New frills to boost luxe-home sales: Cabanas, lagoons and shopping arcades
When it comes to top-tier home buying, sea-side views and infinity pools are no longer the hallmark of luxury. For the nouveau-riche globetrotting Indian, luxury today means homes in larger-than-life themed settings. Imagine waking up in Venice, even if your home is in the heart of Bengaluru, or walking through a European-style high-street in your Mumbai housing complex, or living next to a man-made beach in Pune.
Residential projects inspired by first-world travel-destinations are perhaps the latest attempts to boost a lagging luxury-housing market. “Even in a slow-moving market, these homes attract a specific kind of buyer, whose propensity to purchase is not much influenced by market sentiments,” says Girish Shah, executive director, residential sales, Knight Frank India. “To maintain a competitive edge, and cater to this niche audience, developers offer frills that go beyond luxurious amenities.”
Ashish R Puravankara, managing director, Puravankara Limited, a real estate developer in Bengaluru knows this firsthand. “Customers these days are not merely looking at location. They prefer living in a place that provides them an experience and a lifestyle,” he says.
No garden variety
In Worli, Mumbai, Lodha Park, an upcoming residential project by the Lodha group includes a seven-acre private park. The design mimics neighbourhoods built around Central Park in New York and Hyde Park in London. Here, residents can picnic in a butterfly garden and choose their pick from an organic herb and vegetable garden and a fruit orchard on the property. Homes start at Rs 5 crore.
At Kalpataru’s upcoming integrated township on Kolshet Road in Thane West, residents will have green views and access to the developer’s 20.5-acre Grand Central Park built for the Thane Municipal Corporation. The architecture draws inspiration from Chicago’s Millennium Park, London’s Regent Park and Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. This includes features such as a skating ring, a lakeside promenade, family picnic lawns, an amphitheatre, themed gardens and entertainment centres.
In Thane, at the Hiranandani Estate, where over 5,000 families live, a new retail space called The Walk has been recently opened within the complex, though entry is not restricted to residents. The Walk is a pedestrian-friendly promenade with a string of over 35 shops, cafeterias and restaurants. Brands such as Theobroma, Tea Villa Café, The Wok, Starbucks and Westside stand in neatly partitioned rows on the promenade. “We wanted to create a place where the family gets to bond and neighbours get to come together,” says Niranjan Hiranandani, co-founder and managing director, Hiranandani Group.
R-Galleria is another such retail and entertainment hub built inside the Runwal Greens Township in Mulund. The arcade has over 150 shops, catering to a big catchment area of citizens in the vicinity, with brands such as, Café Coffee Day, Chaayos, Busago, Coffee by Di Bella, Smokin Joe’s, Jawed Habib, Enrich Salon and a Ford dealership clubbed under one roof. Other amenities exclusive to residents are 6.5 acres of open space, including a cricket ground, three swimming pools, a mini theatre and a sports area.
“If your home is close to restaurants, banks, hospitals and malls, you cut down on commute time,” says Rajat Rastogi, executive director, Runwal group. “Residents can then spend more time with their families have a better work life balance.”
Bangalore and Chennai’s townships are pulling out all the stops to include more and more onsite frills. At the Brigade Gateway Township in Rajajinagar in Bangalore, there’s a five-star Sheraton hotel, a huge mall and a man-made lake.
Given that many office complexes are being built alongside residential areas, professionals are encouraged to walk to work. “Inside Brigade Gateway is a 30-story office complex, a 168-bed hospital run, the Brigade School and an 11-screen multiplex,” says Rajendra Joshi, chief executive officer designate of residential, Brigade Group. “The office tower is connected to the hotel through a sky-bridge, which includes an art gallery.”
Holiday at home
Bangalore-based Puravankara builders have built residences inspired by Venetian landscapes, Spanish villas and Manhattan style condos.
At Purva Venezia, a waterway, arching bridges, and manicured gardens call to mind the Italian city that has more canals than roads. “The open space network of the project is broken up into parks of several scales and sizes,” says Puravankara.
In Pune, spread over 19 acres, is the upcoming project Purva Silversands. The beach-styled housing project located overlooks the Mula Mutha River. Plans include a man-made beach lagoon, a sunken bar, sandy beaches, a wave pool, koi ponds, palms and a golf range. “We want residents to live life like it’s a holiday,” says Puravankara. Meanwhile, Puranik’s upcoming Mumbai projects, Tokyo Bay and Rumah Bali are themed around those cities. The former features Japanese Zen gardens and tea houses, the latter has a clubhouse surrounded by water bodies and cabanas and a courtyard full of plumeria, a flower found in Indonesia.
Shailesh Puranik, managing director, Puranik Builders says that themed projects are a good way to stand out in a crowded market where everyone now offers swimming pools and gyms in the premium segment. “It can give them an edge in a sluggish luxury market.”
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