Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Why Bengaluru Could Be The Indian City Of The Future

According to Knight Frank’s 11th edition of The Wealth Report 2017, Bengaluru is among the top seven hotspots around the world that present exciting opportunities for private property investors in 2017 and beyond.

In another survey - Jones Lang LaSalle's fourth annual City Momentum Index of cities around the world – Bengaluru is placed right at the top of the World’s Most Dynamic Cities, beating out the likes of Shanghai, London, Dubai, New York and even Silicon Valley in the US. This index tracks the speed of change of a city's economy and commercial real estate market. It covers 134 major established and emerging business hubs and identifies cities that have the potential to maintain the greatest dynamism over the short and long term.

According to Jones Lang LaSalle, "Most dynamic cities share the ability to embrace technological change, absorb rapid population growth and strengthen global connectivity.”

The Passport Cities Database projects that Bengaluru will be one of the three Indian cities to record the fastest rate of real GDP growth over 2016-2030, making the future of the former ‘Garden City’ look very rosy indeed.

With an eye on the future, House OfHiranandani has already been steadily developing a diversified portfolio of properties in Bengaluru. In case you haven’t seen them yet, have a look at these impressive video vignettes of the well planned developments in Devanahalli, Hebbal and Bannerghatta.  Also, this video explains why we continue to push for growth in South India.

Bengaluru’s success can be attributed to three major factors:

One, known as the ‘Silicon Valley Of India’, it has attracted some of the brightest and most ambitious scientific and technological minds from around the world.

Two, government involvement seems to have worked to Bengaluru’s advantage. Here, the government has, over time, promoted investments in the city and developed a positive relationship with business and industry. There are a number of government initiatives that are bound to further enhance Bengaluru’s reputation as a city with an eye on infrastructure development: the proposed Mumbai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor, the under-development NICE expressway that will connect the city to Karnataka and Mysore, and the expansion of the Namma Metro system.

Thirdly, Bengaluru, with its high standard of living and ease of doing business, has been steadily attracting some of India’s wealthiest individuals. According to ET Realty, “the city has 220 Ultra High Net Worth individuals, a number which has grown by 15% in the last one year.”

Many decades ago, India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had predicted that the then-sleepy Garden City would be India’s ‘City Of The Future’. Now, with Bengaluru being declared ‘The Most Livable City in India’ in 2012 and with its most recent accolades, it would seem like our esteemed late Prime Minister’s prediction might be truer than we could have imagined. 

Follow Passion, Find Success

Looking back at my journey, though I had initially started my training in the medical field, destiny led me towards architecture which in turn is what I am today.

In those days (1980s), land was easily available on deferred payment wherein you could put up your signage, start selling and use that money to get approvals and then start constructing. Our first bad experience with one of the initial land proposals that came our way, is where we got to learn of the risks involved in starting anew. Nevertheless we took that risk and started our first project in Versova at a rate of Rs.241 per sq ft.

Since we were always short of capital, we believed in purchasing something that could be available on the above terms and then launch it.  Later we bought this land in Powai where there were multiple land owners which added to the risks though but we still went for it, Powai being a big challenge.  Slowly we assembled this into a large land parcel and started selling it at Rs 450 per sq ft in 1986. In the initial years, we suffered losses in Powai, but the continuous thought in mind that we would definitely profit in the next phase made us accomplish a lot of land in the interim. Post this we started aggregating land in Thane.

I have always done only architecture and construction. Legal, accounting and liaising have been necessary evils. We are better known for our engineering function rather than finance circles as we have never raised money. People who have worked for us always get promoted faster when they go elsewhere. We had huge training programs set up by Anthony Remedios, a Goan [architect] who was passionate about design and architecture.  

For me, at the end of the day, I want my business to be about creativity of design rather than creativity of financing.

Following my passion, I can feel the rewards.