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Greening realty, brick by brick

 Dominick Rodrigues |  2014-10-12 21:36:48.0  |  New Delhi

Greening realty, brick by brick

It is boom-time for the real estate sector in India, where green is in fashion and fashion is in season with ‘golden’ moments, golfing courses outside one’s own home and skyward swimming pools for the fortunate folks, even as the future of real estate and construction development unfolds with the industry overcoming the economic slump through leaner, meaner yet bolder and bountiful budgets to present their offerings to a fastidious, change-seeking, housing-savvy clientele.


This was very much in evidence at the MCHI-CREDAI Property 2014 Expo held recently in Mumbai, which continues to be the economic hub of India and a beehive of activity drawing developers from far and wide. Around 150 exhibitors were showcasing over 1,500 multi-location properties in the four-day event which drew over almost 90,000 visitors, — compared to around 80 participants and 75,000 visitors in this show last year. The year 2014 is indicating an upward trend with flow of positive activities in the real estate and properties market in many tier-II cities, especially  in states like Kerala, Ahmedabad and Maharashtra including Mumbai itself, according to industry sources.

The expo concluded with a record number of bookings and visitors (87,734), over 387 properties being sold and thousands of queries generated by developers.  MCHI-CREDAI Exhibition Committee Chairman Bandish Ajmera said, ‘The expo witnessed the return of momentum in the property market and  lived up to its reputation as the flagship event of the real estate industry in India. It drew projects by celebrities such as Bollywood actors Suneil Shetty and Shilpa Shetty placing their projects on display, Signature Towers like the +Trump Tower+ by Panschil Realty and ‘F’ Residences by A&O satisfied the High Networth Individuals. The plethora of offers pushed customers to take spot decisions as well.’

The venue of this property show itself highlighted the uniqueness of its efforts in showcasing itself as a colossal platform for property buyers as well as real estate moguls. ‘The 23rd edition of the annual MCHI-CREDAI is a show-stopper of properties expo with explored innovations like a façade depicting the cultural base and structures of the city of Mumbai, a +Roman+ seating arrangement in an open and beautiful landscaped area, which is actually the +Piazza+ from where visitors can proceed to the various categories of real estate with LED banners lining the walkway,’ said Ajmera. ‘Each facet of the real estate and infrastructure industry has been explored through this property show which caters to all major property sectors across the country and is highlighting residential, commercial, corporate sectors, financial service providers, government officials, policy developers, architects, interior designers, consultants and others – besides also allowing networking effectively with industry stakeholders, government bodies, HFI brokers, NBFC, IPCs, fellow developers and also redevelopment  societies.’

Green has become the new watchword as this industry builds towering, bigger structures in cities that reach out towards the sky, or beautiful bungalows and vivacious villas on hill stations and high-level plains, nestling amidst nature in its verdant carpet and forests. Green living atop Koroli hill station in Nature Villas termed as ‘E&G Green Courts’— where  bringing nature to your home  is the slogan of E&G Global Estates — is a venture started by a group of nature-lovers who wanted people to live life in villas amidst nature, while combining it with modern comforts through modern gated communities.  Ganesh Ahire, CMD, E&G Global Estates Ltd, said this project features 2 BHK and 4 BHK villas in a greenscape situated at 2,158 ft above mean sea level and the Lake Vaitarna’s backwaters at the foot step. ‘To make living there more exciting, we are providing boating, migratory birds spotting, trekking into the mountains, stargasing and bonfires alongside other activities. The project is 50 per cent completed in 55 villages with rainwater harvesting upto 80 lakh litres per year, besides wastewater treatment for usage in plantations.’

‘Flyash bricks (made from coal residue in power plants) have been used in making of building bricks (called Autoclaved Aerated Blocks (AAC) which are porous, balancing temperature and not catching fire easily). The villa roofs are made of ‘PUFF’ sheets (which are used in Europe to reduce heat and provide sound-proofing in rainfall) which are costlier but are more effective, durable and fire-resistant,’ said E&G Global Estates ltd Director Dipesh Bhadane, adding this project is part of the company’s efforts to create  ‘communities in nature’.

Another green venture is the Park Royale ‘Eco-Friendly Homes’ of the PRIDE Group, which is proposed to be an ‘IGBC Green Homes Pre-certified Gold’ project having 2, 3 and 5 BHK ultra-modern apartments in a serene environment comprising rainwater harvesting, earthquake resistant RCC design, pleasant elevation, besides a host of other facilities. ‘Our project, which is an eco-friendly property with green belt that belongs to the government and has been approved by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, also features a gym, swimming pool, outdoor space for senior citizens, indoor recreation area, among other things’ said Park Royale (S&M) Assistant Manager Samidha Agarwal. Fashion too is in the limelight. Brahmacorp Ltd shot into came into fame with its launch of the first hi-tech ‘Sun City’ – a residential gated community that became a benchmark thereafter. It is now partnering with Paris-based international fashion television channel FTV,  in what is slated to be the ‘world’s first such project.’

The company bagged many prestigious national and international property awards for its ‘F-Residences: the World’s 1st Fashion Condos’ in collaboration with Fashion TV. This maiden venture of Fashion TV —which will be eventually available in select upscale cities around the globe — incorporates some of the most iconic fashion elements into its architecture and showcases fashionably-designed condominiums nestled amidst private cocoons of luxury and top-class amenities including a signature swimming pool, exclusive sports arena and gym, tranquil green spaces and shopping street apart from opulent interior features.

Imposing architecture, manicured landscape gardens , emancipating amphitheatre and paved walkways all contribute to a panorama of vivaciously urban vistas. ‘We have a fashion designer from Fashion TV who designs the residences according to the customers’ choices – thus making each one a fashion statement – even as we are trying to provide high-end living at a low price that begins from Rs 70 lakh for a two-bedroom apartment,’ said Brahmacorp Assistant Manager (Sales), adding ‘The present is a buyer’s market and we are catering to them in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar where the prevailing rate is around Rs 20,000 per square foot, though we have lowered the bar to make it Rs 7,200 per square foot. We are working on a customer-centric feeling and we have received about 20 positive customer queries in this show.’

Swimming pools have gone skywards – as also gymnasiums – with the structures’ rooftops providing an exercising alternative to the home dwellers, even as the majority of developers highlight other sports activities featuring ‘US Open-certified’ tennis and squash courts, jogging tracks and even golf courses. INDIABULLS is building a ‘Golf City’ with houses designed in Spanish-styled architecture on the Areez Madraswalla, lopes of the Sahyadri mountains near the Mumbai-Pune Expressway with an 18-hole golf course designed by Phil Ryan — the world renowned specialist in golf course construction.

Additional attractions thrown in for good measure by the developers included: clubhouses, shopping arcades and malls, hospitals, educational institutions, high street retail, waterparks etc.  Making waste work usefully are the sewage and waste treatment plants that convert the water suitable for use in greenery growth, while solar and wind power generation are catching up in fulfilling the power supply needs of the new generation home owners. Highlighting active lifestyles is Nirmal Lifestyle which — after developing 5 million square feet in its pioneering concept of ‘Active Living’ through its landmark projects comprising residential and commercial spaces with the ethos of sports and fitness – has set its sights on developing active lifestyles rather than mere residences. Leading sports federation and global brands  such as USTA (Governing body of the US Open Tournaments) and IAAF (Governing body of International Track & Field Events) have acknowledged Nirmal Lifestyle’s philosophy and is partnering with them in providing the best of international facilities for the discerning Indian, according to Nirmal Sales Manager Parth Shah.

The Nirmal Lifestyle Group is promoting usage of tennis courts, basketball, cricket pitches, swimming pools and gymnasiums in one of their two different focusing on sports activities and the other concerning ‘nature.’ ‘In the nature project, we have two rivers – Bhatsa and Ulhas – surrounding this project which envisions 91 residences across 300 acres with river view, gardens and school for labourers’ kids. The international facilities here are Ryan International School, international jogging track and swimming pools built to world standards,’ Shah said.

Rommel Group had many things to offer too for its customers with unique taste. ‘This is a GREEN Building and also the first such structure having the topmost platinum rating from the IGBC, besides transparency in approvals and stages of construction,’ said Rommel Group Director D Rommel. ‘This is a unique project being constructed by a swiss construction company HCC Steiner, and having five-star-rating gadgets that conserve energy, residence spaces beginning 100 feet above the ground atop multi-levels of podium parking – like a castle in the sky that is blissfully insulated from the hustle bustle below.’

With a turnover of Rs 100 crore and delivery of over two million square feet, the group is currently developing 1.5 million square feet of real estate, besides diversifying into built-to-suit facilities, IT parks, residential, redevelopment and rehabilitation of underprivileged projects. ‘We are incorporating corporate social responsibility (CSR) in our work ethos and have recently built a Muslims girls school in Mumbai which was part of a slum area in a redevelopment scheme,’ Rommel said, adding that ‘Balwadis’ too were set up for the project labourers with two meals daily and basic education for the children, besides skits being organised about the girl child, child abuse and other social problems.  On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, we supported a doctor’s efforts in organising a non-stop, 96 kms ‘Walkathon’ that witnessed over 300 participants with barely five making it across the finishing line in Mumbai.’

Tata Housing enjoys the unique position of having large in-city real estate properties in major and mini metros, besides having huge land banks in Gurgaon, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bangalore, and presently acquiring large land parcels across the country.

The Hiranandani Group, which pioneered the global face of Mumbai with its mega-projects, world-class township at Powai and Thane in Mumbai, are highlighting the fact that all their buildings are designed by renowned architect Hafeez contractor and landscaping by Peridian Singapore.
Adani Group, after successfully concluding high-profile projects in Gurgaon and Ahmedabad, is now eyeing Mumbai for similar projects alongside it being a diversified conglomerate with interests in Ports, real estate, special economic zones, power generation, oil & gas exploration and distribution.

Described as the ‘Pearl of the Orient,’ the beach state of Goa was highlighted by NAIKNAVARE Developers in their 40 projects in that state, Pune, Kolhapur and Navi Mumbai, that covers 8 million square feet constructed area, besides 2.5 million square feet under construction. Row houses, which have become the latest craze for second home owners, are being highlighted in Neura village of central Goa at a whopping price of Rs 2.22 crores.

Riding high on its successful international project in Bahrain which was a collaboration between AJMERA and the Mayfair Group called AJMERA-Mayfair Housing, Ajmera Realty continued its commitment to its 47-year-old legacy of pushing the envelope in terms of delivery quality construction, innovation in technology and on-time delivery of 40,000 homes and developments across 45 million square feet across the country.  ‘We pioneered the township projects and are among builders that ushered in township culture 47 years ago. We introduced the unique IMEX dome theatre, besides developing the CITIMALL (the first mall with a multiplex in Mumbai’s suburbs) and the 25-ACRE Bhakti Park, which is the number one private garden in Mumbai. We have delivered over 40,000 homes across India and developed about 45 million square feet across the country,’ said an Ajmera representative.

Dominick Rodrigues

Dominick Rodrigues

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