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BW Businessworld

From Urban Fantasy To Sheer Bliss

Real estate players are tying up with global brands, designers and architects to offer more in the segment

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Collaborations, ever changing market needs, an increasingly diverse profile of clients and upgrading of trends globally, are pushing innovation in the luxury real estate space, which is just getting bigger and better. Use of big brands and international names in real estate are not for the celebrity quotient, but to ensure the ultimate luxury — peace of mind.

Samujjwal Ghosh, executive vice president, marketing, Lodha Group says, “Luxury is no longer about just space, grand lobby or attractive façade. The real estate industry has gone way beyond traditional methods to deliver true luxurious lifestyle in every aspect possible.” The Lodha group has collaborated with globally renowned designers, like Armani and Jade Jagger, to integrate global aspects in Indian designs and levitate standards.

Their projects boast of global architects, like Hadi Teherani, Christopher Benninger and Pei Cobb Freed &Partner’s, who have designed landmark projects like Altamount, Belmondo and The World Towers in Mumbai. When it comes to achieving higher standards, they have hired the Six Senses Group, global hospitality pioneers and Quintessentially, the concierge service of celebrities worldwide, as their hospitality partners.

Landscaping has gone beyond regular gardens to entire natural ecosystems. Constant efforts are being made to provide maximum green open space to residents — an example being, The Park Residencies by Lodha that incorporate a butterfly garden, an organic farm, a reflexology garden and a lotus pond. Luxury as a concept, has been evolving in India and has been shaped by a wide range of influences. Today, it connotes different things to different sets of consumers.

“There are three kinds of buyers these days in India, mainly well-established consumers exposed to luxury properties across the world and seeking similar benefits and living standards in India; then there are those who have built themselves up and have a sense of entitlement to all things luxury and thirdly, an international audience who have experienced top notch luxury living and aspire for a similar lifestyle in India,” says Ghosh. Keeping the diverse profile of target clients in mind, builders are busy designing their strategy.

Kaizad Hateria, brand custodian, Rustomjee, says, “Luxury is very psychological where people keep aspiring for the dynamic best and that is a challenge that keeps builders forever exploring new creative ways to satisfy their buyers. It is a package deal, the potential buyer wants a sense of ownership, pride, authentication of his status and wants to keep wowing his guests.”

In their latest offering, Elements, located in upper Juhu, Rustomjee boasts of the largest balcony offering of 200 sq feet, keeping in mind international buyers, used to hosting barbeque get-togethers.Residents want to host dos that match their advancing lifestyle. Other special features at this latest ritzy address in Juhu, designed by renowned Hong Kong-based architect James Law, include a ballroom, a 40,000 sq ft landscaped podium garden, an infinity pool and a preview theatre. A sign of the surge is how realty owners, who were only offering affordable luxury, are now venturing into high-end luxury.

Pawan Jasuja, director, Finlace Consulting says, “Companies like Mahagun, Tatas or ATS, who were till now offering affordable luxury, are now foraying into the luxury segment building houses between Rs 2 crore and Rs 10 crore.” Value proposition is getting narrower with so many players offering avant-garde facilities. “There is a shift in how these luxe homes are being positioned to appeal to the investor. Dealings have become more professional. There is a digital interface and a 3D view of the apartments developed for viewing through different channels, as well as the quality of sample flat has really improved over time. With large multi-crore portfolios, the UHNI’s have majority of their networth blocked in real estate holdings and are well-initiated, so they like to do due diligence before finalising an option,” says Tejas Patil, head of real estate services at Sanctum Wealth Management. A credible brand along with location, are guiding factors.

Rajeev Talwar, CEO of realty major, DLF says, “What city dwellers need most is peace of mind. So, quality of life within the complex becomes paramount in their reckoning while deciding what luxury each one can afford. HNI’s make forward-looking bets on what they perceive will be the best areas/ addresses in the future. It is both an investment and collection of family-silver for the coming generation, so we have to present it well.” Going beyond green, DLF 5 pioneers water conservation, a raging concern across the country. The massive sewage treatment plant at DLF 5 is proof of its unyielding efforts at water conservation and recycling.

“Robust security system, sound and sustainable infrastructure are absolute defining factors apart from design element, as services have to be top notch when it comes to offering real luxury,” says Aakash Ohri, executive director, DLF Homes Developers Limited.

The design work at The Crest project in Gurgaon is handled by Richmond International, headquartered in London. With advanced security features and private shuttle elevators for every home, service at The Crest is getting more personalised. Designed by Hafeez Contractor, The Crest has won the Fast 50 award — making it a Fast 50 project — and has received the Prashansa Patra award of the National Safety Council of India Safety Awards 2015.

The Leela Residences, developed by the Bhartiya Group in Bengaluru is an indicator of coming of age. Priced at Rs 1 crore for a studio apartment and over Rs 5 crore for a four- bedroom apartment, these homes offer handcrafted furniture from Italy and streetlights that multi-task as surveillance cameras and wi-fi ports, to name just a few.

“What has become increasingly obvious is that the well-heeled are willing to pay more than ever before for upscale homes,” says Snehdeep Aggarwal, chairman, Bhartiya group. A lot of high-end luxury buildings by the Bhartiya group, DLF, Rahejas, Ambience group and the like that are under construction, are harbingers of the future.

Luxury living has evolved even in its elements. In a way simpler but classier. Emmanuel Balayer, VP marketing of Bhartiya Developers says, “In terms of architecture, there is an increased focus on the kitchen, as family time has taken centre stage. Kitchens are becoming bigger and even rivaling the look of restaurants, with latest appliances, special flooring and the return of the pantry room. Kitchen gardens are equally important. An old mark of luxury, walk-in closets, are now transforming into showrooms.” A lot of people are looking for an uncomplicated life, and prefer simplicity and elegance even if they have to shell out more for it.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Shveta Bhagat

The author is a Delhi-based freelance writer

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