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.Â
The 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 developersâ€™ 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.Â
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 pensionersâ€™ 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 cityâ€™s business districts, traditionally Coimbatoreâ€™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.Â
The developersâ€™ 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 thatÂ 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 withÂ Colliers International says Coimbatore Â 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 forÂ development in CBD. The SBD and PBD can emerge as theÂ new growth corridors and if planned well could be the newer CBDs of the city.
â€śCoimbatoreâ€™s business destinations could not grow beyond Avinashi Road, Gandhipuram and RS Puram because tillÂ 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 nextÂ generationÂ has been encouraging people toÂ travel beyond these locations and developments haveÂ started coming up in locations likeÂ SathyÂ Road, L&T Bypass Road andÂ Pollachi Road. Â Earlier, these were only ideal choice for industries,â€ť saysÂ Parasuraman.
Defending Coimbatoreâ€™s real estate for being a slow mover towards creating more business districts T Chitty Babu, Chairman & CEO, Akshaya Homes rather feels that theÂ 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.
â€śAny city needs a proper plan in creating the right clusters â€“ 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,â€ť 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 isÂ no large land parcel available for growth as Â the old corporate groups are neither willing toÂ develop further nor parting with their land for development which is restricting the further growth of the city.Â
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 â€“ 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 developersâ€™ willingness and the investment appetite is there in the city but the lack of quality business destinations have been a deterrent.