Tag Archives: Sobha Ltd

Expect benefits of policies in 2018: JC Sharma

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View Point: JC Sharma, MD & VC of Sobha Ltd believes the worst is over for Indian real estate and the reform initiatives of 2017 will lead to benefits in the year ahead. 

JC Sharma, MD & VC, Sobha Limited, Bangalore real estate news, Bangalore property market, Track2Media Research, Track2Realty, Best builders of India, Most reputed buildersThe year 2017 turned out to be a landmark year for the economy at large and the real estate sector in particular. Several historic reforms and policies were rolled out. Beginning with the Union Budget, the affordable housing received a huge impetus in the form of infrastructure status.

It not only transformed affordable housing into the next big opportunity for Indian developers but also laid the foundation for revival of housing demand in India. This was followed by the implementation of game-changing policy of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA) that promised to protect the homebuyers’ interest and enhance credibility of the sector with focus on transparency and accountability.

Another progressive reform that made the year stand out was the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). It replaced the multiple taxation regime with a uniform and simple tax structure, promoting ease of doing business.

The Government’s determined focus to make real estate as one of its key drivers was also evident with schemes and benefits such as Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) under PMAY; extension of income tax benefits up to 60 square metre-sized apartments, amendments in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).

As we move forward to 2018, we expect the benefits of the reforms and policies implemented to be amply visible in the years to come. The changes brought by them will create a level-playing field for organised players like SOBHA and help consolidate the sector by weeding out non-serious players reluctant to transform themselves. Additionally, there will be a greater focus on faster execution of projects to meet the delivery timelines.

We believe that the worst for the sector is over. Slowly but steadily, the market sentiments are improving.  We are confident that the sector will see significant growth on a sustainable basis and help drive the Indian economy.

Focus on end users driving Bangalore: JC Sharma, Sobha Ltd

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Track2Realty Exclusive

News Point: JC Sharma, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Sobha Ltd, in an exclusive interview with Ravi Sinha.

JC Sharma, MD & VC, Sobha Limited, Bangalore real estate news, Bangalore property market, Track2Media Research, Track2Realty, Best builders of India, Most reputed buildersJC Sharma has been witness to the emergence of Bangalore as the ‘Destination Indian Realty’. He feels it is not just the business potential of the city that makes it an investment magnet. Rather, there are real estate related catalytic factors, like the developers’ focus on end-users, innovation with the product and adoption of advanced technology that makes Bangalore numero uno of Indian real estate.

Often referred as the best CEO in the business, his assessment of the sector is that sentiments may be affecting the grwoth of the business, Indian property market is not heading to correction. Excerpts of the interview:

Ravi Sinha: What makes Bangalore the best performing property market in India?

JC Sharma: Bangalore has remained the most happening city as far as the real estate sentiment is concerned for the last few years. The positive growth of IT/ITeS sector, resulting in large workforce requirement has created a big demand for housing needs in the city.

According to NASSCOM, the revenues from IT/ITeS sector is expected to reach US$ 300 billion by 2020, while the number of employees in the sector is expected to increase by 2.4 million to reach 5.1 million by 2022. A major part of this growth will emanate from Bangalore as in the past, which will further boost the real estate requirement in Bangalore. Keeping this in mind, many big players are entering the city with their large projects. Also, despite the slowdown, the demand for real estate in Bangalore has witnessed a steady pace.

Additionally, given its climatic attraction, high capital appreciation, decent infrastructure and connectivity, the market attracts more NRIs who are opting to settle in the city.

Ravi Sinha: Have developers in the city done something differently or the financial activities and liveability index are organically driving the city property market?

JC Sharma: The developers in Bangalore are focussed on end users. Emphasis is on providing ample useable space with regard to the built up area vis-a-vis the total saleable area. Moreover, the developers in Bangalore are experimenting with newer trends and  are bringing in innovations and advanced techniques in making their projects more compact, affordably priced with lots of amenities and yet trendy and comfortable. The development in the city is complementary with closer access to schools and hospitals and is more synergetic in nature. SOBHA has a good delivery track record and has thus built immense credibility amongst homebuyers through its international quality products, high precision work and eye for detail.

Ravi Sinha: But stress is quite visible in Bangalore market as well. Do you think the city property market will sustain the slowdown blues?

JC Sharma: The Indian realty market is connected with the overall market sentiment. For example, look at the impact of Chinese economy on the global markets.  Likewise, sentiments do play an important role in the minds of the homebuyers. When they see negative sentiments in other cities, they also start taking more time in decision making. However, we believe that the sentiments will start improving and Bangalore is expected to do well.

Ravi Sinha: Would you agree with the price correction expectations across the housing market?

JC Sharma: No, I do not agree to this. There may be some stray examples of some developers adjusting their prices at lower levels. However, the developers do not have the required margins/cushion to go for price correction across the housing markets.

Ravi Sinha:  A lot of developers have liquidity concerns and operating cash flows have taken a hit. Don’t you feel that lack of funding options will force the developers to cut prices?

JC Sharma: You may be right. Developers today are definitely having liquidity concerns.  But I am of the firm opinion that the real estate prices generally reflect the true value of different cities. The selling of products by reducing the prices cannot be a long term solution as it will be difficult for such developers to generate required liquidity to replace their existing inventory.

Ravi Sinha: Bangalore for the first time has more than one lakh unsold inventory. Will it force the developers to reduce prices, especially when the secondary market transactions are indicating some correction?

JC Sharma: The inventory is not a big concern for most developers. Recently, SOBHA has launched the largest residential project of approximately 7000 units in Bangalore. This is a fast moving product and at the same time such projects theoretically carry a larger inventory. We, therefore, need to look at inventory from the perspective of those projects which are completed but still remain unsold. In my view, most developers do not carry large inventory in completed projects.

Ravi Sinha: When and how do you think the sector will come out of present crisis of confidence in the housing market?

JC Sharma: The macro environment has been improving. Interest rates are coming down. India will be a big beneficiary of the falling commodity prices especially in case of crude and steel. I am of strong belief that markets will start improving from next year onwards.

Core developers outperform corporate conglomerates

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Bottom Line: It is time to debate whether the homegrown developers with real estate as core business are better brand performers or corporate conglomerates have outperformed them.

Brand Realty, Real estate brands, brand leadership in Indian real estate, Top brands in Indian real estate, Track2Realty, Indian real estate news, India property market news, Brand reputation of Indian real estateIn a business that lacked the critical element of trust and transparency, forget brand equity, the entry of corporate conglomerates was widely perceived to be change of business outlook for the sector. The collective consciousness accepted the promise that the corporate giants would change the brand perception of the sector in no time. This load of trust & opportunity goaded many corporate houses into the non-core expertise area of real estate.

The last decade has been witness to the entry and consolidation of a number of corporate conglomerates. The giants in their core areas of expertise – Godrej, Tata, Mahindra, Piramal, Shriram, Hero Group, Ambuja, Zandu-Emaami, phoenix Mills, L&T, Shapoorjee Pallonji – have found the real estate as a happy hunting ground. The very fact that they are credible players in their areas of expertise and command corporate goodwill has earned them seal of trust in real estate.

A homebuyer who has been cheated, harassed and humiliated by the petty developers obviously finds the corporate giants more professional and trustworthy. A perception has hence gained ground in the last few years that these corporate groups are going to be the brand leaders in Indian real estate.

However, now that many of these corporate giants have spent years in the business of real estate and delivered some of the projects, it is pertinent to take stock of the performance of the brand. The debate needs to be shifted to not their brand legacy but brand performance. The larger issue today is whether these corporate groups have replicated the consumer satisfaction index of core areas of expertise into the real estate business.

Even more pertinent question is whether the corporate conglomerates have finally arrived as the brand leaders of the Indian real estate. And it is here that the issue of brand optimism versus the brand performance on the ground comes into play. The fact of the matter is that many of these corporate groups have either failed to live up to the consumer satisfaction or yet to deliver a sizeable inventory to be awarded the leadership mantle.

Godrej properties is the only exception that has continuously scaled up the brand leadership with both the delivery performance as well as the consumer satisfaction with the delivered projects. Tata Housing, on the contrary, fails to live up to the brand promise. The company is sitting over piles of consumer grievances and the chart is growing northward with their brand leadership chart moving to southward. If they still manage to be in the top leadership chart the credit, or the lack of it, goes to other bigger defaulters in the business. The brand study is, after all, relative study of the performance of the brands.

In the fifth edition of Track2Realty Brand X Report 2016-17 it has been noted that the performance of the homegrown developers with core expertise in the business of real estate has a slight edge over the corporate conglomerates who don’t have real estate as a core business. Most of these corporate giants are actually leveraging their brand goodwill and financial clout to the distressed small developers.

The Joint Development (JD) model or the Joint Venture (JV) partnership between corporate giants and small time builders may be a boon for the cash strapped developers and bring the hope back to the distressed buyers, the trend is not enough for these established business houses to be elevated as the top performers of Indian real estate.

Track2Realty study finds that going forward the leadership race is set among the homegrown Davids versus the corporate Goliaths. Who will win the brand leadership race? Well, for the corporate conglomerates there is a long way to go before they can claim to have earned the same kind of trust and goodwill of the buyers that they otherwise command. On the contrary, while the track record of real estate developers in general might be bad, a handful of them nevertheless command better brand equity than these corporate houses.

For this year brand leadership also, the race has been pretty close between the real estate focused group Sobha Limited and Godrej Properties. As a matter of fact, Godrej Properties has been way ahead of Sobha on some of the metrics, like financial performance among others, but in the end it is the vote of consumer confidence that has elevated Sobha Limited as the brand leader of the year. As a matter of fact, Sobha creates a history by becoming the first real estate developer to make a hat trick of brand leadership this time around.

It is not the brand leadership of Sobha alone that makes the turf more promising for the developers who have real estate as core business. The performance of Prestige Group or Purvankara this year is also testimony to the fact that the developers with core expertise in real estate have an edge over the corporates who are by and large yet to turn their promise into performance.

By: Ravi Sinha

Indian investors looking at Dubai properties: PNC Menon, Chairman-Emeritus, Sobha Ltd

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Interview Point: PNC Menon, Chairman-Emeritus of Sobha Ltd feels India offers a great market for the NRIs but the demonetization will push investors to look at Dubai properties. Excerpt of an exclusive interview with Ravi Sinha.

PNC Menon, Sobha Chairman, Sobha Ltd, India real estate news, Best news website, news portal of Indian real estate, Track2RealtyRavi Sinha: How do you see the impact of demonetization on real estate market?

PNC Menon: The impact on the economy will be significant as a large part of the black economy would become part of the Indian economy. This is certain to reflect in next year’s GDP figures. The attack on black money through demonetization is also expected to boost government revenues in a significant way. With a large part of unaccounted cash coming into the system, a lot more money will become accountable and taxable than was the case earlier.

Ravi Sinha: Will it really affect the real estate investment cycle?

PNC Menon: As such, we expect a surge in Indian investments in Dubai property as a result of the recent shift. Now that the money is legal and cleansed, people are looking at various new avenues to recover some of their losses and ROI that is tax free is very attractive for obvious reasons.

Ravi Sinha: Any specific reason why you are so bullish on Dubai property?

PNC Menon: Dubai is now a very sought after destination to invest in tax-free property with solid returns for Investors and also for end users who are looking at a second home. For example, our flagship project, Sobha Hartland, is expected to provide the profit that end users and investor seek. In fact, a two bedroom apartment is estimated to yield more than 2.3 lakhs of tax-free rental income every month plus the annual advantage of 20-30% capital appreciation.

Ravi Sinha: To what extent the Indian real estate market is attractive for investors?

PNC Menon: India’s real estate sector has matured to a point where NRIs are now able to invest in a wide variety of products, across the affordable, mid-range and luxury segments. Based on our 22-year presence in India, NRIs continue to represent a healthy proportion of our client base, primarily due to our focus on delivering global quality standards which ultimately generate attractive returns for our investors. With tighter regulations, greater transparency, more affordability and enhanced price stability, NRIs will find interesting investment opportunities, as long as they have a long-term view and are discerning about which project to invest in.

Ravi Sinha: A number of NRI investors are not that bullish on the Indian property market for some time now.

PNC Menon: India is a huge market with over 1.2 billion people and an emerging economy on a global front. When we entered the Indian market in 1995, we had a clear vision to transform the way people perceive quality in the real estate sector. We were even then conscious that by introducing international quality processes at affordable prices without compromising on delivering a developer can capture a big market.

Ravi Sinha: Amidst cycle of uncertainties what is your mantra of survival in real estate?

PNC Menon: I have just entered into the UK market. But the two markets where I mostly operate – India and the Middle East – goes through cycles of uncertainties after every few years. The answer to survival issues lies in the somple business philosophy of not over-leveraging. In a business where the conventional wisdom of debt-equity ratio has gone for a toss, one of the important lessons that I have learnt is that if you have $100, you should not borrow more than $50.

Ravi Sinha: Dubai and UK markets are different altogether. But does the perception of Indian market ever bother you?

PNC Menon: I am concerned with the overall poor perception and projection of the realty business. And it is time we must in our collective spirit take some steps to instill trust factor.

Ravi Sinha: Do you think the homebuyers are getting unreasonable today in the wake of consumer activism? Any suggestions to improve trust quotient?

PNC Menon: The homebuyers are not unreasonable consumers to expect houses to be built in a year. However, they expect an update and constant communication along with transparency. We can think of updating customers on a monthly basis with photographs of completed construction levels. A YouTube link can be created to offer them live feed from the construction site. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, it varies from 36 to 60 months. Developers can always have a flexible timeline for possession in their contracts.


Retailers physical store expansion undeterred by online growth: CBRE

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China top target destination in APAC; Southeast Asia surges.

Sobha City Thrissur, Sobha Ltd, Thrissur real estate, Large format malls, retail spaces in Thrissur, Indian real estate news, India property market, India real estate newsmagazine, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyGrowing online sales will not deter retailers’ physical store expansion plans in 2016, reports CBRE in its seventh edition of ‘How Active Are Retailers Globally?’, a study of over 150 major international brands based in Americas, Asia Pacific and EMEA.

While European countries dominate the target destinations this year, China is the top target market in APAC and the fourth most popular globally, with 27% of retailers looking to expand there. This is followed by Hong Kong in sixth position (24%), Japan in seventh (22%) and Singapore in ninth (21%). The top three globally were Germany (35%), France (33%) and the UK (29%).

Other key highlights for APAC:

  • China and Hong Kong maintained fourth and sixth place, respectively, whilst Japan (seventh), Singapore (ninth) and Australia (eleventh) all rose higher in the ranking, up from thirteenth, eighteenth and fifteenth positions, respectively
  • Most APAC markets saw increased interest for 2016 vs 2015, with the exception of China and South Korea which softened somewhat
  • Meanwhile, interest in Southeast Asia surged, with Malaysia (10%), Indonesia (9%), Thailand (8%), Vietnam (8%) and the Philippines (8%) all receiving more than double the interest they saw in 2015, when all markets secured between 1-3%

When questioned about the risk factors for them in the coming year, brands indicated that real estate cost escalation (56%) and unclear economic prospects (42%) continue to be at the forefront of their minds.

“We’re seeing more of a challenging economic environment, and concerns such as high operating costs and a lack of quality space means retailers are somewhat more wary this year. However, even as markets such as China and Hong Kong are seeing a slowdown, we see increasing numbers of opportunistic retailers looking to enter markets like Hong Kong, supported by strong underlying consumer demand. Japan and Australia remain attractive, while Southeast Asia showed strong growth due to opportunities for retailers around an expanding middle class and stronger economic growth,” said Dr Henry Chin, CBRE’s Head of Research, Asia Pacific.

“There are still opportunities for retailers to grow their business in the Asia region—as underscored by the region having four of the top ten most popular destinations worldwide. The goal now for all brick and mortar retailers is to build an engaging offer that encourages people to stay longer and spend more,” said Joel Stephen, Senior Director and Head of Retailer Representation, Asia at CBRE.

Physical stores still key

The survey findings show that 83% of brands suggest their physical store expansion plans for 2016 will not be affected by the growth of e-commerce. Meanwhile, from a retailer perspective only 22% of the brands are concerned about stiff competition from online retailing as a threat to their business.

At the same time, retailers are quite cautiously optimistic on physical sales network expansion. Out of those questioned, 17% have large-scale ambitions with many retailers looking to open more than 40 stores (up from 9% in 2015) in 2016. The vast majority (67%) are looking to open up to 20 stores.

“A physical store presence in key locations is still critical to the strength of a brand’s image. Stores still need to create an emotional affinity with shoppers, and customers still feel a need to go into stores, to physically touch a product and enjoy the feel-good factor associated with a particular brand experience. The store is integral to the shopping journey and can be used in a number of different ways, such as to click and collect, research of the product or brand, or to test the product. It isn’t solely about the transactional side,” said Stephen.

A new trend for 2016 saw a fifth of brands, largely from the Americas and EMEA, stating their intention to expand into travel hubs—such as airports and train stations—in 2016 as this will give them access to high footfall in busy locations. However, for APAC-originating retailers, shopping malls remained the most preferred destination by far at close to 90%.

Whilst globally the key concern for brands in lease negotiations was ‘lease length’, APAC-originated retailers were most concerned with turnover rent clauses as the most important characteristic. The region’s retailers were particularly concerned about changing consumer behavior (40%) which is higher than the global average (31%).

Location matters but can’t be sole retail driver

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Location is a key determinant for retail experience but it can not be the only USP of the malls, finds Track2Realty.

Sobha City Thrissur, Sobha Ltd, Thrissur real estate, Large format malls, retail spaces in Thrissur, Indian real estate news, India property market, India real estate newsmagazine, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtyLocation matters and so does a good understanding of the consumer market where a mall is located. Successful retail positioning relies on research into the local consumer market and securing anchor tenants. Once a mall opens, retail property managers must be proactive in asset management, maintaining an optimal mix of tenants and tracking retailers’ performances.

In his book ‘The Call of the Mall’ Paco Underhill writes, “Nothing exemplifies shopping more than the mall or shopping centre. It is the gift to personal consumption and the crossroad where consumer marketing, media and street culture meet. It is where the developed world (and increasingly everyone else too) goes to acquire, eat and hang out. It is where fashion trends are made, dreams are constructed and many people find their first jobs.”

This may have been written about the US malls but sounds perfect success mantra for Indian malls as well. The big question is whether Paco ever sounds like talking about location? Well, this is where the focus of Indian malls shifts and often the location alone is expected to be the retail driver.

With the footfall decreasing, sales conversion few and far between along with the emerging reality of e-commerce threatening the very existence of Indian store-driven retail, business was never as challenging for the retail spaces in the country as now.

The fancy idea of catchment area on the basis of just habitation in the neighbourhood has hit the retailers and the mall developers hard. While the poor access road and other logistical challenges were not addressed for long, the fact that hypothetical catchment area lead to over-supply of retail spaces in many potential areas played the dampener after initial experiment phase.

Now with the emerging realities of e-commerce, it seems the retail planners in this country will have to do some serious cost & benefit analysis. Analysts believe the problem with the first generation of malls in India has been that the developers by and large subscribed to the ‘build it and they will come’ theory. This has been a result of the inexperience in mall management because most mall managers are the same developers who built them. Since most of the developers did not have retail experience, the design and leasing control has not been ideal.

Col. Ashutosh Beri, Managing Director (West), Project & Asset Management, JLL India maintains that there are basic parameters that mall developers must keep in mind at the very conception and design stage of their malls. Location is, of course, a vital ingredient for the success of any mall. Approach and accessibility, especially in terms of proximity to the key centres and ingress and egress of the mall, are equally important. The mall must have adequate facilities and provide retailers with good accessibility to their stores, space for storage and staff utilities. Very importantly, it must get the parking equation right.

“The baseline philosophy behind the creation of any mall is that it must be a place that continually attracts people into its premises, keeping them engaged and tempting them to stay for longer periods. This cannot be done just by providing a massive number of shops. Today, Indian mall visitors expect various entertainment options and engagement mechanisms, as well. Malls cannot be just shopping complexes; they must be one-stop family destinations. If they fail at this, they invariably fail completely,” says Beri.

Abhay Kumar, CMD of Grih Pravesh Buildteck admits that the location can make or break mall. He, however, points out that the same location can be a liability also as it has often been noticed that certain locations attract the developers so much that there is an over-supply of same kind of retail spaces in the neighbourhood. This evidently suggests that the success of malls is dependent on a combination of factors working in tandem.

“I must admit that mixing the right location, brand presence and overall sales strategy is challenging and easier said than done. But then the business of providing retail spaces itself is challenging in the wake of stiff competition in the segment and ever evolving concepts like e-commerce that is increasingly gaining ground in the country,” says Abhay.

“Location, of course, is important and the concept of retail the world over is about the neighbourhood shopping,” says Sanjey Roy, DLF spokesperson. “But to think that the location alone will be retail driver is a misnomer and has misled many of the developers in the business of malls. Your mall has to have some USP that proves to be a market differentiator and acts like a magnet for not just attracting footfalls but destination shopping. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution and every mall developer has to devise his own strategy,” Roy adds.

Dhiraj Jain, Director, Mahagun says the question of location reminds him the famous 4 P’s theory of Philip Kotler which has precisely stated Place has a distinctive role to play in the visibility of brand. He points out that the impact is evident from the footfalls that retail space attracts. The retail space will have customers’ traffic engaged in shopping, spending time with family and big corporate giants opening their offices there.

“Along with location, the demographic mix of the location plays a vital role in choosing the space. While the youth population looks for an entertainment zone, the elderly / matured community looks forward to spend their weekends in those malls where more food options along with sitting areas to relax with the family are available. Excellent connectivity to reach there at any point of time also adds to the footfall of the mall. The developer must also do a dipstick study of the kind of disposable income the target group is ready to invest on fashion, food and fun, so that they can accordingly do tie-ups with brands for operating the malls,” says Jain.

Amit Modi, Wholetime Director of ABA Corp admits that location has a huge impact in retail success of any brand/venture, as it is completely proportional to the retail footfall of the area and corresponding brands and ventures in the vicinity.

“As a Developer we only invest towards retail or commercial realty in case it has an assured return on investment potential for investors, both in terms of area location and area footfall. That is one of the reasons for including retail space in our housing project as the location offers guaranteed footfalls from the catchment area,” says Modi.

Mall strategy and speciality have been over-used term in the Indian retail history which now is nearly two decades old. However, in terms of the look & feel and usage of the customers most of the malls are pretty identical. Even in terms of the brand presence there is hardly anything that comes out as the differentiator; whereas the customers are looking for something tempting that could turn their casual footfall into compelling buying decision. Location, of course, is a key driver but the land or location competence alone can not substitute for the poor retail experience in a cluttered market with many identical malls in the vicinity.

Location Matters

  • Location is a key determinant for retail experience but it can not be the only USP of the malls
  • Location matters and so does a good understanding of the consumer market where a mall is located
  • Successful retail positioning relies on research into the local consumer market and securing anchor tenants
  • Once a mall opens, retail property managers must be proactive in asset management, maintaining an optimal mix of tenants and tracking retailers’ performances

Experiential shopping

  • Should be a gift to personal consumption
  • A crossroad where consumer marketing, media and street culture meet
  • A place where the developed world (and increasingly everyone else too) goes to acquire, eat and hang out
  • Where fashion trends are made, dreams are constructed and many people find their first jobs

Mall Magnets

  • Must be a place that continually attracts people into its premises, keeping them engaged and tempting them to stay for longer periods
  • Indian mall visitors expect various entertainment options and engagement mechanisms
  • Malls must be one-stop family destinations

Sobha Limited forays into commercial space with ‘Sobha City Mall’ at Thrissur

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Sobha City Thrissur, Sobha Ltd, Thrissur real estate, Large format malls, retail spaces in Thrissur, Indian real estate news, India property market, India real estate newsmagazine, Track2Media Research, Track2RealtySobha Limited has launched its first commercial Project ‘Sobha City Mall’ at Puzhakkal in Thrissur, Kerala. Situated at the heart of ‘Sobha City’- the first and the largest integrated township in the State, ‘Sobha City Mall’ will offer best-in-class retail and entertainment experience for the customers.

Sprawled over five acres, ‘Sobha City Mall’ has a built up area of approximately 4,50,000sq. ft., comprising of three floors of shopping space along with a basement for car parking. This is designed to offer an array of retail, entertainment and recreation options with a 6 screen multiplex, restaurants, food court and a gaming arcade. Further, the Mall is suitably located on the Thrissur- Guruvayoor State highway, making it effortlessly accessible from Kochi, Calicut and Palakkad and other neighbouring districts.

Speaking on the occasion, Ravi Menon, Chairman, Sobha Limited, said, “Thrissur has immense potentialities as a centre of trade and for being a banking hub. It is one of the most well- known markets for gold in India with thriving trade in textile. Having a number of engineering and medical institutions, it has come to be known as a centre of learning with a large floating population. The Sobha City Township spread over 55 acres is a unique sustainable integrated habitat where ‘Sobha City Mall’ will ably fulfil the retail, the entertainment and aspirational demands of the people of Thrissur and its vicinity. In addition, it will also provide about 2000 direct and indirect job opportunities to the local people.”

Further, he added that the launch of ‘Sobha City Mall’ signifies Sobha’s foray into the commercial segment (retail space leasing) in India. And that in the last 20 years Sobha has built a premium reputation for quality, aesthetics and timely delivery in the residential and contractual space. He said that Sobha will continue to maintain high standards in its commercial segment as well. “Thrissur has a vibrant atmosphere for organised retailing and we hope to scale up our operations in this space in the coming years,” added Mr. Menon.

The ‘Sobha City Mall’ will have over a 100 acclaimed brands – Lifestyle, Pantaloons, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Peter England, Wills, Wrangler, Hidesign, Crocodile, Arrow, Louis Philippe, Lee Cooper, John Players and Subway to name just a few. Apart from these Marks & Spencer and Apple will also have exclusive outlets here.

On the entertainment front, the mall houses Inox cinemas- the first multiplex in Thrissur, with 6 unique theatres having a capacity to accommodate around 1400 people at a time. The 550-seater food court consists of 15 counters of Indian and international brands of various cuisines.  Moreover, the ‘Sobha City Mall’ comes with a spacious parking facility that can accommodate around 700 vehicles.

The mall design is kept shopper- friendly with single spine concept and a central atrium. The central spine has a lot of skylights which fill the interior spaces with ample natural light. The entire mall is protected & secured with CCTV surveillance and has a 4G Wi-Fi system at 65 mbps speed.

The ‘Sobha City’ township – in which the mall is located is spread over 55 acres. It comprises 720 apartments of which 432 are 3BHK, 288 are 4BHK, 48 villas and 4 exclusive bungalows. 432 apartments, 28 villas and the clubhouse have been handed over to the occupants.

A total of 1.18 million sq. ft. residential development has been handed over to the customers within the agreed handing over period. It is a unique development in Thrissur and one of the best examples of sustainable design.

The township development is uniquely designed on central place theory and has a man-made lake of 6.5 acres which functionally is a rain water harvesting tank, fulfilling the water requirement of the entire development.  It acts as a focal point around which the whole development is planned.

This man-made lake is one of its kind and the largest in the state collecting rain water from the entire township and retains it for various domestic and other uses. The ‘Sobha City Mall’ is strategically located by the lake to allow visitors to enjoy its breath-taking view. The lake deck acts as a vibrant space enhancing the overall shopping experience.

It is notable that traders and business people in the State of Kerala sell goods worth Rs. 1200 crore a day. The State accounts for 22% of total non-resident Indian (NRI) remittance to India; especially Chavakkad in Thrissur district has one of the highest numbers of NRIs. Additionally, Thrissur is the fourth largest city and the third largest urban agglomeration in Kerala. Furthermore, Thrissur has steadily emerged as the commercial hub for retail, real estate, Ayurveda and banking & financial services. Today, Thrissur City is also referred to as the Golden City of India as it manufactures 70% of plain gold jewellery in Kerala.

Real estate has always been a promising sector in Thrissur due to factors such as land availability, image of a clean and green city, upcoming educational institutions and tourism. In addition, Thrissur has medical colleges, engineering colleges and has a floating population as it is the nearest city to the Guruvayoor temple, which is one of the most important pilgrim centres in South India and is visited by millions of devotees every year.