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Challenge for commercial real-estate is the remote working set-up: Anand Shukla, MD, Golden I, Ocean Infraheights

Amidst challenges, commercial real-estate continues to be a strong source of stable rental revenues.

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In conversation with Business World, Mr. Anand Shukla, Managing Director at Golden I, Ocean Infraheights Pvt. Ltd. talks about Ocean Infraheights’ newest project ‘Golden I’ and shares his thoughts on the real estate industry today—trends, challenges, and future of the industry post COVID. 

What new trends that you are seeing in the industry right now? 

Following COVID, the four trends I feel is catching on are:

1)     Digitization: This pandemic has pushed us all to adopt cutting-edge technology and completely digitize our processes to enhance productivity and strengthen customer experience. Video shopping, omnichannel delivery, high street retail, personalized experiential simulations, virtual walk-throughs, etc. are set to gain traction. Besides, digitization will play a pivot role in real-estate sales—online portals, advertising, etc. will accelerate the growth of the market. 

2)     Flexible working spaces: With close to a year of “Work from Home”, employers and employees are looking for flexible working spaces. Global companies are exploring options and are considering flexible working, thus we can expect to see a string demand for co-working spaces. In fact a report on co-working spaces titled, ‘Collaborative space in dynamic world order’ by Savills India, indicates that over 3,000 co-working centers across the country are likely to offer approximately 1 million desks by 2022. Also, the report also foresees a 42% increase in leasing activity by co-working spaces in 2021. 

3)     Integrated townships will be the norm: The concept of live, work, shop, entertain is the new normal in commercial real-estate. The post-pandemic world lays high emphasis on health, hygiene and wellness. People prefer retail spaces, where they can find everything in “one-place”. 

4)     Sustainable Building: Green architecture is the way forward. Customers are becoming increasingly ‘green conscious’ and are looking to invest in projects that are green, sustainable, and certified by bodies such as IGBC. From the site location to design, architecture, construction, building facades, landscaping, engineering, etc. sustainability is key. 

What are the biggest challenges that the sector is facing today?

Well, there are a whole lot of challenges that the real-estate sector faces—Environmental change, shifting political climates, volatile markets, rising mortgage rates, and keeping up with the evolving technology trends. All these challenges sometimes lead to the builder/developer sometimes not being able to keep with the set deadlines and thus losing the trust of the customer. This vicious cycle has created problems for the entire sector as when customers invest, they are apprehensive about the delivery. 

Another big challenge right now is the pandemic, resulting in labor issues, supply chain disruptions leading to construction delays and delay in delivery to customers. This did not deter us at Ocean Infraheights, from keeping to our set deadline. We have worked tirelessly since October 2019 and ensured that the construction progresses. We keep up to our promise and our customers will get their invested properties on time. 

Secondly, what I see to be a challenge for commercial real-estate is the remote working set-up that is currently the norm. However, I feel this cannot be a permanent thing as once the markets start to heal, flexible working space, co-working, etc. will be in demand and this in turn is already creating a demand for commercial real-estate spaces. Also, I feel there will be an increased demand for larger spaces and spaces that offer all-in-one options, where one can relax, shop, work and live without having to get out of the set area.

What do you see as the future of real-estate post COVID?

I feel, owing to profitable returns commercial real-estate space will continue to attract investor interest in 2021 as well. In my experience, we have coined a term called “Property Equilibrium”, which means that the property market will revive in a ‘V’ shape. At Golden, we firmly believe that a similar kind of growth which the sector saw in early 2000’s will be back again.

Secondly, with almost of year of “work from home” experience, both workforces and organizations are looking to find the right balance between office and remote working. I also feel that co-working spaces and flexible working spaces will gain momentum in the coming year. Also, as work goes back normal, offices will open up and open offices will be replaced by “cubicles”. According to a Colliers report, it is estimated that about 30-40% of staff are already back in offices in Delhi-NCR.

The report further states that commercial space absorption in India increased by almost 58% for the quarter ending September 2020. This indicates that customer confidence is on the rise and the markets will slowly start growing. 

Finally, commercial real-estate has always been a strong source of stable rental revenues and will continue to do so in the upcoming year as well.

Could you highlight the key characteristics that indicate the uniqueness of your project?

The fact that we are placed right in the center of a thriving retail and technology services base with easy and affordable connectivity with Delhi NCR in itself is unique. In the coming years, Greater Noida will emerge as top commercial & business hub in the Delhi NCR region—the advanced infrastructure coupled with hi-tech services at economical prices without having to compromise on quality is getting a lot of corporate/retail interest. 

Our project, the “Golden I” is a multi-disciple business hub that offers a holistic life space, where everything one wants is available under one roof. It is a distinctive project that offers a balanced mélange of all of life’s pleasures and necessities in one space—work, shop, entertain, live! We have an array of showrooms, lockable offices, food court spaces, hypermarkets, hospitality, corporate suites and residential apartments.

The project is IGBC Gold-certified and is built on keeping everything “green”. From electric car charges to solar paneling to Zero liquid waste discharge system and the design and architecture of the buildings, we have ensured that everything we use, or design is environment friendly. 

From a location perspective, the property is situated at the crossroad of an open 135 meters road and is strategically positioned close to other IT Giants, Multinationals, a proposed metro station and is surrounded by 1000+ acres of residential development.

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