Neta’s neigh­bour­hood

The Delhi CM has sud­denly made Kaushambi fa­mous. How­ever, can any area be cat­e­gorised as pre­mium just be­cause of celebs?

HT Estates - - NEWS - Van­dana Ram­nani Talk to us Do you live close to a celebrity’s home? Share your ex­pe­ri­ence with us

If you’re among those who hap­pen to live in the tower where Arvind Ke­jri­wal lives, you’ve prob­a­bly ex­pe­ri­enced mixed emo­tions – a sense of pride that you share your ad­dress with Delhi’s new chief min­is­ter or dis­may and anger at the re­sul­tant hub­bub in the build­ing, not to men­tion the se­cu­rity checks you are sub­jected to even when you want to get into your apart­ment.

Hav­ing a home close to where a celebrity lives does have its plus points – an ad­dress your courier will lo­cate eas­ily, less power cuts and bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture. The im­por­tant ques­tion, how­ever is: does the celeb quo­tient push up prices of prop­er­ties in the area?

Ke­jri­wal cur­rently re­sides in flat num­ber 403 in Girnar Tower in Kaushambi, a 1,600 square feet three-bed­room apart­ment. The tower is owned by the in­come tax (IT) depart­ment and the apart­ment is al­lot­ted to Ke­jri­wal’s wife, Su­nita – who works for the depart­ment.

Kaushambi is now a star at­trac­tion, says Ajay Pal of Diyansh In­vest­ments Solutions, Kaushambi. Ever since Ke­jri­wal Peo­ple can now eas­ily iden­tify Kaushambi, says Gaurav Chawla of Kaushambi Prop­er­ties, adding that he had to take pains to give prospec­tive prop­erty buy­ers di­rec­tions to drive to this place. “It’s on their men­tal map now,” he says, adding “they know this is where the CM lives.” Prices in this Ghazi­abad lo­cal­ity now are high, with a 2BHK apart­ment cost­ing any­thing be­tween ` 80 lakh and a crore, de­pend­ing on the size and the lo­ca­tion.

Iron­i­cally, now home to an­ti­cor­rup­tion cru­sader Ke­jri­wal, Kaushambi had ear­lier been in the spot­light be­cause of corruption cases filed against for­mer union com­mu­ni­ca­tion min­is­ter Sukhram. The CBI had dur­ing a raid con­ducted in Au­gust, 1996, seized ` 2.45 crore in cash stashed un­der his bed at his of­fi­cial res­i­dence in Delhi and ` 1.16 crore from his house in Mandi in Hi­machal Pradesh. Re­cov­er­ies of cash and doc­u­ments re­lat­ing to prop­er­ties were also made from his res­i­dence in Kaushambi.

Even in other ar­eas of Delhi, bro­kers claim that their phones have not stopped ring­ing ever since can­di­dates from the area were sworn in as min­is­ters. In Paschim Puri, Mad­hipur, home to Girish Soni, min­is­ter of SC/ ST, labour and skill de­vel­op­ment in the Delhi gov­ern­ment, be­came CM, Pal has been in­un­dated with calls from peo­ple keen on buy­ing prop­er­ties in the area.

Lends promi­nence

bro­ker San­jay Rana of Rana Prop­er­ties con­firms that even though the realty mar­ket is slow at the mo­ment, queries re­gard­ing prop­er­ties in the area have in­creased by al­most 25%. He also re­veals that pocket 2, where the min­is­ter lives, has been an ex­tremely ‘lucky’ lane, for peo­ple con­test­ing elec­tions have al­ways won. A 45 sq yard (405 sq ft) Janata flat in the area to­day costs any­thing be­tween ` 75 lakh and ` 80 lakh.

In­fra­struc­ture gets a boost

Does a celeb-in-res­i­dence mean bet­ter in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in and around the prop­erty? Dhruv Khanna, a Gur­gaon­based bro­ker with LJ Hooker says yes, men­tion­ing apart­ments in DLF’s Aralias project on Golf Course Road, owned by a num­ber of high-pro­file peo­ple. “While the price of apart­ments in the tower where they own units may not be higher, the area has def­i­nitely got a boost in terms of in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment. Even in the Chat­tarpur area, where sev­eral high-pro­file peo­ple own land, there is a fair amount of move­ment in prop­erty prices. An ar­te­rial road con­nect­ing Gur­gaon and Delhi, too, has come up nearby. There­fore, in ar­eas where there is po­lit­i­cal own­er­ship, the lo­cal in­fra­struc­ture gets a boost and de­ci­sion­mak­ing (on is­sues re­lated to de­vel­op­ment) is a lot faster.”

Ro­hit Ku­mar, head, re­search DTZ In­dia, says there is no cor­re­la­tion be­tween price ap­pre­ci­a­tion and celebrity pres­ence in an area. It’s ac­tu­ally the other way round as high pro­file peo­ple pre­fer to live in pre­mium lo­cal­i­ties that go with their ‘im­age’. Politi­cians pre­fer liv­ing in ar­eas close to the cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict and near their place of work to avoid long com­mutes. Such ‘VIP’ ar­eas in­clude the Lu­tyens zone in Delhi that is close to the Par­lia­ment House, Vas­ant Na­gar in Ban­ga­lore and Cuffe Pa­rade and Church­gate – which are cl ose t o t he Mantralaya in Ma­ha­rash­tra. Hav­ing said that, it’s also true that there will def­i­nitely be more in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in ar­eas where th­ese lead­ers get elected or to which they be­long. In­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment in Ro­htak, the home­town of Bhupin­der Singh Hooda, the chief min­is­ter of Haryana, has been faster and greater than even Gur­gaon.

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