West Bangalore awaits white collared jobs

West Bangalore awaits white collared jobs

realty

West Bangalore awaits white collared jobs

Vertical residential development will happen only if the IT industry comes to the region, feel realtors. But old-timers are not so keen for the landscape to change, finds Prashanth G N

Barring Peenya region, the landscape of West Bangalore is flat, bald and horizontal. The areas behind Rajajinagar, Basaveshwaranagar and Vijayanagar in West Bangalore don’t have the scores of apartment blocks and gated communities we see in South, East and North Bangalore.

Even in the Peenya region, barring the industrial area which came up in the 1970s, it is more a residential hub for the lower middle class. Only a pocket of Yeshwantpur, close to the Iskcon temple, has an apartment cluster for the middle and upper middle class. It also has one of the largest malls in Bangalore.

A private builder from the Vijayanagar area explains why West Bangalore is lagging in largescale residential development. “The development of industry has largely been in the Kengeri, Bidadi and Kumbalgod pockets and not in the interiors of west. That too Bidadi and Kumbalgod are on the outskirts of Bangalore.

There is only one major industry for professionals and executives - Toyota, off Mysore Road. Apart from Peenya industrial area, can you name one special industrial park in the region? The Global Village is more Southwest and even considering that, it’s the lone park in the entire landscape. Without adequate presence of industry and white collar jobs, largescale vertical residential development may not happen in the region.”

Even in the eighties, West Bangalore towards Vijayanagar was a land of shrubbery and mini forests with most people dismissing it as an area too far off from the city centre.

First steps

The very first layout and residential development happened in the mid-eighties when sites were distributed as part of co-operative societies, particularly LIC. That move brought the first residential development in the area. A long-time resident of the area, Prasad G K, recalls the early times.

“There was nothing in this area. Vijayanagar was earlier called Hosahalli. It was literally seen as a halli or village to which people were not ready to migrate. That’s when co-operative societies were formed and the first sites given out. Then people began to take interest. Even when the first houses were built, there were plenty of vacant sites.

Now the landscape has completely changed with the arrival of the metro, piercing right through the heart of Vijayanagar all the way till Kengeri towards the west and Bayyappanahalli towards the east. This connectivity to city centre will in due course spur major apartment projects.”

The private builder says the areas behind Vijayanagar – Chandra layout, Ullal, Visweswaraiah Layout and the area off the Ring Road behind Bangalore University are all flat and have many vacant sites to this day from the 1980s.
It is surprising people consider this area an outback, when there is good connectivity between the area behind Bangalore University and Mysore Main Road via the university main road or via Kengeri itself. The area is very peaceful and laidback with the presence of an ashram too.

To many, the area feels like old Bangalore. Old-timers don’t want the landscape changing. Magadi area, off Magadi Road behind Basaveshwarnagar and Karnataka Housing Board Colony and Kamakshipalya, again close to Basaveshwaranagar, has also been bald and flat for decades.

Only now a sprinkling of budget apartments is coming up.

Connectivity

The connectivity from Magadi to Majestic is largely via Rajajinagar sixth block and through a single road all the way till the Prasanna theatre, too much traffic does not make the ride smooth and easy. For lack of easy access, people have not preferred to stay at Magadi. It is close to nowhere except the vegetable fields of Magadi and the TG Halli lake, which is one of the sources of drinking water to Bangalore.

It has not even been developed as tourist attraction - as part of which it could draw people to a temple there and the lake. But the area is so dusty and road conditions being very poor and having no direct connectivity to major office areas, large scale residential development in this area too is faraway.

 Nagaraj Reddy of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers of India (Credai) puts in perspective the fate of West Bangalore. “Until the information technology industry comes to west Bangalore, people won’t be interested to settle down there, which means builders won’t be interested in investing there,” he says.

Reddy says, “Presently, West Bangalore is not a good catchment area for builders — the place has a traditional rich class of people who believe in single housing, but not an affluent mobile class which sees life in an apartment as the best thing in Bangalore and which would want consumption — from food joints and eateries to multiplexes — high on its table. Classy consumption isn’t there in West Bangalore.”

The only connectivity that West Bangalore has with the south, Electronic City in particular, is the Nice road, which runs all the way from Mysore Road to Electronic City, a good 20-odd km. There are people eyeing this stretch for residential development. There is a cluster of modern ap­artments on Nice road as you head tow­ards Electronic City; rest of traffic is from Mysore Road. Bhagya M, a software engin­eer who stays behind Bangalore University, commutes to Electronic City via the Nice road. “While it is far, it is one single road, so it’s ok. My husband works near Peenya, so we chose to stay in an area accessible to both. I also work from home, which means commute is less for me. But to travel to Electronic City via Mysore road and then Hosur road is unthinkable owing to the time it takes.

On Nice road, its one straight drive. Only the toll fee could be lowered a bit for frequent users.”
There is no alternate connectivity betw­een West and East Bangalore as of now though once the West-East Metro line is ready by 2015, things will change dramatically. East Bangalore, which has Whitefield, is already developed to a great extent with the IT industry concentration as high if not higher than that of Electronic City. Once the metro line is ready, people would be confident that travel from Mysore Road and the global village from Nice Road to Whitefield will be in relative comfort and most importantly direct. How much metro will shape development of West Bangalore is to be seen.

A small comfort West Bangalore can bank on is the presence of the Global Village tech park, just off Nice road, covering over 100 acres. It has a big name coming in Accenture and already houses Mi­nd­tree, Texas Instruments, Sonata Software and a few others. Once the park is fully oc­cupied, it may spur development of other tech parks closer to Kengeri, which has a rail connection to Bangalore City. The ri­se of more techparks will clearly spur vertical residential development. But the question is how long will it take for the IT industry to expand its footprint to West Bangalore? It appears quite long.

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