV of Sobha and Puravankara, and Sobha today stands at the leading name in the luxury housing segment, makes me curious about the project. The track record of Puravankara over the years has equally been impressive.  

As I reach the Marine Drive, Kochi, a travel of one hour from the Cochin International Airport, the serene ambience of the place is soothing like a cool breeze. As a matter of fact, strolling along the Marine Drive the sea view in this part of the world is so captivating that it could attract anyone who can afford a house over here.

In a housing market where every other project elevation appears to be the copy & paste of one or the other project, Marina One to its credit is different in its conceptualization. The architect deserves applause for the fact that every other apartment could fetch the premium. Reason: the project has been designed like the ‘C’ letter that could make every apartment a water front apartment.

The project claims to have not just one or two but no less than 350 USPs or the differentiators. As a matter of fact, an experience center has been set up at the project site itself for showcasing the grandeur of the project, once it is delivered.

In terms of the physical infrastructure of the region, Kochi has witnessed significant infrastructure development in the recent past. In fact, it is the only city in Kerala with Metro connectivity, fueling the real estate market in the region. Marina One is located in the heart of the city along Marine Drive, one of the premium areas in the city.

The project has access to healthcare, education, recreational and other necessary facilities. The upcoming Grand Hyatt Hotel and the LuLu Convention Center, which are just 1 km away, will further boost the prominence of the location.

There is no denying that Marina One is a promising project. But it also appears to be a highly ambitious project, even from the tried & tested standards of the two developers. If only the promises translate into performance and the project is executed the way it has been conceptualized, then this will be a landmark project in this part of the world.

In terms of the competitive advantage, Marina One has in its neighbourhood tough competition with Prestige Neptune Courtyard and Tata Tritvam. However, while there is not much price difference between the projects, Marina One has better amenities, like much bigger club house of 46, 000 sq. feet for instance that will also have 50-meter lap pool.  

With some smart pricing and overall marketing strategy, Marina One could be a case study. If the project fails somewhere, it is in creating a buzz in the collective consciousness; something that many projects with lesser credentials and higher price point have done in the past.

I feel the developer should have been little smarter in its market positioning. Some more smart marketing packaging, say for instance an IPO style of sales to evoke sensation, could have created a kind of buzz that this otherwise slow moving city has not been witness to.

Kochi has a sizeable NRI population spread over the globe in general, and the gulf region is particular. The local Malayalam community is generally home sick and prefers to invest in the hometown. The price point won’t be a deterrent for the expat Indians.

Track2Realty rates this project with ‘A’ category. However, this rating could be further upgraded, subject to the promise turning into performance as the construction cycle advances. There are, of course, execution risks involved with such ambitious and futuristic housing projects.    

Multiple business districts fuels Mumbai economy

Posted on by Track2Realty
Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: Across the world the Central Business Districts (CBDs) are the barometer to assess the financial health of the given city in general and its property market in particular. Mumbai is blessed on that aspect.

india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india, india news, property news, real estate news, India PropertyIf the CBD of a given city is losing its sheen, there can be only two diametrically opposite reasons – one, the economy of the city is collapsing and the other is that the city has created many new centers of economic activity.

Without the grass root understanding of the dynamics of the CBD any verdict on the property market of the city would be just an outside view.

For example, critics in Mumbai, of late, maintain that the quality of supply and infrastructure on the outskirts of the cities have changed the market dynamics and today the Peripheral Business Districts (PBDs) are better positioned than the CBDs.

However, in a demographically complex city like Mumbai unless one would take a holistic view of the CBD and its inter-changeable relative importance to the SBDs (Secondary Business Districts) and PBDs one would not do any justice to the analysis.

If only the growing importance of BKC and Navi Mumbai as against Nariman Point is any indication in isolation, then one would tend to believe that the CBDs have lost a significant ground by all means of reputation and economic scale.

After all, the ICICI, National Stock Exchange, Reserve Bank of India, diamond bourse, all have set up their offices at BKC. Also, the MCA, Asian Heart Hospital and Dhirubhai Ambani International School and The American Consulate have preferred shifting to BKC.

But it does not mean by any stretch of imagination that Nariman Point has lost its sheen completely. Of course, it is no more viable for most of the small businesses to operate over there. At the same time for large corporates it is no more the status symbol to have their offices in Nariman Point alone.

Analysts hence suggest that each pockets of business districts should be evaluated in context to its business profile and cost of doing business per square feet.

Changing dynamics of business districts 

Nariman Point no longer the only choice of MNCs and BKC emerged as an alternative CBD

Locations like Andheri, Malad, Goregaon, Borivali, Vikhroli, Mulund most sought after Secondary Business Districts

Locations like Thane, Vashi, Panvel emerged as quality Peripheral Business Districts 

Vashi has been the business district to watch out for having appreciated 9% rental value in last one year 

Ashish Raheja, Managing Director, Raheja Universal admits that Mumbai’s business hubs have undergone a round of change. According to him, as the city spreads wider, Vashi has now emerged as a favorable office location for many multinationals and IT companies. Several other suburbs in Mumbai such as Vikhroli, Malad, Mulund and Goregaon (East) have also set up large office spaces and turned themselves to Secondary Business Districts.

“Vashi has seen the biggest rise in office rents in the region over the past year, with rents growing at 9% against an average increase only of 1% across Mumbai region. Peripheral areas are driven by a combination of cheaper rents and lesser commute times for workforce, added with all the facilities and amenities provided within the complex,” says Raheja.

Girish Shah, Director, The Wadhwa Group feels the Central Business Districts in Mumbai have been strategically located centers surrounded by excellent infrastructure. These CBDs namely Nariman Point, BKC, etc became viable options for business houses. However, as businesses expanded, the requirements for commercial segment outgrew the existing infrastructure and this saw the burgeoning of alternate locations.

“With the steady growth of MNCs, banks, financial institutions, etc, their space and human resource requirements also increased. This led to the emergence of Secondary Business Districts such as Andheri, Malad, Borivali, Goregoan, etc. Additionally, some industry preferences relied on the cost effectiveness of the locations that gave rise to Periphery Business Districts such as Thane, Vashi and Panvel. With a huge demand for commercial space that suits the needs of various businesses there will be a fine balance between these three business districts,” says Shah.

The recent development of Navi Mumbai has largely been due to the construction of the Sion-Panvel Expressway, the proposed Sweri- Nhava Sheva Trans-Harbour link and the new airport being built here. Also, when the Trans–Harbour comes in 2019, this will provide a second corridor for the development of real estate in the city.

Having all the components for an ideal residential and commercial location, Vashi is witness to a steady stream of corporate giants who are investing in commercial and industrial spaces. With ease in connectivity, good social infra in place, quality residential housing and growing commercial activity, homebuyers are definitely looking at residing here with an option of a walk to work concept.

The fact of the matter is that in Mumbai great attention to detail and leveraging of land banks has seen some of the marquee developers making inroads into these new locations and contributing to tremendous development of these SBD and PBDs.

As businesses keep growing, they will attract a number of people into the city leading to a demand for residential properties. The walk to work concept also compels individuals to buy homes close to their offices. However, this demand is fuelled by individual budget and location preferences along with the surrounding civic and social infrastructure.

Areas around business hubs such as BKC and Nariman Point will generally see a demand for high-end projects while Navi Mumbai and Vashi will see demand for affordable luxury homes. While the residential market will get a push, it will be in co-relation with the type of businesses in the particular area.  

A section of urban planners even believe that earlier the town planners designed the traditional CBDs with no exposure to the international level CBDs. The businesses then were local and catered to an economy with a GDP of 1 per cent of that time.

Now India is a global economy, with GDP expectations in double digit, the financial capital of India has no option but to adopt to the global design and modern spaces. It is hence no surprise that the SBDs and PBDs are in many cases the first choice for the multinationals and high profile businesses.

 

Whose responsibility is social infrastructure?

Posted on by Track2Realty
Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line:Track2Realty questions whose responsibility is it to create the much needed social infrastructure. More importantly, why does it always fall into the corridor of uncertainty when a developer dares to venture into something that is not directly ROI driven? 

india realty news, india real estate news, real estate news india, realty news india, india property news, property news india, india news, property news, real estate news, India Property, M3M Golf EstateReforms in the real estate can not be a one-way track. Facilitation and level playing field are probably two most glaring missing link in the Indian real estate. The urban planners in this part of the world are hence still debating as to whose responsibility is it to create a social infrastructure and recreation projects that could elevate the positioning of the given city.

For example, one of the major traction points of Gurgaon, despite other massive developments, have been the Golf Course and the projects by various developers even at the far end of the Golf Course Road are still being marketed in the name of proximity to the project. More importantly, it has elevated the positioning of the entire city and added aspiration quotient.

While there is no denying that quality social infrastructure projects like Golf Club have been the USP of India’s luxury landscape in Gurgaon, yet such projects have often fallen into the no man’s land in terms of its ownership issues and challenges to create.

No doubt, everyone wants to avail these recreation centers but no one wants the pains to create it. Worse even, such endeavours by the private parties have often been up against the challenges and road blocks with neither the state being a facilitator nor the eco system being conducive.

Social Infrastructure challenges

Attraction quotient of a location has symbiotic relation with social infrastructure

Locations where social infrastructure could not keep pace with the roadway and highways lose out 

Lack of social infrastructure a glaring missing link in India’s urban planning

Endeavours by the developers often been up against the challenges and road blocks 

Neither the government agencies are facilitator nor the eco system conducive for developers’ creating social infrastructure 

The Punjab and Haryana High Court order a couple of years back that quashed the Haryana Government’s decision to transfer 350 acres of land in Gurgaon also raised the issue of land acquisition for public welfare as the allotted land was also for the development of sports activity and a golf course, besides a residential society and commercial facilities.

Despite of its unique position and importance such recreation projects are often blamed as the projects meant for the high & fly class who are least bothered to look for the government support. But the facilitating role of the state is very important to create an eco system of facilitation that leads to the city being developed as an investment magnet.

More often than not, it is the progressive policies of the government that defines whether the given property market can turn into ‘destination luxury’ and high growth corridor.

Gurgaon, as a matter of fact emerged as one such destination with the progressive policies of the government coupled with some innovative initiatives of the developers. In this market, social infrastructure was given equal importance to the growth of the physical infrastructure.

Collectively, they paved the way for the emergence of Gurgaon as the corporate hub, which naturally turned into luxury paradise with the booming economy of the market.

The success story of Gurgaon also speaks why this once remote suburb of the national capital could give a competition to the natural destination of luxury in Mumbai, where both the physical and social infrastructure was neglected by the government.

In Gurgaon today some of the best schools, hospitals, clubs, golf course etc within the periphery of the main city by the respective developers epitomise what has otherwise been a fancy jargon of Indian real estate—Live, Work & Play.

Gurgaon market also dispels the myth that contrary to the general perception of affordable and mid-income housing that need social infrastructure to make the place worth habitation, it actually works the other way round. While someone with budget constraints can compromise with the distance of a dream home with basic necessities like hospitals and schools; those who pay the premium for luxury quotient would like to have everything in the vicinity, within the walking distance.

And it is here that the Gurgaon market scores over many other property markets across the country. Even in the context of Delhi-NCR, Noida lags behind Gurgaon despite of better physical infrastructure being rolled out by the government.

Reason: social infrastructure could not keep pace with the roadways and highways. Even the cream of the cream property location called South Delhi is increasingly been replaced by Gurgaon as the preferential place to live luxury. The reasons once again are the same.

By: Ravi Sinha

Next: Social infrastructure needs policy facilittion

Time to expand business districts of Coimbatore

Posted on by Track2Realty
Track2Realty Exclusive

Bottom Line: With CBDs (Central Business Districts) of Coimbatore getting saturated, it is time to create more SBDs (Secondary Business Districts) and PBDs (Peripheral Business Districts. 

Coimbatore city, Coimbatore lifestyle, Coimbatore real estate, Coimbatore property market, Malls in Coimbatore, Multiplexes in Coimbatore, Coimbatore nightlife, India real estate news, Indian property market, NRI investment in Coimbatore, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyThe state of any given real estate market in general and its commercial market vibrancy in particular is often evaluated on the desired index of its Central Business Districts (CBDs). The CBDs along with the Secondary Business Districts (SBDs) are indicative of the real estate growth prospects in any feasibility study of the developers’ before the launch of a new project in the city.

In recent times, the cities that have attracted sizeable investments due to hectic economic activities in and around the CBDs and SBDs have rather managed to take the concept of the business districts to the next level of Peripheral Business Districts (PBDs). Times Property takes a look at the Coimbatore city to understand the dynamics of business districts and the growth prospects ahead.

The emergence of the concept of business districts in the city has been more by default than by design. The advent of the big corporate houses and the emergence of the city on the wish list of the young professionals led to the occupancy level in some pockets be defined as the business districts. 

And hence, to say that Coimbatore needs more CBDs and SBDs, if not PBDs as of now, to shape up as the corporate city would be stating the obvious.

For long even as the city property market has grown by leaps and bounds the concept of business districts has not been as prominent in the city property market as in most of other urban centres that have been witness to phenomenal urbanisation and real estate growth along with economic opportunities.

After all, the city itself for long was not referred as the business destination in the collective consciousness. It was more referred as the pensioners’ delight and due to its climatic conditions it attracted the retired people from across the South India. However, slowly the city gained ground as a corporate city and started attracting young professionals as well.

In terms of the city’s business districts, traditionally Coimbatore’s business destinations have been Avinashi Road, Gandhipuram and RS Puram and it seems even though the growth pattern of the city has been in a dynamic mode the business districts could not grow beyond these established locations. 

The developers’ focus has also been more to cater to the growing demand of housing. This is despite the fact that everyone within the built environment maintains that Coimbatore needs more CBDs and SBDs to shape up as the corporate city. To make the growth pattern of the city holistic and sustainable, it is time for Coimbatore to create more business districts.

Analysts find various socio-economic reasons ingrained in the city living why Coimbatore has thus far shied away from creating multiple business districts. Of course, the reluctance on the part of the government and absence of policies that could encourage the developers are also being cited as reasons. However, everyone feels it is time to relook at the rise and growth of business districts in the city that could be a magnet for investment, growth and more economic opportunities in the city.

Admitting that Coimbatore business districts thus far have been traditional pockets of business centres only, Smitha Parasuraman, General Manager – Residential Services with Colliers International says Coimbatore  definitely requires to look at expanding its CBD options to tap the extensive potential that the city has to offer to investors and developments. Currently, there is limited land available for development in CBD. The SBD and PBD can emerge as the new growth corridors and if planned well could be the newer CBDs of the city.

“Coimbatore’s business destinations could not grow beyond Avinashi Road, Gandhipuram and RS Puram because till three to four years ago people in the city being conservative by nature were not willing to travel beyond established CBDs. However, the shift in the next generation has been encouraging people to travel beyond these locations and developments have started coming up in locations like Sathy Road, L&T Bypass Road and Pollachi Road.  Earlier, these were only ideal choice for industries,” says Parasuraman.

Defending Coimbatore’s real estate for being a slow mover towards creating more business districts T Chitty Babu, Chairman & CEO, Akshaya Homes rather feels that the concept of CBDs and SBDs culture itself is new to India. He maintains that most of the Indian cities have grown organically and by default than by design (except Chandigarh). This is the case of not just Coimbatore, but also all the Indian cities.

“Any city needs a proper plan in creating the right clusters – business, leisure, entertainment, shopping, to form a designated area like a CBD to emerge. I agree that it is the time to look at planned CBDs. Areas like Avinashi Road and RS Puram are known for its traditional textile mills. They flourish because of trading and textile mills and with related business vicinity. As textile mills are no more active in Coimbatore it is time to come up with set of new businesses. This will transform the city by creating a new business area and that will trigger more development,” says Babu.

Analysts point out the fact that the city-based developers alone should not be blamed for not creating very many business districts. The developers in the city have mostly followed the cyclic pattern of demand and supply. They rather lament that to a large extent absence of land releasing is responsible for the near no growth of new CBDs in the city. There is no large land parcel available for growth as  the old corporate groups are neither willing to develop further nor parting with their land for development which is restricting the further growth of the city. 

The government authorities have also not come up with any plan to create more business districts in and around the city. Analysts point out that for any CBD to be planned, good size of land is required. Even though Coimbatore is an ideal place for developing such business centres, the progress has not been there leading to the traditional business pockets getting over-occupied and hence rentals going northwards.

This also prohibits the rise and growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the city. It is hence suggested that all the stakeholders – real estate, business bodies & government – should collectively work towards creating more business districts through a consensus and joint action.

Keeping in mind the growth pattern of the city the authorities should also be flexible to release land parcels with incentives for the new business districts. Land release should be made an encouraging proposition for the developers; it has always been a complicated process thus far.

Coimbatore has all the necessary traction points to emerge as one of the key corporate city and contribute significantly to the Indian economy. The real estate developments thus far suggest that the both the developers’ willingness and the investment appetite is there in the city but the lack of quality business destinations have been a deterrent.

More than 40 million sq ft of multi-tenanted IT SEZ space to completion by 2020

Posted on by Track2Realty

Bottom Line: SEZs represent about 25% of the total multi-tenanted Grade A office stock in India, says Colliers Research.

IT SEZ, IT SEZ in India, Future of IRT SEZ in India, Commercial real estate in India, Realities of IT SEZ in India, IT SEZ Report Card, Investment in IT SEZ, India real estate news, Indian realty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Track2RealtyThe uncertainty regarding the continuity of fiscal incentives is an area of growing concern among various stakeholders of Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Although, more than 40.0 million sq ft of new supply is scheduled for completion by 2020, which is currently mandatory to qualify for the companies to get income tax benefits in SEZs, it seems unlikely for all the projects to complete construction by then.

“Over the past few years, SEZ developments in India have gained popularity especially among the technology sector occupiers besides traditional sectors such as electronics, gems and jewellery. Bengaluru, the technology capital, accounts for a maximum share of multi-tenanted SEZ space (39%) followed by Hyderabad and National Capital Region (NCR) 14% each, Chennai (13%), Pune (12%), Mumbai (5%) and Kolkata (3%). Besides, a couple of Tier II cities such as Coimbatore, Jaipur, Kochi, Chandigarh and Visakhapatnam also have a few operational SEZs. Most of the multi-tenanted SEZs have a low vacancy level ranging from 4% to 10%, which indicates the popularity of these SEZs among occupiers”, said Ritesh Sachdev, Senior Executive Director, Occupier Services at Colliers International India.

Surabhi Arora, Senior Associate Director, Research at Colliers International India added, “regardless of optimism among the stakeholders about a further extension of income tax benefits, until this is certain, developers should schedule the completion of construction three to six months in advance. We advise first-time entrants looking for direct tax benefits should only pre-commit spaces in projects that are in advanced stages of construction, to avoid last-minute delays in starting operations which may lead to disqualification for direct tax benefits. Existing occupiers looking for expansion should let developers know in advance to ease them in planning the further developments”.

As per Colliers Research, more than 40 million sq ft of SEZ space is under various stages of construction currently. Most of the new supply is concentrated in NCR and southern cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. 

Bengaluru:

The Silicon Valley of India shares the maximum of about 39% of the total IT SEZ supply in India. Most of the SEZs are strategically located in preferred IT destinations such as Outer Ring Road (ORR) and Whitefield accounting 71% and 16% share respectively of the total SEZ stock in Bengaluru, while a few can also be spotted at North Bengaluru and Mysore Road.

Although, SEZs share about 38% of the total office space absorption in Bengaluru in last three years, we saw a minimal inflow of new entrants in SEZs in 2017. The demand was primarily driven by the occupiers looking to relocate or expand their existing operations in SEZs. In our opinion, the lack of SEZ supply and low vacancy levels (5.3%) were the primary reason for the drop of new entrants.

As per Colliers Research, the city is likely to add about 9.7 million sq ft of SEZ space by 2020. Besides this, approximately 9.0 million sq ft is in the planning stage. Most of the new supply is concentrated in existing SEZs in ORR, Whitefield and North Bengaluru. Most of the new supply will be taken up by the existing occupiers looking for expansion as 3.6 million sq ft is already pre-committed.

NCR:

SEZs are only located in satellite cities namely Gurugram and NOIDA. Currently, a consolidated operational stock of about 20.1 million sq ft is distributed across 12 SEZs in both these cities, keeping a lion’s share, Gurugram dominates the market with 72% of National Capital’s SEZ stock. NCR witnessed a stable demand for SEZ office spaces in past 3 years with 1.4 million sq ft of annual absorption.

The city has approximately 9.0 million sq ft of new supply pipeline planned to be developed over next five years. More than 70% of the upcoming supply is concentrated in Gurugram, in micro makets such as Golf Course Extension Road and Sohna Road. NOIDA shares only 30% upcoming supply primarily concentrated at NOIDA Expressway. As per Colliers Research, 6.0 million sq ft is likely to see completion by 2020.

Hyderabad:

Hyderabad has operational multi-tenanted SEZ stock of about 20.0 million sq ft primarily located at Secondary Business District (SBD) with a small presence of SEZs in Peripheral Business District (PBD) micro markets as well. The overall leasing market in Hyderabad has seen remarkable growth in the past three years.

The factors working in favour of Hyderabad are its cheaper rents, occupier-friendly state government policies and robust supply pipeline. While in 2016, SEZs contributed about 49% share in the overall office leasing in the city, the percentage dropped to about 22% of total leasing in 2017. This was primarily due to vacancy level being as low as 3% in SBD micro market.

Nevertheless, about 9.0 million sq ft of SEZ is in various stages of construction in Hyderabad. SBD shares about 96% of the overall new supply. Considering the robust upcoming supply at strategic locations in the next three years, we expect SEZ absorption to increase in the coming years.

Pune:

Pune is predominantly a technology occupier-driven office market. The city houses about seven multi-tenanted SEZ developments and over twenty private SEZ campuses. Nevertheless, the city is slated for new IT SEZ supply of around 3.3 million sq ft by 2020. Most of the upcoming SEZ developments in Pune are located in Kharadi (58%) and Hinjewadi (42%). Besides, there are several SEZ projects with development potential of about 6.0 million sq ft that are stalled as developers do not want to build on a speculative basis.

Chennai:

Chennai has about 19.0 million sq ft of operational SEZs and contributes to 12% share in total IT SEZ stock in India. These SEZs are spread across four key micromarkets namely Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) pre-toll, OMR post-toll, Mount Poonamalle High (MPH) Road and the Grand Southern Trunk (GST) Road. SEZs in Chennai are witnessing consistent traction, contributing to more than 35% of total office leasing annually, since 2016.

Prominent developers such as Embassy, DLF, Brigade, Green Grid Group (IG3) and Xander are planning to add more than 8.0 million sq ft (0.8 million sq m) of new supply in the next three years primarily in southern precincts of the city dominated by OMR post-toll (63%).

Mumbai:

Among the key cities in India, Mumbai is relatively a passive SEZ market with only two operational IT SEZs in the city. The total SEZ stock in Mumbai is about 7.3 million sq ft and these operational SEZs are located in Powai and Airoli micromarkets. The city is likely to see an addition of 1.8 million sq ft of new supply in Airoli by 2019.

Kolkata:

Kolkata, the only major city in the eastern part of the country has observed a slow SEZ space leasing trend over the years primarily due to state government’s apprehension in developing SEZs. The total SEZ stock in Kolkata is about 4.0 million sq ft and all of the operational SEZs are situated in the Rajarhat micromarket. Kolkata has an additional under construction supply of 2.7 million sq ft of supply in Rajarhat by 2020.

A few developersare also readyfor built-to-suit optionsin their SEZland located at Rajarhat. The market trend also reveals that technology companies like TCS, Infosys, and Wipro are interested in making their own captive campuses.

Building a brand brick by brick

Posted on by Track2Realty
Gen Next Business Leader

Track2Realty gets an insight of the professional journey of Bijay Agarwal, Managing Director, Salarpuria Sattvawhose brand has made entry into the elite list of top brands now. The media shy and low profile business leader did not have the luxury of inheriting a legacy, and yet he has built a brand brick by brick.  

Bijay Agarwal, Salarpuria Sattva, Bangalore real estate, Bengaluru real estate, Best builder of Bangalore, India real estate news, Indianrealty news, Real estate news India, Indian property market news, Track2Realty, Salarpuria Sattva propertyIt was the stroke of destiny that landed Bijay Agarwal into the world of real estate. He himself admits that he was lucky to be mentored by a friend, philosopher and guide, Late GD Salarpuria.

However, the success story of one of the most promising brand has been a saga of his own grit, determination and hard work. His entrepreneurial journey with Salarpuria started in 1989 at Kolkata to complete a half constructed building which was funded by Salarpuria.

He came from Kolkata to Bangalore in 1993 to set up the Salarpuria Group’s construction business. But he believes that he was destined to be in this business. The business leader still carries the gratitude to point out that he was fortunate to be mentored by the best professional, Late Mr Salarpuria, in the industry which has goaded him to be where he is today.

Top 5 business mantra

Have strong knowledge and research capability 

Be strategy and goal oriented

Effective People management 

Encash opportunities at the right time

Customer focus & continuous efforts to deliver the best  

Stepping stones 

In 1989 when a young Bijay joined the industry, the business eco system was not what it is today. He recalls how during those days land had no value. Even construction of two lakh to three lakh sq ft was considered huge.

But today he has conveniently converted few lakhs to a few millions where volumes and spaces have increased manifold. He recalls during that time country had no great vision for the industry but it has drastically changed now with Indian being one of the fastest growing markets of real estate in the world.

Did he ever feel like this multi-scale of business and demands would compromise personal life/freedom? “When one moves up in the professional life, it somewhere squeezes the personal time. But it depends on the individual’s time management skills and how he manages to balance both aspects of his life.

The new challenges in the professional sphere are bound to take lot of one’s time which will eat into your personal life. It is imperative to strike a balance between both aspects. Neither one is more important than the other,” says Bijay.

Not being a second generation with a brand legacy has not been a burden for him. It rather proved to be a blessing that he had no baggage of past. He never had the need to change the brand philosophy because he could shape the brand as per his principles of on trust, transparency and customer satisfaction. He has been part of the company since Salarpuria Sattva’s foray into the real estate and made the brand brick by brick.

It’s my choice

Your role model: My mentor, Late Mr. GD Salarpuria

Biggest lesson: A penny saved is a penny earned  - A bank loan is always a liability, don’t ever treat it as an asset

Your favorite real estate market: Bangalore and Hyderabad

On thing you dislike about real estate: Approval process 

Turning point

Bijay always believes in growth and is not satisfied with what he achieved in the past. When he started the organisation, the primary focus was on commercial space. With time he noticed that there was a lot of potential in the residential sector as well.

Once he capitalized opportunities in both the segment, he noticed immense potential in other sectors beyond real estate. This led to forming the Sattva Group to diversify into other businesses.

In 2008 he diversified into Aero Ancillaries. In 2010 he added education – The Greenwood International School along with Sattva –e Technology and Warehousing.

“The year 1989 proved to be the turning point of my life with an entry into the construction business from finance. The second turning point was moving to Bangalore in 1993 and heading Salarpuria. The boom in India’s IT/ITeS sector and volume of the same increasing ten fold was the third turning point in my life,” says Bijay.

Today, Salarpuria Sattva is credited to be the first company in Bangalore to start the trend of technology software parks with GR Tech Park in Whitefield. It was much before the boom of the IT/ITeS sector and the trend continues with Salarpuria Sattva developing more of innovative parks.

How would he like to position as a brand? Bijay is quick to figure out his market differentiator when he says, “We would like to be known as a brand which understands the needs of our customers and delivers these as customized needs. We are equally strong in both commercial and residential segments. In the last few years, the core focus has again shifted to the commercial sector with the increase in office space.”

Open letter to stakeholders 

Bangalore has been exceptionally transparent and in terms of the quality of construction it is far better than rest of the country. Across the country if all the real estate developers deliver what they promise and on time, the sector’s image will drastically improve. Another suggestion is to maintain financial discipline. Think of your cash flow at least one year in advance, that is the true success of a real estate company 

Innovation quotient

At a time when Bangalore was just opening up to being the IT Hub of the country, Salarpuria Sattva Group had already established a software IT Park in now what is known as the IT Hub of Bangalore. GR Tech Park was established in 2005.

“Surpassing this landmark project of ours is the Knowledge City in Hyderabad which is currently under construction. We look at delivering this astounding commercial property of 12 million sq ft by 2020 in phases,” he adds.

The 90’s was a time when world economies were opening up and initiation of globalization was at its peak.  When MNCs began pouring into India, only few developers had the capacity and capability to provide international standards to discerning customers.

The changing scenario helped Bijay approach construction and development with innovative, futuristic ideas and maintain the highest international standards.

“We have been one of the earliest builders to transform the skyline of Bangalore, providing residential homes, IT Parks, retail and corporate office spaces, paving the way for international businesses to set up shop. The Group is headquartered in Bangalore and has significant presence in Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Coimbatore, Jaipur, Goa, Vizag and Vadodara,” says Agarwal.

In the quest for growth and innovation the visionary leader has been conscious of the fact that the fundamentals of the business has to always remain the same.

Unlike many other large size developers who forayed into non-core areas of expertise and failed, this man is well grounded in branching out. The company might have diversified business and tried hand in other verticals like education to grow faster but the core business is real estate.

Your short-term and long-term goals 

My short term goal is to expand the business across India and have a holistic presence in the country across both residential and commercial sectors. In the long-term, my goal is to emerge as the most trusted brand nationally  

Business lessons learnt

When Salarpuria was set up as a new entity he was conscious of the constant need of micro-management by the promoter himself so that the business is established. However, along the journey it has carefully moved and streamlined to process of monitored delegation. Today, One of the major USPs of the company is quality, timely delivery and offering value to customers.

As a matter of fact, Bijay Agarwal believes that it is his motto of customer satisfaction that is driving the business. He strongly believes in promising less and delivering more to create the ‘WOW’ factor for the customers. This principle is what Salarpuria Sattva is built on.

“The reason we are a highly visible and ‘preferred brand’ is that the Group’s credentials are reflected in the recognition and acclamation by ICRA, through Moody’s and CRISIL, through Standard & Poor as an “A” Stable Rated Company for the last ten years. Very few builders in India share this enviable tag. This is an indicator of our strong financial position,” says the proud business leader.

And he is not exaggerating this. The fact is that today International Investment Funds as well as all leading banks are happy to do business with Salarpuria Sattva. They have recently partnered with Blackstone and Apollo Asia funds for the development of properties in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Vadodara. He believes the success of his business is financial discipline.

Besides this, the company is ISO 9001, 14001 and 18001 Certified. As a founding member of IGBC (Institution for Green Building Certification), the company is committed to the environment and follows stringent green measures in all aspects of the building process.

“Starting off at 20,000 sq ft and standing today at 22 million sq ft behind us, 30 million under construction and about 22 million at the drawing board, I would say this has been our major achievement. We have been one of the early entrants for developing the IT software tech parks in the IT Hub of India. Our biggest differentiator is, of course, the trust that we have built and continue to strengthen over time with timely delivery,” says Agarwal.

Building trust often sounds deceptively simple. Bijay Agarwal nevertheless has earned it the hard way through unfailing dedication and an unwavering focus on quality, reliability and timely delivery. With over 27 years and 22 million sq ft behind him, trust has been earned out of many cornerstones that goes into building it – global quality, reliability, consistency, innovation and stability.

What the world doesn’t know about Bijay Agarwal?

I am easily approachable; just one phone call away 

Future calling

Salarpuria Sattva is today present in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Coimbatore, Goa, Jaipur, Vizag and Vadodara. Bijay is still not satisfied and aims to grow further and be present in more cities of India. He nevertheless admits that the industry is challenging when it comes to innovation. He is hence always looking at maximizing the value for the customers.

He is conscious of the fact that today’s homebuyers have evolved a lot; they are well aware about requirements and know exactly what they are looking for. Before making a decision they do a thorough research and hence they can’t be swayed by flashy offers or sheer brand name. Trust and track record are very important factor for the consumers.

“I believe any developer who keeps his promise of quality or timely delivery or lesser rates, to the customers and keeps those promises, will command better premium in the future. I am pretty clear that I have to inculcate & strengthen brand loyalty among the employees, channel partners, other stakeholders, as well as among the buyers. This can be done through transparency and trust across all levels and verticals,” he says.

The business leader of Salarpuria Sattva strongly follows a flat organizational structure. He has to his credit a great work culture with an approachable management. This has in turn promoted loyalty with employees going back as old as the company.

He believes in maintaining a family like relationship with employees. That said, his biggest asset is the trust of the customers as he feels delivery, quality and transparency is much needed for the overall image makeover of the sector. 

 

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