When luxury comes home

BRANDED RESIDENCES

Uber-luxury:ac CityView project.

In October last year, the Indian realty scene witnessed the world’s biggest private residence. Antilla, the 570-foot-tall glass tower, has 27-storey palatial home in Mumbai, has three helipads and an air-traffic control station on its roof, swimming pool, a health club, a salon, a mini-theatre, a garage that can park 160 cars, nine elevators apart from a garden! And yes we are talking about Mukesh Ambani’s $1-billion (Rs 4,400 crore) home here. While others may only aspire to reach somewhere remotely close, private residences have make a small presence in the realty space.

While REPL has been offering the Apna Ghar service, an online solution for private residence to tier two and tier three cities, CityView is a mix of the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences, Bangalore, premium corporate offices and a boutique shopping environment. Situated just north of the Bangalore Palace Grounds across a 6.5-acre site, CityView features a composition of three spectacular buildings, including two 30-storey towers, namely the North and South Towers, set amidst extensive landscaped gardens. The Four Seasons Hotel will have 230 guest rooms which will include 31 Executive Suites and a Presidential Suite.

Both towers will feature custom-designed penthouse residences to be released at a later time. The biggest advantage of branded residences is the service component.

CityView residents will enjoy the luxuries of a global brand renowned for its hospitality and service, namely Four Seasons. Residents can benefit from their own specific menu of services including 24-hour concierge, valet parking and complex-wide Wi-Fi coverage. In addition, they will have direct-dial access to the service and amenities of Four Seasons Hotel, Bangalore.

These include privileges such as in-room dining, limousine service, apartment cleaning services, supermarket shopping and delivery, which are provided for a fee or on an a-la-carte basis.

Demand drivers

Private residences are a niche product offered to the discerning and maybe well-travelled consumer. It is one of the well adapted practices across all touch points in more mature markets in the west.

“The demand in India is currently restricted to Tier 1 cities like Mumbai and NCR, but should be lapped up in Bangalore and Pune as the offerings across price points increase in this segment,” says Cherag Ramakrishnan, CEO, Equinox Realty.  If a building is built by a developer/promoter and the apartments sold to individuals, it has big scope in the present scenario, especially in the case of metro cities. “In the modern days there is no time/energy/man power available in general, so people like to purchase readymade apartments. It has great demand in India at present. REPL provides its client online solutions to build their dream home. The demand in India for online architectural consultancy is increasing day by day because people are getting the design of their dream house at their desktop with number of options at competitive price than a local architect can provide, also this saves time,” says Pradeep Misra, Founder & Director, REPL.

Looking ahead

Though the concept of private residences is fairly new to India, it is finding takers, especially as it offers a service rich lifestyle to the growing elite population which is increasingly seeking ‘branded’ residences. This trend, which has been prevalent in the UK and US for some time now, has only recently made inroads into the Indian market with a few hospitality brands now offering select projects in Mumbai, Delhi and now Bangalore.

“The main attraction towards such living spaces is that they offer a unique living experience to its occupants who can avail of all services on offer by such hospitality establishments – valet parking, access to the concierge services, use of spa/gymnasium facilities, room service etc. In India, given the approach to housing which has always been focused on the top end of the spectrum, there is definitely some traction to be expected within this housing segment, with more developers and hospitality chains looking to establish a foot hold in the market.

“However, given the recurrent slump in the luxury housing market across most metros, it is unlikely that this segment of uber-luxury housing will find as many buyers as envisaged, at least in the present market conditions,” says Sachin Sandhir, MD & Country Head, RICS India. As it is a niche segment, it should not have too large a volume opportunity, but it can only grow as the consumer’s buying power continues to grow. 

“The challenge is more for the developers ability to actually gear himself up to provide this kind of retail service to the consumer. Hence supply or final delivery for the first few set of private residences will need to be watched closely to understand the longer term viability or continued trend of this segment. Currently, it seems more the flavour of the season rather than a burgeoning need of the consumer,” explains Ramakrishnan.

This segment is heading mainly in the tier two and tier three city. This segment is seen in case of employed persons having small families.

Branded residences have become coveted in major world cities. They remain a niche product and having only been successfully developed by the select few hotel operators able to the deliver the quality and service that the discerning buyers in these markets expect.

“We believe that given India’s rapid rise in the global economy, branded residences will be successfully embraced across India’s leading metros, but are likely to remain a niche product. Bangalore is rapidly becoming a global hub for science and technology, the preferred destination for international business and is one of world’s fastest growing metros.

Identified by its energy and vibrant spirit, the city offers the right environment for both personal quality of life and business.

Branded residences can be classified as any residence with a brand but when it comes to a unique offering such as the Four Seasons Private Residences, the brand is the embodiment of the exceptional quality, amenities and service levels that have made Four Seasons the undisputed global leader in luxury hospitality,” says Vinay Kapoor, President & CEO, Westcourt. So if you have the money and want to flaunt it, private residences are going to be your first choice for a home.

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