KOLKATA’S SPECTRUM FOR INVESTMENT
Kolkata is all set to witness a massive growth in real estate investment. The city’s absence of glitzy towers like in Mumbai and Delhi are more than made up impressively in other ways.
Kolkata’s improving urban infrastructure, affordable housing prices and the emotional connect of Nonresident Bengalis to the city, are some of the major growth drivers of this East India city. Furthermore, state government has recently introduced business friendly initiatives to promote investments in the state. Land policies are being reviewed and state is steering towards an industry-friendly ecosystem. In terms of residential sector, Kolkata has always been an end user driven market focused on affordable and mid-income residential projects. The scenario seems to be changing now. Luxury homes are much in demand and these projects are fast growing in numbers across the city.
Surekha Bihani, MD, Kolkata, JLL India, East reflected, “Kolkata has always been a focused market in the real estate industry. Today, apart from residential, commercial and the world of retail, there are many sectors which are coming up. Though the office space consumption is much smaller in Kolkata, compared to other metros, the demand is increasing. An emerging segment is that of industrial parks with plug and play infrastructure.
Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, CEO, Mani Group pointed out “Kolkata has witnessed consistent development as an emerging IT hub over the last decade, and places like Rajarhat and Sector V Salt Lake city are the new growth centres. With the rapid growth of infrastructure and IT sectors, Kolkata has become a great hub for business and is beckoning investors and homebuyers alike.”
Harsh Vardan Patodia, CMD, Unimark Group expressing similar sentiments said, “Kolkata is the main city of entire East India. It is already on the path to developing an ecosystem of investment and social infrastructure that will create more job opportunities resulting in more requirements for real estate in all segments.”
Growth Drivers of Real Estate
According to Jhunjhunwala, having sold 50,000 square feet of residential space within 2 years, during the peak market scenario, they delivered 20-25 lakh flats this year, as there is consumption. “Hospitality and retail segments too are growing. Mani Group’s JW Marriott hotel in Kolkata has grown to 281 room capacity and Mani Square Mall has recorded footfall growth at an average of 18 per cent last year.”
Elaborating on the new changes, Sanjay Jain, Group Managing Director, Siddha Group said, “Land is a complicated subject in West Bengal. The Thika Tenancy Act is a hindrance for real estate development in the state. Overall land supply will increase in Kolkata if this Act is amended.”
NG Khaitan, Senior Partner, Khaitan & Co. added, “Total area under Thika Tenancy Act is 2,517 acres. This include prime locations like Ahiritola, Burrabazar, Tangra, Kasba, Gouribari, Metiabruz, Garden Reach, Chetla, Topsia, Kalighat, Beliaghata and Belilious Road in Howrah. Unlocking land parcels is of major importance.” Also read http://realtyplusmag.com/are-we-ready-to-be-a-smart-city/
Warehousing & Logistics
Surekha Bihani mentioned “A lot of investments are happening in Bengal in the Logistic and Warehousing sector – NCR has the highest consumption of 9.4 million square feet. followed by Bangalore, which is around 6.5 million square feet, Calcutta, Pune and Chennai are approximately in the same range of 3.3-3.6 million square feet. Companies like Embassy and Blackstone are developing Grade-A spaces.”
Nandu Belani – President, CREDAI Bengal & Chairman, Belani Group of Companies, opined “Warehousing is going to be the largest driver of West Bengal, given it is a port city with one of the larger networks of roadways and rails. Warehousing is going to be a great economy generator driving the real estate in a bigger way.”
Shourya Mandal, Partner, Fox Mandal Solicitors & Advocates stated, “For warehousing sector, the biggest problem is Urban Land Ceiling Act. The large warehousing players need minimum 50 acres of land that cannot be acquired under given Act. Kolkata has a huge catchment area and there’s a demand.”
Kolkata has its own pace of city life and Kolkata residents would not have it any other way. Those who have moved to other cities and countries still want their prospective fortunes to be in Kolkata or West Bengal. With a consumer base of around 100 million and over 300 million people covering entire East and North East of India, West Bengal serves as the perfect entry-point to businesses. As growth is inevitable, so is development.