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New commercial hubs in metros are boosting residential realty too

There are business districts coming up on the outskirts of Pune, Bengaluru, NCR, even Kolkata.

Updated: Nov 03, 2018 18:56:32

By Dipanjan Sinha

Bandra-Kurla Complex in Mumbai has grown into a residential and leisure-cum-entertainment hub too. (HT File Photo)

In January, Maharashtra chief minister, Devendra Fadnavis pointed out how the government intends to transform Wadala into a new business district using 64 hectares of land for residential and commercial projects. In August, the West Bengal government announced the creation of a Silicon Valley hub at New Town on the outskirts of Kolkata, where companies like Reliance Jio and Infosys will set up projects. Golf Course Extension in NCR, Khadadi in Pune and Outer Ring Road in Bengaluru are other new commercial hubs set to change the way people in these cities live, work and commute in the years to come, say realty consultants.

“Every city in the country has the potential to have between five to seven business districts. Over a period of time, business districts shift because of factors such as saturation and expansion. But any city with a healthy economy should have one central commercial hub and multiple secondary hubs,” says Ramesh Nair, CEO of real estate advisory JLL.

When a business district does well, Nair adds, demand for residential real estate in the entire zone goes up too, kickstarting a process of change in the area. “About 2.5 million sq ft of office space have been leased in Thane over the past decade, and residential sales have risen correspondingly. BKC has spurred residential project growth in areas like Bandra East, which were much slower earlier,” he says.

Lodha Group’s Palava (above) in Kalyan­-Dombivli has a mix of commercial and residential properties.

‘Every big city in the country has the potential to have between five and seven business districts. Any city with a healthy economy should have one central commercial hub and multiple secondary hubs,’ says Ramesh Nair, CEO of real estate advisory JLL India

New commercial hubs foster better infrastructure too, which further boosts residential markets, adds Amit Wadhwani, managing director of SAI Estate Consultants.



With people and offices come allied industries like food and beverage, entertainment and retail. “Look how BKC has turned into an F&B zone, with plans for a mall too,” says Nair.

But none of this can happen overnight. For a business district to work takes about 20 years, says Viral Desai, national director with occupier solutions at realty consultancy Knight Frank India.

“In Kolkata, for example, Rajarhat has been talked about for some time now but is yet to gain traction. It could be the same for the Silicon Valley project. Similarly, in Mumbai, Wadala has been pushed as a hub for a while now but it is yet to take off in a big way,” Desai says.

Among the projects, Desai sees north Bengaluru taking shape faster than most others with companies like The Phoenix Mills and Brigade already acquiring land and starting work. “It will still need about three years to become an established hub,” he says.

Big players moving in with big money is what sets the ball rolling for such zones. Once the hub picks up, though, the change can be transformative.

“We believe there will be higher growth in residential demand in the eastern parts of MMR due to improved connectivity, greater affordability and development of alternative commercial centres,” says Shaishav Dharia, regional CEO with the Lodha Group.

The company is betting big on its two integrated projects — New Cuffe Parade at Wadala and Palava in Kalyan-Dombivli, which will have residential, commercial and retail spaces available. “Both projects are strategically located and benefit from the upcoming and planned infrastructure developments aimed at enhancing connectivity within MMR,” Dharia says.

First Published: Nov 03, 2018 18:56:32

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