Slowdown in Whitefield, Electronics City

Growth in Whitefield and Electronics City is witnessing a slowdown because of a rise in alternate IT/ITeS corridors in Outer Ring Road and Bangalore North, according to the second edition of the IT/ITeS Growth Corridor Series Report released by Vestian Global.

The report indicates that Whitefield and Electronics City micro markets will witness lower growth rate compared to their early 2000 levels.

Though contemporary, both these micro-markets are well differentiated in development ownership, type of occupiers, development characteristics, and social and business infrastructure. Promotion of both the areas was a key initiative undertaken by the Govt. of Karnataka in transforming Bangalore into an IT hub.

Over the last decade, Whitefield has developed a self-sustaining suburban area with the development of residential projects, modern format retail malls, hotels and other social infrastructure. Development of the International Technology Park Bangalore (ITPB) also placed Whitefield on the global map. Further, growth in Whitefield was enhanced due to its connectivity with the central city through two major roads - Old Madras Road and Old Airport Road.

In comparison, Electronic City continues to be an economic hub. Surrounded by green zone (protected land) and industrial area, this micro market has limited land availability for development of sustainable support infrastructure.

The area has seen good progress on the business infrastructure front, but lacks in social infrastructure. The former has 65 per cent of the space occupied by Indian origin companies and 39 per cent of the companies operating in non-IT/ITeS sector, whereas the latter is dominated by MNCs operating in IT & ITeS sectors. Further, public transportation facility in Whitefield is better than in Electronics City in terms of frequency and connectivity. On the urban infrastructure front, both micro-markets can learn from their global counterparts.

Whitefield has almost three times of the non-captive IT operational space compared to Electronics City. However under captive office space category, Electronics City leads with 14 million sqft to that 7.9 million sqft of Whitefield. Since 2007, Whitefield has consistently witnessed high vacancy levels. As of Q3 2010, vacancy levels for non-captive office space are 10 million sqft in Whitefield and 3.3 million sqft in Electronics City. The high vacancy level is registered primarily in Grade B+ buildings, which are five million sqft in Whitefield and two million sqft in Electronics City.

Currently, Whitefield has three operational IT/ITeS non- captive SEZs whereas, Electronics City has only captive SEZs. In Whitefield, another 2.2 million sqft is under construction and 17.1 million sqft is planned in SEZ category. However the planned space quantum could drop, subject to re-consideration of developers over the notified SEZ parks; reason being the shift in the occupier’s preference to ORR and Bangalore North. In comparison, Electronic City region has only one planned IT/ITeS SEZ.

Overall, growth rates in these micro-markets are slowing down on account of rise of alternative micro-markets (ORR and Bangalore North). Nevertheless, cost benefits, existing tenancy profile and proximity to talent pool are still strong enough to support the annual absorption at current levels at least in the short term.


No slim pickings

How do you honour your wife’s memory if you are the world’s richest man? Well, Mexico’s Telecom Tycoon Carlos Slim has built a museum which is named “The Soumaya Museum,” after his wife.  While it may not quite put the Taj Mahal to shame, if you are an art connoisseur you will be lining up at the entrance of this museum when it opens its doors to the public on March 29The.  The museum will house the Masters of all times. The six-storey Anvil Shaped Soumaya Museum is a spectacular Architectural creation.  It was designed by Carlos Slim’s son-in-law, Fernando Romero, who is an architect by profession.  The building cuts a magnificent arc through the Capital, Mexico City’s, Polanco District, which is a decidedly upscale neighbourhood.

The Building Exterior consists of about 16,000 shining Aluminium panels.  This helps in reflecting sunlight onto broad stairs leading to the entrance; a stupendous effect indeed.  If one is stunned by the unusual exterior, the interior of the Soumaya museum is a spacious 17,000 square metres (183.000 square feet) in area.

This museum will not only house Slim’s extensive and priceless art collection on a rotating basis it will also have a 350 seat Auditorium, a Library and a Cafeteria.  The structure rises to a height of about 14 metres (150 feet) before canopying like an oversize mushroom!

So in terms of Dollars and Cents what did such a unique piece of Architecture cost?  It is estimated that the cost of the building alone will be about $ 34 million and as for the Displays therein they are truly priceless.

This is Carlos Slim’s gift to his countrymen many of whom are not able to travel to other countries to see the Masters of the Art World.  And, how much is the cost of admission?  The admission is free!

This museum establishes Carlos Slim as a cultural philanthropist.

Mala Ashok

Mumbai firm wins contest to design Tax Headquarters

 Mumbai-based Vistaar Architects & Planners have been awarded the first prize in an open competition, held by the Indian Department of Revenue, to design the new National Tax Headquarters in New Delhi.

The competition was organised in association with the Council of Architecture under strict conditions of secrecy.  Even the nine jury members were unaware of the names of the architects involved until the competition process was completed in all respects.  Out of the 133 pre-qualified architects, 58 had participated in the competition.  The entries were judged by an eminent jury which included  five architects.

The first prize of Rs 10 lakh has been awarded to architect Siddharth Shirur of Vistaar Architects & Planners, of Mumbai, whose design was applauded for its ‘unique’ concept: the entire building will rest on nine vertical cores and is essentially hung top-down from a  set of large trusses which span the cores.  This allows for the ground level to be almost entirely free and mingle with the existing and the developed landscape seamlessly.

“The openness and transparency characterised by both external and inward-looking facades are consistent with the financial governance priorities of the Union Government’s revenue administration,” said an official press release.

“The basement spaces have been articulated in a manner that would save many of the large trees otherwise falling within the buildable envelope.” While the basement would be constructed using conventional reinforced cement concrete, the superstructure would be predominantly in steel, allowing for off-site production and fabrication.

The second prize of Rs five lakh has been awarded to architect S R Sikka of Sikka Associates, New Delhi, while the entry submitted by Architect Manit Rastogi of Morphogenesis, New Delhi,  won the third prize of Rs three lakh.  Three consolation prizes, of Rs 1 lakh each, were also awarded.

Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee had laid the foundation stone for the project in 2009 on a 5.65-acre plot allotted for the purpose on Kasturba Gandhi Marg in central New Delhi. He had then said the project would be a landmark and reflect the strides made by the country since the economic liberalisation.

Achal Narayanan

Flooring with that ‘parquet’ look

Square Foot launched its latest range of wooden flooring – three strips, this latest range of flooring is slated to bring forth the “parquet look” for the warm summer months ahead. With its natural variations and effervescent appearance, Square Foot’s latest range of flooring is all set to win hearts across the country. 

The hardwood used in the range has been engineered in such a way that it represents all the traditional aesthetics of solid hardwood with an innovation of design that makes it even more versatile. The introduction of basket weave also gives one a choice of state-of-the-art floors crafted for their interiors. The three strips range is available in 7 gorgeous shades – Red Oak Walnut stain, Merbau, Oak, Beech, Maple, Cherry and Sapele; each of 14mm thickness, 190 mm width, and 1820mm length.

Such beautiful variations in colour and texture allows people to choose according to their taste – especially since it is engineered hardwood flooring, which allows one to install their chosen colour, cut, finish, and surface texture in areas where otherwise solid hardwood is not recommended.

Given the fact that wood is a living material as it expands or contracts a little, it is therefore imperative that the installation be done by professionals. Squarefoot also offers the never before ten year warranty to all its clients which is proof of its durability and it long-lasting high quality. This product range is perfect for any home and what better way to spruce up one’s home this summer than redo the floors? 

Gaurav Saraf, Director, Square Foot said, “It brings us immense pleasure to introduce Squarefoot’s latest range - 3 strips - which recreates the “parquet look” this summer. This entire range comes in 7 delectable shades that have been engineered to also last in areas where solid hardwood is otherwise not recommended. It has come to our knowledge that most people think that wooden floors are not suited to humid or hot climates.

We are happy to let them know that this is absolutely untrue. However, wood tends to expand and contract a little and this is where the 3 strips, range of products comes in.  It has been engineered to last in changing temperatures and as well as varying moisture levels. We give a ten year warranty to all our customers because we want to build a relationship of trust with all our customers. Their satisfaction is of utmost importance to us.”

Making a re-entry

InterfaceFLOR, a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of carpet tiles, has achieved a technical breakthrough in the European carpet industry, with the introduction of ReEntry 2.0.

This latest innovation is the evolution of a process pioneered by Interface in the United States four years ago.  It enables significant and scalable like-for-like recycling of carpet tiles, representing an important step closer to closed-loop manufacturing in Europe.  ReEntry 2.0 uses a highly efficient technology that separates yarn and backing from used carpet tiles, so that they can be recycled into yarn and backing for new carpet tiles. The process ensures that each component of the carpet tile retains its material value, allowing it to be re-used as new raw material for new products. This is especially important for recycling nylon yarn – the most carbon intensive part of carpet. ReEntry 2.0 can process the most widely used carpet tiles in the European market today and is set to divert around 2,700 tonnes of oil-intensive material annually from disposal, equivalent to more than 600,000 m2 of carpet tiles. Life cycle assessment (LCA) shows that materials recycled through ReEntry 2.0 require four times less energy to process than equivalent virgin materials for carpets.

This decreases to twenty times less energy for backing, when you take into account the use of 100% renewable electricity at InterfaceFLOR’s facility in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands, where the process is based. 

ReEntry 2.0 is the latest in a line of waste recycling initiatives from InterfaceFLOR, which reflect the company’s commitment to closing the loop in the manufacturing process.  The company has offered a product take-back scheme since 1995, which helps customers to reduce their own impact on the environment. Since it began, the scheme has diverted more than 91,000 tonnes of carpet from disposal.