Are we ready for sports cities?

Will cities pro­mot­ing a healthy life­style in Noida and Gur­gaon in­ject adrenaline into Delhi-NCR’s slug­gish realty mar­ket?

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Van­dana Ram­nani

Though the Com­mon­wealth Games 2010 had been in the news for all the wrong rea­sons, it left be­hind a legacy of over a dozen world-class sport­ing fa­cil­i­ties – some of which fell into dis­use af­ter the mega sport­ing event.

Neigh­bour­ing Noida cre­ated the world-fa­mous For­mula One rac­ing track through a pri­vate ini­tia­tive. Now, in their at­tempt to leave Delhi be­hind in the race for sports in­fra­struc­ture, city au­thor­i­ties have al­lowed de­velop- ment of four sports cities by pro­vid­ing spe­cial in­cen­tives. Noida’s Mas­ter Plan 2031 has a pro­vi­sion for recre­ational green spa­ces that al­low for max­i­mum per­mis­si­ble FAR of 2 against the con­ven­tional 3.5. Un­der the scheme, of the 100 to 150 acres of­fered for de­vel­op­ment, 70% area has to be utilised by pri­vate de­vel­op­ers to cre­ate sports fa­cil­i­ties while 2%will be re­served for com­mer­cial use, and 28% for group hous­ing and res­i­den­tial use.

As a con­cept, sports cities help cre­ate vi­brant com­mu­ni­ties with a fo­cus on build­ing healthy life­styles where res­i­dents sim­ply have to walk to play. What needs to be ques­tioned, how­ever, is the need for cre­at­ing a spe­cialised for­mat when the un­sold in­ven­tory in Delhi NCR alone stands at 1,85,000 to 1,90,000 units. Will there be any tak­ers for homes snug­gled amidst pic­turesque en­vi­rons, over­look­ing thou­sands of acres of un­du­lat­ing greens, a golf course, a cricket sta­dium and per­haps a few lakes thrown in for good mea­sure?

Real es­tate ex­perts agree that it does help to have de­vel­op­ers cre­at­ing dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion in a mar­ket which, of late, has not seen much ac­tiv­ity. The govern­ment also ben­e­fits from cre­at­ing sports in­fra­struc­ture through a pri­vate ini­tia­tive with­out hav­ing to spend on its own.

The suc­cess of this model, how­ever, largely de­pends on timely ex­e­cu­tion and de­liv­ery and also on whether th­ese sports fa­cil­i­ties are utilised fully to add pre­mium value to the ad­dress.

In what could also be seen as a mar­ket­ing tac­tic that ap­peals to young home­buy­ers with life­style as­pi­ra­tions, de­vel­op­ers in Haryana are in­clud­ing sports acad­e­mies and fa­cil­i­ties as part of rou­tine high-rise and villa de­vel­op­ments. In Noida, how­ever, some builders have been al­lo­cated 100 to 150 acres to cre­ate both sports in­fra­struc­ture and low-rise hous­ing where pre­mium will be de­rived from fa­cil­i­ties of­fered by branded sports acad­e­mies.

Cre­at­ing a spe­cial de­vel­op­ment cat­e­gory un­der the mas­ter plan­ning norms in Noida will help the state govern­ment cre­ate ad­di­tional pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture which it would have had to oth­er­wise set up and paid for on its own, says Anckur Sri­vast­tava of GenReal Ad­vi­sors.

Fa­cil­i­ties like sports in­fra­struc­ture and con­ven­tion cen­tres that are not eco­nom­i­cally vi­able in their in­de­pen­dent ca­pac­ity are nor­mally cross-sub­sidised by us­ing th­ese joint ven­ture strate­gies where the de­vel­oper in­vest­ment in cre­at­ing the noneco­nom­i­cally vi­able com­po­nent is re­couped via mon­eti­sa­tion of the real es­tate el­e­ment in the same pro­ject, Sri­vast­tava adds.

Recre­ational green is a sep­a­rate land use un­der the Mas­ter Plan 2031 which al­lows de­vel­op­ment of sports cities in Noida, which as of now has four such projects com­ing up. Un­der the scheme, 30% ground cov­er­age is per­mis­si­ble and FAR of 1.5 to 2 is al­lowed. “In this case the in­tent is to en­cour­age sports fa­cil­i­ties within a res­i­den­tial cam­pus to al­low for bet­ter util­i­sa­tion and ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the fa­cil­ity rather than have a stand­alone sports sta­dium that is far away from a hous­ing pro­ject,” says Rama Ra­man, chair­man of Noida and Greater Noida Au­thor­ity.

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