Luxury lairs close in on Rs 10cr landmark – Land crunch in bungalow zones sustains demand for premium condos in days of downturn

Calcutta’s creamy layer is snappingup luxury lairwith price tags inching towards the Rs/-10-crore mark in the middle of a downturn that has forced many retailers to shut shop and realty projects to slow down.

After designer duplexes priced at Rs 5 crore-plus, the premium property segment’s latest showpiece is a triplex with a price tag of Rs 8 crore-plus. Greenwoods, on DL Khan Road in Alipore, has just four apartments on 30 cottahs with the largest of them being a 12,000-sq ft unit straddling three floors.

“Greenwoods has been designed to be Calcutta’s most exclusive residential building with just three luxury duplex homes and the city’s first triplex unit, equipped with a basement gym and lounge,” said Nandu Belani, one of the players in the top-end property spectrum.

The add-ons include electronic access control in glass elevators, double-height car porches and billiards tables, among other premium pluses.

But what’s sustaining the demand for such luxurious — and expensive — apartments in these trying times?

According to architect Dulal Mukherjee, the space crunch in the bungalow zones of the city has triggered a rush for condos. “As in Japan, there is now no scope to create space in the heart of the city’s posh localities,” said Mukherjee, who has designed Palacio in Queens Park and Le Palmerie on Ballygunge Circular Road, both housing multi-crore apartment-villas.

So people who want bungalows but can’t find any are opting for “elaborately detailed” condos nestling in shady groves, rolling greens and landscaped open spaces. Boutique apartments, where home meets hotel, are also much sought after.

For those looking for designer homes priced below Rs 5 crore, properties like Bell-Air in Alipore, being developed by three of the stakeholders in South City — Jugal Khetawat, Sushil Mohta and Pradeep Sureka — fit the bill.

Designed by J.P. Agrawal, each apartment in Bell-Air has fetched up to Rs 3 crore.

“The response to our premium condo highrise, Cambridge, at Merlin Residency, was also very good,” said Mohta, the managing director of the Merlin Group.

Abhijit Das, the joint managing director of property consultants Lemongrass Advisors, admitted to being surprised when enquiries for apartments in the Rs 5 crore-plus range continued even as the rest of the realty market slumped.

“It’s not just about demand; transactions are happening, too. Those looking for premium property are exploring the condo option primarily because land is no longer available in areas like Queens Park, Sunny Park and Alipore,” he said.

Belani, whose United Credit Belani Properties built Hiland Park on the EM Bypass, said buyers in the premium property segment were primarily going for “apartment homes that generous in size, sit in the lap of nature, and are right in the heart of the city”.

Belani Properties’ Hiland Sapphire, a G+14 luxury highrise on Ballygunge Park Road, comprises apartments with a Rs 3 crore-plus price tag.

source : The Telegraph