Vadodara turns out to be favourable investment destination in the real estate segment

Investing in real estate constitutes largely to identify the right opportunity. The key factors to look for investment are requirements,  appreciation, value and various reasons – One of the crucial ones being – the city and the area. There are various cities in India that are favourable from investment point of view. One of the cities that is into the radar is the cultural centre of Gujarat – Vadodara, says Pankaj Srivastava Chief Operating Officer, Maitreya Realtors & Constructions Pvt Ltd.


Pankarj Srivastava, Naresh Kanodia and Janardhan Parulaker at the inauguration of Maitreya Paradiso at Vadodara.

Maitreya Realtors & Constructions Pvt Ltd (MRCPL), the construction arm of the Maitreya Group of Companies, started in 1998 is a real estate company engaged in the business of commercial, residential and retail projects. Under the leadership of its CMD, Varsha Satpalkar, the company currently focuses on construction and development of real estate properties across the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. The acumen of Pankaj contributes largely to the success of the company.

With the proud track record of building trust and delivering values to all its stakeholders, MRPCL is poised to become a leading brand in the real estate sector. The company is recognized for its quality, sustainable projects, transparent deals, timely delivery and services for all income groups. Its strategic alliances and partnerships, as well as highly competent in-house team, enables the company to undertake and smoothly execute construction of high-end bungalows, villas, residential apartments as well as shopping malls across the country. To its credit, the company has several sophisticated myriad housing projects in various cities of Maharashtra such as Pune, Aurangabad, Vasai, Dhule, Jalgaon and Sangli, to name a few; while it has also constructed several commercial projects in Mumbai, Sangli and Kolhapur.

Currently, MRPCL is engaged in designing, building and marketing of its several residential and commercial projects in Nashik and Sangali. Some of these key projects are:

Maitreya Greens – It is the first ever IGBC Gold pre-certified green project in Nashik. Spread across ten acres of lush green land, of which only 40 percent would be developed into six residential towers. Comprises of Ground plus 14 floors, these towers are constructed in a complete eco-friendly manner.

Maitreya Pandav Van – Located beside famous Pandav Caves, Pandav Van is a 40 Exclusive 2 BHK Twin-bungalows Scheme. Each bungalow comes with a private garden, car parking, balconies and terraces, planned in a way that it ensures full privacy and at the same time offers lot of open space.

Maitreya Sankul – Located amidst lush green landscape of Pathardi, Maitreya Sankul is a residential project that comprise of six storey buildings offerings 2 BHK spacious flats that easily fits into the budget of middle-income families.

Maitreya Sunrise – A perfect combination of commercial and residential units, Maitreya Sunrise consists of 62 residential apartments, 39 shops and 10 godowns. This finest complex is constructed at a prime location in Sangli which is well connected to railway station and bus stand.

A veteran for over 20 years in real estate sector, Pankaj is responsible for strategic planning and managing overall business operations of the company. He started his career as an Assistant Civil Engineer at Continental Constructions Limited following which he joined Larsen & Toubro Ltd as a Civil Engineer for a span of five years. His stint as a project manager in Gherzi Eastern Limited and Macquarie Real Estate helped him climb the ladder. In July 2010, Pankaj joined Tata Housing Development Co. Ltd as General Manager – Engineering after which he earned the designation of Vice President with Octamec Engineering Limited.

Today, Pankaj has successfully established Maitreya Realtors & Constructions Pvt Ltd by managing the company’s day-to-day operations smoothly. With a sound knowledge of statutory, municipal rules and regulations and labour laws, strong technical and commercial acumen, experience in macro and micro level planning and ensuring contracts are administered effectively and efficiently, Pankaj has capitalised the stature of Maiterya Realtors & Constructions Pvt Ltd in the real estate space. His scheduling and implementing construction projects by ensuring development of integrated Program Plan that addresses contingency and minimises interruptions and provides safeguards against project over-runs and implementation of project control has resulted into rapid expansion.

A Post Graduate in Civil Engineering from Birla Institute of Technology and Science – Pilani Rajasthan, has also attended a Short Term Course on Sesmic Designs from IIT Kanpur and course on an Internal Auditor for ISO Systems – BIS.

In a tete-a-tete, Srivastava shares insights on the real estate overview in Vadodara and how the city favours to be a favourable investment option. Exerpts:


Naresh Kanodia at the opening of Maitreya Paradiso at Vadodara.

JM: What are the reasons which define Vadodara as a favourable investment destination?

PS: Various reasons secure defining Vadodara as a favourable investment destination. To mention a few, the city is emerging as an IT hub. There are major infrastructural developments planned in the city coupled with the industrial areas, which shall lead to improved connectivity to the city and increased employment opportunities within and around the city. The Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor passes through Vadodara, making it a key destination for attracting industrial investments.

Gujarat’s leading educational institutions are located in Vadodara, offering skilled and intellectual manpower in abundance for various industries and R&D activities. Interestingly it is an ideal destination for the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to settle down as well. It is also an emerging hub for various glass manufacturing companies and automobile ancillary plants. Various towns are home to Pharmaceutical and other Chemical manufacturing ventures.

Vadodara is home to a large number of reputed large scale industries and public sector units like Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (IPCL), Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Gujarat Alkalies and Chemical Ltd (GACL), and Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL). A large number of builders have also become a major part of Vadodara real estate.

JM: Can you talk about Maitreya’s projects in Vadodara?

PS: Maitreya Realtors & Constructions Private Ltd (MRCPL), the construction division of the Maitreya Group of Companies had launched its premium plotting project near Ajwa Funworld in the name of Maitreya Paradiso.

Maitreya Paradiso is located at the Rasulabaad Jharod crossing, before Ajwa Funworld. Surrounded by lush greenery, the project entails 120 plots ranging from 1800-8000 square feet targeting a range of buyers depending upon their choice and preference. Customers can buy these plots and construct their desired villas as per the standard elevation and specifications.  The Infrastructure that includes a attractive designed compound wall, grand entrance plaza, internal roads, electricity and water connections to individual plots, storm water drains, Sewage treatment plant, soft water supply and an elegant club house.

JM: What makes this project unique…

PS: It is a unique venture for those who wish to invest in land parcels or for those looking for their second home or thinking about their retirement homes. One can buy the plot and construct home as per his requirements.

With the urban development authority of Vadodara continuously encouraging many construction companies to establish residential areas, IT parks and shopping malls within the city, the city promises a bright future not only for itself but also for those who intend to draw on the prospects of an emerging cosmopolitan.



Ashiana Housing offers exclusive luxury apartments, Tree Houses and Residencies at Bhiwadi

Though, Bhiwadi is known for low and middle income housing, the next real estate boom town after Gurgaon, however, with the launch of Tree House Residences – an all luxury apartments by Ashiana it has slowly entered the map of  luxe housing destination. The sample flat of first such luxury project is ready and shown to selected  audiences on March 2, 2014 during Ashiana Housing’s know your neighbour initiative, according to a company statement.
‘Tree House Residencies’ in Bhiwadi for those who desire to live a statement-making lifestyle but cannot afford one in Delhi and Gurgaon.  The apartments are for those who believe in living with the state-of-art facilities. It is an exclusive, niche, stylish project with top-notch amenities for the modern buyer who aspires for a quality life.
The project consists of thirty six extravagance apartments. Total of nine stories in four towers spread in the area of one acre land; each apartment is designed to provide grand life style, maximum comfort and convenience. These are high-end apartments with a choice of thirty-four 4BHK apartments in the area of 3255 square feet and two 5BHK apartments in the area of 3755 square feet. It guarantees excellence in the living archetype with a wide range of facilities like, in-house gymnasium, children’s playing area, community hall and much more. They have ensured that everyday living is a pleasure at Tree House Residences with the membership of well-equipped facilities at Treehouse hotel, spa and club.
Among others, Tree House Residency customers will have access to the club,  with facilities such as swimming pool, spa, food courts, gym, sports bar, rest­aurants, tennis court, business centre, For safety, it will have high-level security with fire sprinklers and fire hydrants.
Vishal Gupta, Managing Director of Ashiana Housing says: “We share a very special bond with the place Bhiwadi. Our every project in Bhiwadi seeks to bring about a constructive transformation in the lives of millions and build a world into the land of serene coexistence for every resident. The Tree House Residences will fill in the gap prevailing in luxury segment between Gurgaon and Bhiwadi”.

Saint-Gobain Glass India announces Winners of Transparence 2013

The Saint-Gobain Glass organised annual design competition, Transparence 2013 held for students of Architecture and Design, conducted its Grand Finale at Hyderabad on January 29, 2014 during the annual 56th NASA  (National Association of Students of Architecture) 2014 convention, according to a statement issued by Saint-Gobain.

Shahab Ghani Khan (Extreme left ) Architect from Pakistan, Mustapha Khalid Palash ( second from left) Architect from Bangladesh, Ranjit Sabikhi from Ranjit Sabikhi Architects (Centre), with  the winning team – Academy of Architecture, Mumbai. Unnikrishnan, National Head, Sales and Marketing , Saint-Gobain Glass India  (extreme right ) and R Subramanian, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass India ( second from right) are seen with the winners . Gita Balakrishnan (third from right ) from Ethos looks on.
Transparence, India’s largest competition for students of architecture and Interior design is a unique initiative by Saint-Gobain Glass to integrate the student community, architects and the industry. The event is supported by Gita Balakrishnan run ‘Ethos’. The competition originally being held for Indian students since 2005 was made open for the SAARC nations to participate since 2013.
Held at the NASA Convention 2014, and judged by an eminent jury comprising Ranjit Sabikhi from Ranjit Sabikhi Architects, India, Shahab Ghani Khan from Pakistan and Mustapha Khalid Palash from Bangladesh the fiercely contested competition saw Academy of Architecture, Mumbai emerge as the undisputed winners and walk away with a cash prize of Rs 75,000. The National Runner  up 1, was from IIT-Kharagpur which bagged a cash prize of Rs 50,000 and SPA Vijayawada stood third nationally with a cash award of Rs 25,000 COMSATS university Islamabad won the rest of SAARC countries edition of Transparence.
Saint-Gobain also gave away scholarship worth Rs 3,00,000 for students in the fields of architecture three students from across India received Rs 100,000 each worth scholarships to pursue activities in the field of architecture ranging from projects on reusing urban waste to modular shelters for street children. Fourteen colleges took up the theme of Transparence 2013 as studio projects and were awarded books worth Rs 30,000 per college as aid.
Transparence is Saint-Gobain India’s innovative initiative to bring together the emerging architectural student community, experienced and renowned architects as well as the expertise of the industry. Year after year, the event establishes a platform for the best talent in the  architectural student community  to demonstrate their prowess and passion for architecture. Since its inception in 2005, Transparence has grown in stature, and is close to achieving its vision of becoming the forum for a confluence of great architectural minds. Today, Transparence is considered a movement in its own right, by students and the architectural fraternity as well.
This year, Transparence 2013 required the contestants to design an ‘Architecture College’ that offers an alternative environment for studying and training to become an architect. Students were encouraged to design energy-efficient and environment-friendly Architecture College with integrated functionalities and structures that do not compromise on modern educational environment.
Regional rounds for submissions from colleges in India were conducted in the four cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai in November 2013 and  2 colleges from each region in India were selected from over 1200 registrations and over 260 submissions to compete for the GRAND FINALE. Apart from selecting the finalists, the regional level awards includes ‘JURY citation award, special recognition award and best studio project award at the regional level. Eminent architects were present as Jury members at the regional level.
After the grueling regional rounds, the teams that made it to the final from India were:

·         IIT Kharagpur

·         IIT Kharagpur


·         Chandigarh College of Architecture

·         NIT Hamirpur


·         SPA Vijayawada

·         SPA Vijayawada


·         Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda

·         Academy of Architecture Mumbai

The frenzy that comes with every edition of Transparence is to be seen to be believed and this year’s edition too, lived up to it. The enthusiastic excitement of more than 2000 students from 120 colleges egged the finalists on, as the event reached a crescendo.
Speaking on the occasion, R Subramanian, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Glass India said: “Transparence is Saint-Gobain’s innovative response to the changing times – the use of glass as a sustainable material for design is testimony to this. Transparence has always aimed to inspire and motivate the student community to showcase their talent and Transparence 2013 this year, has been a resounding success. This year Transparence travelled across Indian borders and was open to the SAARC countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Srilanka. We are happy to take this spirit which has ignited the passion of the Indian students of architecture to the students of other countries as well. It is great to witness the budding young architects and designers coming out with fresh and innovative ideas for the industry. This is a big opportunity for students to develop their skills. The overwhelming response from India and the SAARC countries  has reinforced our belief that creative young minds need a platform like Transparence to showcase their talent and we will continue to provide this kind of encouragement to the student community”.

Sanjay Puri: Only Indian Architect to win 33 international awards

Achieved a lot globally, yet remains a very private and understated South Bombayite. With his classic sensibilities, he is an avid traveller, known more in Milan or Italy than within his own turf. That is Sanjay Puri, the world renowned architect for you.

Brand in himself
Sanjay is a brand in himself and he is the only Indian Architect to will 33 coveted international awards. In fact, he is the only person in the world to have won three awards at MIPIM in March 2013.


The MIPIM is the equivalent of the Cannes in the field of architecture and design. Sanjay’s project, ‘DCaves’ in Hyderabad has won ‘The Most Sustainable Hotel in the World’ at the A+ Awards in New York last year as well.
Sanjay Puri and Associates, his firm is known not just for interesting designs, but also for contextual architecture. For instance, 72 screens in Jaipur takes its inspiration from the old traditional ‘jali’ screens of the architectural heritage of the region sheats the building on all sides further reducing the heat gain and rendering the building very energy efficient.
Also, the Courtyard House in Rajasthan is relatively large house, due to the client requirements, is designed in response to the desert climate of its location and is built sustainably with natural ventilation being facilitated throughout the house and minimised heat gain to increase its energy efficiency.
Notable projects
Few of his most prominent projects include the Chrome Hotel in Kolkata, DCaves Hotel in Hyderabad, H Hotel Lucknow, The Courtyard House in Rajasthan and more. Sanjay was also in the news lately for the Bombay Arts Society, which was launched in October last year.


Globally, the firm’s biggest and most noteworthy projects include the Chapel at Murcia in Spain and Teresa 153 in Montenegro. Sanjay, not known in many social circles in India has been featured in over 200 international publications.
Story behind the Enigma
It is not every day that one gets to be in the presence of sheer creative genius, which is nothing short of inspiring. One such personality is Sanjay Puri, who has silently but surely been working his way to become the leader in architecture and design in the country.
In an exclusive interview with Jayashankar Menon, the globally renowned Architect sheds more light on his education, growing up and rising to international fame. Excerpts:

JM: Can you talk about your education and the eventual beginning of your tryst with Architecture?
SP:  After finishing my graduation from Mayo College, I went on to pursue my dream of becoming an Architect and studied from the illustrious Academy of Architecture, Mumbai. My tryst with Architecture began at an early age and my formal training in the subject which gave me the means to channel my creativity in a productive manner. Like all creative minds, I find inspiration everywhere. Of course my biggest inspiration and something that I turn turns to even today is ‘The Fountainhead’ by Ayn Rand. This novel that is one of the greatest books of our times revolves around the life of the protagonist, an Architect who is so driven that he would rather struggle than compromise on his artistic vision. This is the mantra that I follow till today and is the thing that sets me apart from other Architects.

JM: Can you talk about your earlier career?
SP: I began my career by working under the Master Architect of my time: Hafeez Contractor, who taught me a lot of what I know on the subject. Subsequently, I went on to establish my own firm and in 1992 Sanjay Puri Architects was born. From then on there was no looking back. Today I am at the forefront, leading my impressive team of more than 72 employees in several projects in India and around the world.

JM: Your avant-garde architectural style is truly unique and a true expression of your creativity. What is the essence of your design theory?
SP: The essence of my design theory is creating innovative design spaces that are contextual but at the same time sustainable. The main aim is to evoke an exhilarating experience while infusing functionality effectively.

JM: Today you are the leading architect in the country with a name in India as well as overseas. You are the only architect worldwide to win awards in three categories at the latest MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards in France. Besides this you have also bagged over 33 international awards and numerous national awards garnering fame for yourself and your firm. How can you still be simple and down to earth?

SP: By nature, I am quite a simple and straightforward man, and do not believe in unnecessary embellishments on buildings. I prefer to focus on the form of the structure and pay more attention to the way the building feels and not just how it looks. I also do not look like a man who will allow success to go to my head and has managed to remain humble and unassuming in spite of having appeared in over 200 international publications and being a speaker in architectural events in Italy, Spain, Singapore, Serbia, Mexico and The Netherlands.

JM: Please describe your work?
SP: My utmost preoccupation is to evolve innovative design solutions and incorporate the geography of the location in a positive way into the design. Most of my designs have an element or principle of traditional Indian architecture that I try to imbibe in them in my own way. While designing a space, the most important thing to remember is not to hold back, to let your creativity flow undeterred. This is something that is missing in the run of the mill buildings that we see cropping up everywhere nowadays. I try to ensure that every structure I design and create is vastly different and unique from the previous one, and avoid repetition at all costs.

JM: Can you talk about Sanjay Puri Architects?
SP: Founded in 1992, Sanjay Puri Architects (SPA) today is one of the most sought after architectural and design firms in India. With a team of over 72 employees, the firm is an unmatched powerhouse of design. SPA has an extensive design portfolio that includes architectural and interior design projects in fields like hospitality, commercial, retail, educational and entertainment facilities as well as large urban projects and town planning. Currently we are involved in designing over 100 projects in 40 cities across India as well as projects in Montenegro, Spain, UAE and Mauritius.
SPA have won 34 International awards including the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture & Design’s International Architecture Awards 2012 & 2011, the World Architecture Festival Awards 2012, 2011 & 2010 , nine  MIPIM Architectural Review Future Project Awards & 5 World Architecture Community Awards, UK and two Hospitality Design, New York Awards. We also have innumerable national awards to our credit.
Some of the firm’s most notable projects include the Chrome Hotel in Kolkata, D Caves Hotel Hyderabad, D Hotel Lucknow, 72 Screens Jaipur, The Courtyard house Rajasthan and Bombay Arts society. Internationally the firm’s biggest and most noteworthy projects are the Chapel at Murcia Spain and Teresa 153 in Montenegro.

Namrata Kohli: Journalist, Writer, Foodie, Musician all rolled into one

Journalist, writer, foodie, musician, travel buff, all rolled into one, that is Namrata Kohli for you. Namrata is a well known writer and  journalist who has written extensively for domestic and international media. Especially known for her coverage of real estate issues, Namrata’s work has been published in leading publications such as The Times of India, Economic Times, Property Report Asia, and Gulf based magazines.
Namrata started her career by working with Bennett Coleman and has written on lifestyle, education, food, healthcare and travel. Recently, she edited “Indian Realty Year Book’-a one of a kind coffee table book on Luxury Real Estate with publisher Hundred Communications, in October 2013; which was featured on NDTV Profit.
Creative energies
When not spinning a yarn with words, she loves to infuse her creative energies into food, music or travel. A self confessed foodie, when not eating her mind is still on food – how by she loves to be ‘concocting meals.’ Playing harmonium and exploring new travel destinations are other passion of her life.
Namrata is a silver medalist in english literature from Delhi University and has done her mass communication from Indian Institute of Mass Communication. (IIMC) She was selected for a special Executive programme at Indian School of Business (ISB) Hyderabad, recently which was sponsored by Goldman Sachs.
Indian Realty Year Book

In a pioneering effort, publishing company Hundred Communications has come out of a first-of-its-kind coffee table book on luxury real estate.
Indian Realty Yearbook (IRY), the exclusive publication maps the universe of luxury real estate in India. Presenting a snapshot of the Indian luxury market, the book gives a guided tour of key projects in the luxury and branded home segment; cruising along the latest trends and introducing the-best-in-class luxury accessories, gadgets and gizmos. In short, IRY has everything to aid and abet the investor, in his business of cherry picking a home.
Delving into insights that go beyond just ‘facts’, the book deftly captures the ‘facets’ and the essence of luxury. It tries to define luxury in the Indian context, where the luxury residential market in India is headed and the distinguishing characteristics of the Indian luxury home buyer.
Editor Namrata Kohli who has put together IRY, says that it was ‘just the time’, to capture the luxury end of Indian real estate industry. “Luxury may be just five of the total residential real estate market but growing number of HNIs, makes this space the one to watch out for. In year 2012, India clocked the second highest growth rate of HNI population in the world, next only to Hong Kong, The country has been adding millionaires at one of the fastest rates in the world, and they drive the demand for a life, a living, a living space, which is at par with the best in the world. At the heart of this demand for luxury homes, is the fact, that Indians are becoming affluent, ambitious and aspirational.”
Coffee table book
Informative, insightful and perceptive this coffee table book is supplemented by impactful images that make it a visual treat. But the highlight of the book are perspectives shared from globally acclaimed names on several aspects of Indian luxury real estate – the world’s best, have converged onto one exclusive space ‘By Invitation Only’. Their views ‘quote unquote’ on design, architecture, construction, engineering aspects add value and appeal to the book.
Today, global leaders are betting big on India’s luxury real estate market- Swarovski is seen lending its shine to Indian real estate, Trump giving its trademark to Indian projects, Armani and Versace interior designing of Indian homes, Greg Norman creating premier signature golf courses, Philippe Starck making its foray- we can confidently say that India is where the best minds in luxury space are converging today. Nobody wants to miss a chance of being in India after China, which went from Mao suits to Armani and a ‘luxeplosion’ of sorts in the last decade.
Atul Pandey, Publisher Indian Realty Yearbook, says that with IRY we have captured, yet another important aspect of the universe of luxury- “As a boutique publishing house, we have so far mapped the segments of beauty, wedding, fashion and lifestyle, in the world of luxury. So far, the luxury residential home space was an unchartered terrain, but we saw potential in this segment. No wonder, there are so many such projects in various stages of construction throughout the country.”
IRY was launched recently by actor Chitrangada Singh, Soha Ali Khan and boxer Vijender Singh at an exclusive event of Indian Realty Awards 2013 held at Hotel Lalit, New Delhi. It was a televised event covered by NDTV Profit.
Hundred Communications (P) Ltd is the name behind some of India’s finest coffee table books across the fields of luxury, fashion, lifestyle, wedding, real estate among others. This boutique publishing house is known for its top end publications. Some of the annual publications include premium fashion guide- Fashion Resource Book and The Great Indian Wedding Book, a luxury coffee table book on signature weddings, launched by Sonam Kapoor last year.
In an informal chat, Namrata talks about her latest book IRY and other aspects of life to Jayashankar Menon. Excerpts from Interview:

JM: Tell me something about your latest launched coffee table book- IRY?
NK: Indian Realty Yearbook (IRY) is a coffee table book that encapsulates the luxury end of Indian real estate market. India is seeing the advent of branded homes in the organised space – as you know Grand Hyatt Branded Residences, Armani/Versace/Swarovski homes are being launched now, as also the Trump homes, Four Seasons Private residences- all this indicates an appetite for luxury in Indian real estate. These trophy homes or luxury homes celebrate the coming of age of Indian residential real estate. India has recorded the second highest population of HNIs in the world, and logically the first aspect that gets an up gradation is the living space.  There is demand and hence there is supply. Slowly but surely, the story of luxury homes has begun and we felt the urge to document it. Our book aims to be a ready reckoner for anyone looking to buy in this segment, as also create in this segment- in that sense it is targeted at the HNI, as well as the industry stakeholders such as the developers.

JM: You are a well known journalist and writing for leading english daily of India,  so what prompted you to undertake editing of IRY?
NK: I believe this was an exciting opportunity at the right time. I have been tracking real estate for last few years and have developed some insights and interest in this sector. Moreover luxury segment in the real estate sector had not been documented so far in a single place. As they say.. opportunity comes disguised as hard work – you just need to recognise it.

JM: India is the fastest growing economy, luxury segment  is on rise, but still malls  are craving for more sale conversion. Whats your take on this?

NK: True – sales conversion is not adequate. However, there are many high performing retailers, though there are many more under performers. India is a challenging market and one cannot use a cookie cutter approach to succeed here. I feel catering to the Indian buyer is not so easy. We have a certain culture, a set of values and brands that sustain in the long term are those that respect and understand the consumer. The Indian buyer may have a huge appetite for luxury but is value conscious. We may be lavish in taste but discreet in purchase. So, a good brand spends a lot of time understanding the consumer mindset – and evolves itself soon – just copy paste from a foreign market does not always work. As you can see, Mc Donalds sells lots of Aloo Tikki burgers and even KFC serves veggie burgers – these brands have tailored themselves to the market and hence are doing well.

JM: What were the key deciding factor before showcasing any luxury brand in IRY?
NK: To be able to qualify for the book, the brand had to be one with a proven track record, a good reputation and credibility. Two, a presence and interest in India was mandatory – however global in scope, it was important for the brand to have executed a project or be in the stage of execution. For example Foster + Partners is a well known architecture firm and now they are implementing the Ireo township at Gurgaon. Likewise for John Hitchcox’ yoo design studio – their designers such as Jade Jagger and Philip Starcke have designed homes in Pune and Mumbai. There were some brands not ready to talk, yet, about their work, and we respected that – they should feature in our second edition.

JM:What are your future plans? Apart from Indian Realty yearbook, when do you plan to write some book?
NK: A writer breathes through writing – I will embrace just about any project that offers creative excitement and makes for an interesting read. This could range from traditions rooted in the past to the present contemporary issues, the cultural and social milleu, travel and traditions, tourism and weddings – anything that pushes the boundaries of thought and expression. We live in such dynamic times that there is a lot to talk about.

Real Estate Regulation Bill to create a positive change towards organised approach to real estate in India

The Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill, can be seen as a positive change towards a more organized and transparent approach to real estate in India. But with elections coming up, the fate of the Bill and its current form faces an uncertain future, says Sunder P, CEO and Co Founder of In a free-wheeling interview, Sunder provides the Real Estate forecast in 2014. Excerpts:
JM: What were the key external factors impacting the residential real estate market in 2013?
SP: The year 2013 saw a lot of key external factors affecting the residential real estate market. RBI guidelines, revisions on FDI, the draft Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill and a volatile economy are among a few.

JM: Will the proposed Real Estate Regulation Bill create any positive impact on the Real Estate horizon in India?
SP: The Real Estate Regulation and Development Bill, can be seen as a positive change towards a more organised and transparent approach to real estate in India. But with elections coming up, the fate of the Bill and its current form faces an uncertain future.
JM: Has the RBI guidelines on funding created a negative impact on builder cash flows?
SP: The change in RBI guidelines on the 20:80 funding has had a serious impact on builder cash flows. Most builders have highly leveraged balance sheets and the slowdown in demand has led to a serious pile up of inventory in most cities.

JM: What are the other deterrents for overseas investors in shying away to foray into Indian market?
SP: Transparency issues and associated risks with the residential real estate market too act as a deterrent for foreign investors. The REIT market for commercial real estate is just beginning to see some action. In the current scenario, organised bulge bracket investors see commercial real estate more favourably than the residential market.

JM: According to you, which category will see the highest demand in the outlying and newer areas of the city?
SP: The budget homes category will witness the highest demand in the outlying and newer areas of the city, especially because there is a good deal of price flexibility that developers display. The locational preferences are based on factors of affordability, followed by urban and social infrastructure to support living. Yet, within each of these sectors, price is still seen as the largest pain point amongst buyers. The investment market will therefore see less traction than the end-user market.

JM: Do you think the foreign investments into the commercial sector are likely to increase any time soon?
SP: Yes, foreign investments into the commercial sector are likely to increase with the formation of REITs. Commercial office spaces with long term lease agreements are going to attract more such investments. Growth is expected to be muted until a new Government is formed at the Centre after elections. Cities with large pile up of inventory like Mumbai, NCR and Chennai are likely to witness a slow down. Some pockets within NCR like Greater Noida may do well. Bangalore, by far is expected to outperform all other markets in 2014. Pune is expected to do reasonably well. Hyderabad has witnessed lackluster performance in 2013 due to the political uncertainty over Telengana row, but may see some renewed buying as things become clearer and since the market has almost bottomed out.

JM: How about the luxury and super premium segments?
SP: In the luxury and super premium segments where buyers are not D-I-Y is where middlemen (the professional firms) can play a role in assessing the needs and finding a good fitment. It may also work with the speculative investor class.

JM: What according to you is the cardinal problem in the Indian Real Estate arena?
SP: The key problem in the Indian real estate segment is the lack of accurate information to make an informed choice. The middlemen while having relatively better information are also handicapped. The only information that they probably have better access to, is availability. The rest is a matter of reverse bidding and price discovery, which middlemen do more efficiently than end users.

Kajaria Ceramics launch new display centres in Amritsar, Guwahati, Nagpur, Patna and Aurangabad

Kajaria Ceramics Ltd, the tile manufacturing giant, today announced the launch of display centres in Amritsar, Guwahati, Nagpur, Patna and Aurangabad.


According to a company statement, the display centres innovatively showcase Kajaria’s extensive selection of tiles including ceramic tiles, polished vitrified tiles and glazed vitrified tiles, all set up in an attractive display of design and colours.
Speaking on the launch, Ashok Kajaria, Kajaria Ceramics Limited said: “We understand that tiles are experiential products and nothing can drive preference quite like visual appreciation.  We are in a business which is increasingly becoming a business of aesthetics. These centres will showcase mock-up bathrooms, walls and floors – helping the visitors visualise the same experience in their homes, by making it tangible. Our comprehensive mock ups bring to life our fantastic designs and allow you to experience what it would be like to have your dream space become a reality. Visitors are free to Mix and Match our available designs to create the perfect combination that satiates their choices”.
Visitors can avail many exciting benefits at these display centres including a touch and feel experience of the complete range of wall and floor tiles that the company has to offer. Systematic and attractive displays to help visitors visually enjoy the products to the fullest.
In addition to this, Kajaria’s expert team and center managers will consult and guide customers on the basics of tile installation, step by step guidance on the purchasing process so that there are no possible ambiguities. The team will also assist customers in selecting the right designs as per their preference and other material and technical aspect of tiles.
For over 25 years, the brand Kajaria has become synonymous with innovation and customer satisfaction. Today, the company has become a household name for tiling solutions and continues to delight consumers’ delight with perfection. Kajaria is the only company in the tile industry to receive the “Superbrand’ award seven times in a row. It has also been conferred with “Asia’s Most Promising Brand” award in the Premium Tile Category and is the most certified ceramic tile company in the world.
Kajaria Ceramics Limited is the largest Wall and Floor Tile manufacturing company in India with a capacity of 45.2 million square metres per annum and has a turnover of over Rs 1,700 crore. The company has seven manufacturing plants, one each in Sikandrabad (UP), Gailpur (Rajasthan), Vijayawada (AP) and four in Morbi (Gujarat). Kajaria has a pan-India presence with a strong distribution network of about 6,000 dealers and their sub-dealers along with 24 offices-cum-display centres.
Over the years the pace of technological advancement has increased in momentum. New techniques such as digital technology are diligently applied to create tiles that stand apart. Kajaria offers more than 1000 options of Ceramic Wall and Floor Tiles, Polished Vitrified Tiles, and Glazed Vitrified Tiles to the discerning customer.

Value and Budget Housing Corporation (VBHC) Hosts Christmas Carnival in Bangalore today

Value and Budget Housing Corporation (VBHC) is bringing in the festive season by organising a grand Christmas Carnival at their flagship project in Chandapura Anekal near electronic city, on December 22, 2013. Venue: VBHC Vaibhava, (near Electronic City), Property No. 51, Chandapura Anekal Main Road, Opposite Gobardhan Granite, Bangalore – 562106. The carinval that has started at 4.00 PM will last by 10.30 pm. Guests are having opportunity to avail of several special promotional offers at the event which include:


v  Special discount on spot booking

v  Group gift offers

v  No loan processing fees for Spot Bookings

v  5 Gram Gold coin for Spot Bookings

v  Rs 25,000 to referral customers on Spot Bookings

v  Wedding and Graduation Apartment presents for your children, nieces, nephews, etc.

v  Guided site tours from 4-7 pm for all interested customers, entry free.

Along with the special promotional offers, numerous fun activities have been planned for the all the carnival goers.  These include:
v  Merry go round

v  Face painting

v  Inflatable playground

v  Tug of war

v  Ring the Bottle

v  Tata Nano Tour

v  DJ Party

v  Santa Claus

v  Free Gifts

v  Games and Prizes

v  Dinner, Snacks and Refreshments

Indian Housing: The Game Changer Leading to Double-Digit Growth

The first day of the CREDAI Conclave kick-started yesterday with the first session, titled: Reebooting India Estate, where speakers such as Sushil Mantri, Managing Director of Mantri Developers; C Shekar Reddy, President of CREDAI and Managing Director of CSR Estates Ltd and Geetamber Anand, President Elect, CREDAI and CMD of ATS Infrastructure Ltd deliberated.

Panelists at the first session of the CREDAI conclave agreed that there was not much scope for reduction of prices of homes unless the Government took steps to relax Floor Space Index norms, reduce tax burden on the real estate industry, implement single window clearance for real estate projects and reduce interest rates.
Developers opined that profit of real estate developers had gone down substantially and there was no scope for further price reduction. Mantri said: “Housing industry is in deep shortage. It is wrong to say that prices should come down. How can prices come down when there is a shortage of housing”.
Floor space index
Reddy urged the Government to do away with the Floor Space Index (FSI) concept, take the approval process online and reduce tax burden on the industry. “The real estate industry has a tax burden of 30-40 percent. This has to come down to less than 15 percent. There are multiple taxes on the industry, which eventually gets passed on to buyers,” Reddy said and added that these measures will create huge supply of homes and in a competitive market the supply will bring down home prices”.
Single window clearance
Anand hoped the Government would soon implement single window clearance system. ‘Every time we ask the Government to implement single window clearance, they say we understand but it hasn’t happened’, he said. The second session was on the topic of ‘Challenges opportunities 2014′. Speakers were RK Arora, Chairman and Managing Director, Supertech Ltd; Vijay Mirchandani, national secretary, Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India; Jaxay Shah, MD, Savvy Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, Vice President, CREDAI; Kumar Gera, Chairman, Gera Developments Pvt Ltd
and Rajni kanth S Ajmera, Chairman, Ajmera Group. The panel discussion deliberated on ‘Will 2014 be better than 2013 was for real estate industry’.
The year 2013 was marked by a slowdown in the real estate industry. Will 2014 be better? Panelists at the third session of CREDAI conclave believe the industry is going through a temporary blip and will bounce back next year. RK Arora, Chairman and Managing Director, Supertech Ltd said, the slowdown in 2013 was led by sentiment and not so much by a slowdown in sales or a fall in demand for homes. Arora said since it was more of a sentiment led slowdown, home prices will not fall. ‘In fact, I think prices will go up, so it is a good time to put money in real estate,’ he said.
Arora said there was a lot of scope for growth in the affordable housing segment. “We have observed that 90 percent of the demand for housing is in the affordable housing segment. I think even in 2014, there will be good demand for this segment of housing,” he said.
Mirchandani said: “The aspiration for a home remains constant. The dream for a home will never be over. The weak sentiment towards housing is because of uncertainty in political environment. I think we will quickly recover.”  While Mirchandani agreed with Arora that the maximum demand for homes is in the affordable segment, he said the definition of affordable housing changes from city to city. “What is affordable housing in one city is luxury housing in another city but demand is always there for affordable homes,” he said. Mirchandani said with the increase in cost of land and construction material, the only way a developer can make homes affordable is by reducing the size of apartment. Shah gave a parallel to Dubai and US. ‘In Dubai and US, there were worse problems but they survived, so we are hopeful of 2014,’ he added.
Gera said: “We expect real estate industry to recover in 2014, because of a change in Government at the centre. “In 2014 there will be change because we have Lok Sabha elections. The UPA Government is not giving priority to housing. Their focus is only on slum housing,” he lamented. Gera reiterated that 2014 will bring a positive change in every industry, which will improve the sentiments in the real estate industry. Gera also called for allowing foreign investment for individual housing. ‘A change must come. Foreigners should be allowed to invest in real estate sector like it is allowed in countries such as Spain,’ he concurred.
Ajmera, Chairman rued that the Government treated the real estate sector like an ‘untouchable’ industry. He urged the Government to give priority sector lending to the industry. “Banks finance only about 40 percent of construction financing, which constitutes roughly 70 percent of the cost of our project. Banks should finance 100 percent of the cost of construction,” Ajmera added.
The third session was on the topic: ‘Shaping the future – A Challenge’. Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Ltd, and son of Rohtas Goel, Chairman and Managing Director, Omaxe Ltd; Viswajith Kumar, Director,  Navin Housing and Properties Pvt Ltd and son of Dr R Kumar, Managing Director, Navin Housing; Mohit Arora, Director, Supertech Ltd and son of RK Arora, Chairman and Managing Director of Supertech and Kruti  Kumar Jain, Director, Kumar Urban Development participated in the panel discussion.
The young turks of the real estate industry place winning customer trust and loyalty as one of their top priorities. Mohit Goel, CEO, Omaxe Ltd, and son of Rohtas Goel, Chairman and Managing Director, Omaxe Ltd, says that he has brought in aggression into the company.  “I am impatient in a good way and I believe in creating an emotional connect with our buyers. Anyone who does business with us should feel satisfied,” he said.
Kumar said one of the biggest challenge the current generation of developers faced was keeping in tune with changing customer preferences.  “Staying with the market is critical. Lifestyle changes are happening. We need to see how we can catch the pulse of young home buyer. It is part of the evolutionary process. If I don’t catch it, I won’t survive. We are trying to create a revolution in housing. Things are being done in same way. I want to change the status quo”.
Lack of transparency
Arora is worried that the real estate sector does not have enough transparency. “We need to be as responsible as a bank and we need to bring in more transparency for buyer. We need to build more trust in the industry,” he said.
Jain said: “Any city is identified with modern skyscrapers built there. Real estate is part of the identity of a nation. So I knew I had to be part of the industry”. ‘Every project has different challenges. This isn’t an opportunity any other industry will give us,’she added.
The fourth session was the keynote event. Dr Giriji Vyas, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, C Shekhar Reddy, President, CREDAI and Managing Director, CSR Estates Ltd and Senior BJP leader, Venkaiah Naidu took part in the discussion.
Dr Vyas assured real estate developers that the real estate regulatory bill will be suitably modified if necessary. Speaking at a real estate conclave organised by CREDAI in New Delhi, Dr Vyas said the industry should not have any fears about the real estate regulatory bill. ‘There is no reason for worrying about this. We will talk to you first on the real estate regulatory bill,’ she said.
Mutual interaction
The Minister, in response to criticism from the industry said there should be more dialogue between the Ministry and the real estate industry. “Real estate has the potential to create the right economic environment. We are keen to bring in reforms for the real estate sector. The sector has to grow,” she said.
Multiple taxation
In what could be a relief for the real estate sector, Dr Vyas agreed that the Government will do a rethink on multiple taxation of the real estate sector. “We will think about relaxing Floor Space Index (FSI) norms as well and on relaxing loan facility to the sector,” she said.
Reddy raised issues related to the real estate sector such as FSI norms, multiple taxation, strict lending to the real estate sector and issues related to the Real Estate Regulatory Bill. “The Bill, if it is implemented in its current form will push up prices by 30 perfcent, instead of reducing it. We need a comprehensive regulatory authority that covers all the stakeholders of the real estate industry,” the Minister concluded her statement with the assurance that all the issues discussed at the conclave will be taken up by the Government.
Industry status
Senior BJP leader, Venkaiah Naidu asked for real estate sector to be declared as an industry. Speaking at a real estate conclave organised by CREDAI in New Delhi today, Naidu said the Government has not focused enough on creation of homes. “The NDA Government had brought in housing sector reforms but a lot more needs to be done. As a first step, the sector needs to be declared as an industry,” Naidu said.
Naidu also called for simultaneous reforms in the banking sector, land reforms and rationalization of interest rates. “Real estate developers should be given quick clearances. Also, housing sector has been removed from priority sector lending.  Back then, I had protested against it,” he said.
Naidu said during NDA rule, the then Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had brought down interest rate from 16 percent to seven percent for real estate industry. ‘Interest rates need to be brought down again,’ he said. Naidu also opined that the problems of the real estate sector, is a reflection of the problems that India faces. ‘There is a lack of decision making in the country. This is the reason for the present crisis,’ he asserted. Naidu said the NDA Government had taken India’s GDP growth to 8.4 percent, which has now come down to around 4.5 percent.  “There is fiscal account deficit, current account deficit and trust deficit. While people from outside are looking to come into India, businessmen from India are going outside. The Government should have clarity in mind,” he said. Naidu also said that CREDAI’s demand for abolishment of urban land ceiling, stamp duty rationalisation, priority lending to the real estate sector, should be taken up by the Government.
Fifth session was on Urbanisation – Dream of Young India, where the speakers incldued Anurag Thakur, President, Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha and MP and Lalit Kumar Jain, Chairman, CREDAI.
Thakur said: “It is important for the real estate sector to grow, because it will create many job opportunities. Overall growth today has come down. This needs to change. India is experiencing urbanisation at a fast pace. When people come from villages to urban centres, they want to buy homes. The question here is are there enough homes and are they affordable. When the NDA Government comes to power, it will improve GDP growth to 8.5 percent, which will in turn motivate people to buy homes. Therefore, we are pushing for more transparency in the real estate sector”. Jain said the industry was the victim of a corrupt system and not its beneficiary. ‘Real estate industry is transparent. We can debate on this’, he added.
Sixth session was on the topic of Road to recovery, where the speakers included Pankaj Bajaj, member executive committee, CREDAI, MD, Eldeco Infratsructure; Vk Sharma, MD,  LIC India; Rajiv Sabharwal, Executive Director, ICICI Bank and Vishal Kumar, MD, Xander Advisors India Ltd. Bajaj said new home absorptions were not happening because of negative sentiment in the country. “I think like every other industry, there is some deference of purchasing decision. Everyone is in wait and watch mode,” he said.
Timeline adherence
Sharma said: “There is a clear signal of a slowdown in upper and upper middle segment of housing. In the Rs 40 lakh to Rs 1 crore bracket of homes, there is a strong demand. The basic issue that home buyers have is that developers are not maintaining timeline. If you are not able to stick to project timeline, then you will be redundant,” he held.
On the issue of delays in projects, Sabharwal said that typically projects with bank funding don’t get delayed. “Projects usually get delayed because approvals don’t come on time.  The other reason for delay in projects is when a developer does not have financial closure for a project and is dependent on debt to finance the project. Bankers also suffer when delays happen,” he said.
Kumar said the mood among private equity players was very bad. “There are very few traditional players left now. A few years back, there were 132 PE players and today we might have ten players, of which only three are doing PE deals while the rest aee doing debt deals,” he said. Kumar said PE players were however making good returns on the deals they were doing. “Earlier, if one out of ten deals gave decent returns, now half of the deals give decent returns. Deals will be fewer but larger,” he concluded.

Ashiana Housing conducts Bhoomi Pujan of Ashiana Navrang, the first residential housing project in Halol

Ashiana Housing Ltd, one of the leading Real Estate Developer in the country, organised the Bhoomi Pujan for Ashiana Navrang-one the most awaited residential project in and around Vadodra. To begin with, the firm has plans to set up over 500 residential units of spread across 10.65 acres in Halol, according to a company statement.
Ankur Gupta, Joint Managing Director, Ashiana Housing said: “We have a vision to elevate the real estate industry to the next level by providing the best customized end to end solutions to the customers be it in Residential Projects. My entire team is committed and working hard to make this project a success.  As per the costing concern we have kept in mind the budget of all classes”.
Middle income housing
Ashiana Housing is a key player when it comes to middle income housing. Ashiana’s expertise lies in creating new landmarks around upcoming industrial clusters like, the one in Bhiwadi and Neemrana on NH 8, which are rapidly developing as modern cities.  Halol is an another destination, close to NH 8, where, Ashiana Housing has decided to set up its foot prints and develop it as another residential hub for middle income housing.
Halol: a major hub
A number of real estate projects are coming up in the city as developers are keen on tapping the potential of this destination which is emerging as one of the best Industrial cum residential hubs. Godrej, Tata Housing, and Top real estate companies like JLL, Richard Ellis, and Cushman & Wakefield have also started focusing on Gujarat as they believe that even though it is a small real estate market, it has good growth prospects in medium to long term.
Sunit Gandhi, Vice President, Ashiana Housing said: “Since Vadodra, Ahmedabad, Surat are pretty much saturated, it is the new sectors where the next phase of growth will happen. And Halol will have the distinct advantage. The place has attracted a lot of industrial activity and provided scope for a boom in real estate. The rapid industrial growth coupled with good connectivity has made this place very attractive to people interested in real estate. With affordable prices, well within the reach of the middle class, Halol will give good returns in the long term. The expected movement of various companies too will boost the real estate market in Halol and Kalol and thus provide good appreciation. As people start moving into these companies the need to have house near their place of work will become imperative, which will also help in boosting the rental values”.
Ashiana Housing Limited (BSE / NSE Listed)-one of the finest real estate people in the country known for its timely deliveries & unmatched construction quality. Ashiana Housing a brand synonymous to middle income group housing has built over 10.29 million   sq. ft. of  residential and commercial space and put a smile on the faces of more than 8000 families who reside in various projects at Neemrana, Bhiwadi, Jaipur,  Jodhpur, Jamshedpur, Lavasa (Pune) and Patna. They are also pioneers in bringing the concept of Retirement Resort in India and spreading it to Bhiwadi, Jaipur and Lavasa. They are the first in retirement resort and one of the few to undertake the maintenance of residential properties developed by it. Setting up a new precedent in real estate sector ie before time delivery of the projects, post handover maintenance facilities have made Ashiana Housing a household name across India with the same ethics and exclusively Ashiana is all set to replicate the success story in Gujarat Market as well.