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The MindSpace Mission

mumbai Updated: Sep 27, 2009 01:28 IST
Mauli Buch
Mauli Buch
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Way back in 1999, when Bangalore had been established as the country’s Information technology (IT) hub, and Mumbai had lost the opportunity to capitalise on the IT revolution, distinguished city architect Prem Nath had a vision for one of his new projects in the far-flung suburb of Malad. The project, one by the K Raheja group of builders, was to be called MindSpace.

“We always thought of making MindSpace Mumbai’s IT hub because the city, unlike Bangalore and Hyderabad, did not have any address that catered to IT clients at the time,” recalls Nath.

A first-of-its-kind project in the western suburbs, MindSpace, as conceived by Nath and his company, Prem Nath & Associates, would be built to international standards and would strike a balance between design efficiency and aesthetics. For instance, double insulated glasses have been used in most of the buildings of MindSpace to arrive at the maximum light-minimum heat combination.

But Nath went beyond corporate needs; anticipating the need for other facilities, he designed residential buildings, gardens and club houses as well in MindSpace. “We had to take care of these facilities too, to facilitate better working conditions,” he explains.

Nath remembers that 200 employees of Convergys, the American relationship management company, were the first to move into MindSpace. The rate then, as he recalls, was a mere Rs 30 per sq ft per month.

The company has since moved out of MindSpace, but it kicked off the success of MindSpace. In the 10 years since it started, the 125-acre complex has become one of the most sought-after suburban addresses for corporate houses, call centres and BPOs. Among the companies it hosts are Shopper’s Stop, Morgan Stanley, Morgan Stanley, Otis, Apar Technologies and 3G.

Mindspace also set into motion a residential boom, which was followed by one of Mumbai’s biggest malls —Inorbit — and one of its best hypermarkets — Hypercity — setting up shop in Malad.

Says Govind Shrikhande, CEO of Shopper’s Stop, who has been working at MindSpace for over eight years, “MindSpace offers a combination of great working spaces, greenery and shopping.” He adds, “The area has changed dramatically. Once known for its dumping ground, today it hosts the offices of top Fortune 500 companies.”

Esha Anand, Head, Marketing & Visual Merchandising for Hypercity chips in, “I’ve been working here for the past seven years and can say that MindSpace has redefined the idea of a workplace in the suburbs. It is the suburban answer to a Bandra Kurla Complex or Nariman Point.”

The eating places that have sprung up around the complex help, too. Meena Nalasivan, who works at the Intelnet Towers says, “I’ve been here for two years now. Driven by the IT and ITeS sectors, this place has a great nightlife.”

Recalls Manju Ramegawda, manager of the Sunday Treat restaurant, “We had started off with a sandwich stall here and grew along with the area. When MindSpace was coming up, there were a handful of cafes and restaurants in this belt. Today there should be at least 15.”

Agrees real estate broker Harish Khanna of Balaji Estate, “I was born here; I’ve seen Malad transform from a dull, lifeless suburb to a swanky new mini-city with the best office and residential spaces, a great shopping experience and lots of good restaurants.”

He reckons that MindSpace’s commercial buildings and towers fetch a rent of Rs 140 to 160 per sq ft per month, while the residential rentals for a 800-900 sq ft apartment in one of its four residential towers range between Rs 28,000 and 30,000 a month.

The rising rates reflect Malad’s popularity graph. Remarks Esha Anand, “It is today a confluence of the finest malls, hypermarkets and businesses.”

A weekly column that looks at how a pioneering or iconic structure has changed the face of a locality