Melting Pot of Tradition & Modernism
West Bengal lawmakers in Julyunanimously voted to change the name of the state to Bangla.But, also steadily changing, is the skyline of its capital city Kolkata.SapnaSrivastavaspoke to prominent developers of the state on the changing landscape of the state.
West Bengal is an assimilation of colonial architecture, the club culture, Rabindranath, Satyajit Ray, MohunBagan-East Bengal and everything in between. Particularly evident is the Kolkata city’s cosmopolitan nature where 50 per cent of the population isMarwaris, Gujaratis, Punjabis, Parsees, Anglo-Indians and people from Bihar, UP and South India.
Economically, West Bengal apart from just being the hub of heavy industries is attracting IT – ITes and BFSI companies that are driving the rise of new class of economically powerful service-class Bengalis. Also, Kolkata is emerging as a major primary warehousing hub in India, besides Mumbai and Chennai.
Characteristics of Kolkata
Central Kolkata is the Central Business District and an upmarket retail hub with high-end residential developments.Micro markets –B.B.D Bagh, Chowringhee Road, Park Street, Shakespeare Sarani, Camac Street, Esplanade
Eastern part of Kolkata comprises newly-developed residential areas. Micro markets – Salt Lake City, Rajarhat New Town, EM Bypass
West Kolkata contains the new commercial developments. Micro markets -Maheshtala, Santragachi, Howrah, Makardaha, Bandhaghat
North zone, the oldest regions in Kolkata comprises dilapidated buildings, crowded bazaars and slums. Micro markets –Barasat, Dum Dum, Uttarpara, Barrackpore, Belgharia
South Kolkata is a residential region consisting of upscale neighbourhoods. Micro markets –Kalikapur, Garia, Narendrapur, Joka, Baruipur
Today, the para culture of Bengal is fast waning replaced by apartment complexesand gated communities. No wonder, the newer suburbs of Kolkata such as Salt Lake City, Rajarhat, Newtown and New Gariaare as glitzy as Gurgaon or Bengaluru.
Kolkata is embracing luxury living in a big way exemplified by the Trump Towers, developed jointly by Tribeca, Unimark and RDB, Atmosphere by Forum Group, the world’s first residential with floating sky sculpture andThe 42, tallest ultra-luxurious apartment in Eastern Indiaby developers Mani group, SalalpuriaSattva group, Alcove Realty & Diamond Group, to name just a few.
Kolkata has the third-highest number of high net-worth individuals (HNIs) in India, with net assets of USD one million or more, as per the World Wealth Report 2017. The statistics indicate a rich appetite for ultra-luxury residential with many takers for such projects in upmarket localities like Chowringhee, Rawdon Street, Ballygunge and Jodhpur Park.
On the other end of the spectrum, is Kolkata real estate major price correction. Tollygungesaw the price dip of 17%, followed by 12% correction in Rajarhat-New Town and 2%-4% in the Salt Lake, Behala, BT Road, Jessore Road, Madhyamgram and Narendrapurareas, according to the industry reports. Affordable and mid-segment segment constitutesat least 90% of the total new launches, with most developers maintaining a high thrust on this segment and seeing it as the future growth area.
The Residential Hotspots
• EM Bypas with its close vicinity to economic hubs and good physical and social infrastructure is now the investment destination for residential buyers in all segments.
• Rajarhat New Town is a cosmopolitan township near the international airport has major IT companies in the neighbourhood that makes it an attractive location for home buyers.
• Joka is another emergent micro market well connected to city centre via two four-lane highways, Diamond Harbour Road and James Long Sarani.
• Garia real estate is driven by its convenient access to nearby commercial centres, Airport Metro link and social infrastructure.
• Barasat is favoured due to the improving physical and social infrastructure making it a popular residential market of the near future.
Kolkata’s commercial realty market is inclining towards secondary business districts (SBD) such as Park Circus Connector – Topsia&Rashbehari Connector – Kasba Industrial Estate and peripheral business districts (PBD) like Salt Lake City and New Town around Kolkata.
Good connectivity and lower rentals combined with infrastructure issue of congestion, parking and low supply of grade-A office spacein the city’s central business district (CBD) in central Kolkataare the major factors for this shift. Both SBDs and the PBDs offer distinct advantages over the CBD in terms of availability of quality grade A office space and average rental rates lower than the average CBD rates by 15%-25% in SBD and 55-65% in PBD, as per ICRA.
Roads Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) a Rs. 27 billion action plan for widening and extension of arterial roads, strengthening and broadening of secondary roads.
Construction of elevated roads, flyovers, bridges, and pedestrian underpasses throughout the city
Outer Ring Road of 400 km is to be made operational by constructing 66 km of additional new road.
Inner Ring Road is to be completed extending the existing road network in the west and the north.
Metro East-West Metro Corridor connecting Salt Lake to Howrah and the CBD
Metro link connecting the southern and northern fringes of the city via
Extension of East-West Metro from Salt Lake City to NSC Bose Airport
Housing ‘Nijoshree.’ scheme will provide homes under two categoriesto people whose monthly income is above INR 15,000 and above INR 30,000
Communication Over 580 Mbps of international satellite connectivity through VSNL and 5 STPI Earth Stations, located at Kolkata, Siliguri, Haldia, Kharagpur, and Durgapur.
The Bengal government is partnering with private players like BhartiAirtel, Reliance Infocomm, and Vodafone to connect Kolkata with the rest of the world.
Infrastructure Tajpur Port to be developed by Bhor Sagar Port Ltd, a SPV formed by Kolkata Port Trust and State government
Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project to connect Sittwe Port in Myanmar to the Indian seaport of Kolkata
Bhutan border Road, a new 18 km road near the border of Bhutan to be constructed by West Bengal government
Sanjay Jain, Group Managing Director, Siddha Group
There is an uncanny similarity between the stock market and the real estate market today. Though the overall equity market is looking weak, there are several stocks worth investing right now. Similarly, though the broader real estate market is flat, action is happening at the micro level. There are several pockets across metros and large cities where property prices are reasonable and investors can expect good returns.
In other cases, it was saturation in nearby prime suburbs that saw a new market emerge and boom. With growing infrastructure in these micro markets, their interest to buy in such areas is increasing. Now the focus has shifted from premium properties to the affordable and mid-priced segments, due diligence by home buyers has also improved.
Since 2008, our focus is on affordable housing to the mass HOUSING. Our forte is providing house for the mid income segment with an annual income of Rs 15 – 20 lakh or less such as Siddha Town Rajarhat and Siddha Town Madhyamgram both in Kolkata. Siddha is also coming up with the Tallest tower in Kandivali West in the northern suburban part of Mumbai.
Siddha delivered EWS projects like Siddha Ashray in jaipur in 2013 and Bonoriniin West Bengal in 2016. We are now coming up with a EWS mass-housing project in North Kolkata – Siddha Magnum. This project will have around 6500 apartments. We are also developing over 1.8 million sqft Slum Rehabilitation & Residential Projects in Mumbai. Now we are going to develop around 8 lakh sqft area for slum rehabilitation projects in in Kandivali West and Wadala.
We have also initiated rental service facilities where a Siddha home owner can rent out his/her flat through us. We have concierge services for outstation customers and through Digital Platform we will be conducting Auctions for home Seekers wherein they can bid for flats.
Total area under development (residential & commercial): Ogoing-1.44 croreSq.ft
Expansion plans in other cities: Opened sales offices in DUBAI & USA, sales offices at Guwahati &Agartala
Rishi Jain, Executive Director, Jain Group
Kolkata market is fast catching up with the real estate trends of other metro cities. The inherent demand for housing, commercial and retail spaces will continue to grow with the economy of the state on the upward curve.
The new age Bengalis staying in UAE, UK, US, Australia because of their emotional connects and yearly visit for Durga Puja to the city, buy homes for themselves or their parents in Kolkata. The trend is on-going and one of the drivers of real estate market of the state. Though last two years, the market did not do very well because of the structural changes happening in the real estate.
Our group is just a decade old in the realty sector as a developer. Earlier being financier, we had the grasp of the segment and therefore decided to foray full-fledged in the real estate business. The company has already delivered over 3.5 millionsqft of area till date. We are now coming up with the IPO and will be the only developer of the state to do so.
At Dream One project in Rajarhat, we have introduced modular customizable options like those available in Bengaluru. They are Kolkata’s most technologically advanced homes with seamless information between apartment residents for socializing, security and other lifestyle features via the Smartphone. The Dream Eco City is a luxurious apartment complex in Durgapur sprawled across 7.5 acres. As an environmental initiative we are undertaking complete afforestation of the property.
In today’s scenario after sales service in real estate has become very important, especially the consumer’s feedback on the social media. One negative feedback can lose a company, hundreds of potential customers. Enhancing customer experience therefore has become part of the sales strategy in our company.
Company’s segments of operation: Real estate and Hospitality
Geographical presence of the company: Kolkata, Siliguri and Durgapur
Total area under development (residential & commercial):
Developed & delivered -3.5 million sqft
Under construction – 3 million sqft
No of residential units sold in last one year:100 units +
Total annual turnover for last financial year:Rs. 130 Crores.
Future Revenue target:Rs. 155 Crore in the current financial year
Abhishek Bharadwaj, Chief Marketing Officer, Shristi Group
Kolkata is the main real estate market of East India. Even residents of Northeaster states are investing in Kolkata to get a foothold in this flourishingrealty market. The state has its own set of challenges like lack of clarity and implementation of RERA but overall consumer confidence is increasing.
Moreover, the markets in South India are getting saturated and it’s time for West Bengal to be the next region of growth. The present state government is paying a lot of emphasis on infrastructure development. There is political stability in the state, safety and security is improving, the days of bandh are over now and land regulations are getting flexible. Lot of non-resident Bengalis are showing interest in investing in Bengal like our premium residential project in Shantniketan has received maximum bookings from other countries.
The largest segment of real estate buyers in Bengal today is the 25-30 years age group. The developers too are focusing on mid-income and affordable housing segment keeping in mind the purchasing power of this target audience. Srishtitoo is developing townships jointly with the government offering. Our first project inDurgapur was a mixed use integrated township. Other similar projects are in the industrial belt ofAsansol, Haldia and also in Rajarhat.
As a matter of fact, the changing lifestyle of people can be gauged by the fact that when ‘Big Bazaar’opened in Asansol, pasta, olives and the entire gourmet products sold like hotcakes. So as a builder we need to understand the aspirational value of smaller towns and cater according to that demand.
Geographical presence of the company –Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Asansol, Durgapur, Kolkata, Haldia, Krishnagar, Agartala, Guwahati, Siliguri, Shantinekatan, Raniganj.
Company’s Area of expertise–Integrated Townships, Healthcare, Hospitality, Retail Malls, Logistics, Entertainment & Sports facilities, Commercial & Residential complexes and Industrial Parks & SEZs
Total area under development (residential & commercial) –11.50 Lacs sq. ft
No of residential units sold in last one year:In Asansol – 160 stocks.
Total annual turnover –Consolidated Figure: Rs. 2,02,72,98,846/-
Standalone (Shristi):Rs. 1, 05, 55, 49,430/-
Future Revenue target:The figures for FY 18 -19 is Rs. 410 crores (consolidated)
Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, Chief Executive Officer, Mani Group
In West Bengal, the businesses and government works at a different pace than maybe in Mumbai, Delhi or Bengaluru. The national level developers sometime find that a challenge. Real estate is a very regional segment that needs thorough understanding of the work culture and the lifestyle of the place. While Mani Group is doing projects in other cities, we continue to focus on Eastern India’s market as we know the market well.
Apart from Kolkata as the major market of Eastern region, Bhubaneswar is an upcoming real estate market and it will do very well. Kolkata is a good market for investors as well as the end-users.
The formula for success for realty developers is efficiency and nothing else. Whether it is a luxury, mid-income or affordable housing project if the internal processes and construction technologies are not efficient, the revenue margins will decrease. Whenever there are leftover inventories, the developers are to be blamed, for it maybe the delay in project delivery, poor track record of the developer or the bad product design.
The real estate sector has changed completely. Developer was a king earlier, now it is the customer who dictates the market. We have to listen to customers to create a differentiating factor and give value for money. For instance, we are building projects in extreme segments, delivering apartments worth Rs 20 CR in Chowringhee in Kolkata, Rs 25 lakh in Durgapur toRs 13 Lakh home in Barrackpore in West Bengal. The demands for each segment are completely different and so is the product accordingly.
Our other initiatives include the J.W. Marriot in Kolkata and a “Courtyard by Marriott” in Siliguri and a 100-acre IQ City township containing NarayanaMultispeciality Hospital in Durgapur, West Bengal.
Company’s segments of operations: Real Estate (Residential,Retail & Commercial), Hospitality&Edu-Health (Education& Healthcare)
Geographical presenceof the company:West Bengal – Kolkata&Siliguri, Rajasthan – Jaipur &Ajmer, Odisha – Bhubaneswar
Total area underdevelopment (residential & commercial): 11 million sqft
No of residential unitssold in last one year: 175 units