Vado­dara: Gu­jarat’s new vi­brant city pre­pares to take off

With a pop­u­la­tion of over one mil­lion and seen as an emerg­ing in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy hub, Vado­dara in Gu­jarat is con­sid­ered as be­ing on the precipice of mod­ern de­vel­op­ment in In­dia. And, thus, seen as a good in­vest­ment op­tion for real es­tate, says Pankaj

Project Monitor - - FRONT PAGE - Model of the new in­te­grated air­port ter­mi­nal build­ing in Vado­dara which is likely to be ready by year-end.

Un­til the mid-1960s Vado­dara was known more as an ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural cen­tre with some ba­sic in­dus­tries such as tex­tiles and chem­i­cals. But the turn of the century saw eco­nom­ics con­cern­ing real es­tate and in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment rapidly change. To­day, the Vado­dara Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Author­ity is sign­ing a se­ries of MoUs worth sev­eral crores with var­i­ous con­struc­tion con­glom­er­ates for real es­tate projects in Vado­dara. Plans char­tered out in­clude the es­tab­lish­ment of res­i­den­tial seg­ments, IT parks, and of­fice spa­ces around the city. In terms of hous­ing, too, the city has seen rapid growth de­spite slug­gish real es­tate trends in other In­dian met­ros. In­ter­est­ingly, those that had moved out of the city in search of bet­ter busi­ness op­por­tu­nity are now known to be re­set­tling in Gu­jarat’s new vi­brant city.

Re­cently, a pro­posal for a spe­cial eco­nomic zone on as many as 550 acres of land had also been pre­sented. All of this in­di­cates that the city is ex­pected to grow in terms of real es­tate in­vest­ment. While this may not have been the scene in Vado­dara a few years back, no one could imag­ine such a bright fu­ture for the real es­tate mar­ket in this city, pri­mar­ily viewed only as a cul­tural hub of Gu­jarat, but one that is now on the precipice of growth in in­dus­try as well.

One of the key con­sid­er­a­tions when view­ing real es­tate from an in­vest­ment stand­point is one's re­turn on in­vest­ment. This de­pends on a va­ri­ety of cri­te­ria

with the most im­por­tant be­ing lo­ca­tion. Commercial real es­tate in­vest­ment also looks at other fac­tors such as eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity of the re­gion. Vado­dara as an emerg­ing mar­ket scores on all fronts.

Rapid in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion

To­day, the city has var­i­ous largescale in­dus­tries such as Gu­jarat State Fer­til­iz­ers and Chem­i­cals, In­dian Petro­chem­i­cals Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd (IPCL, now owned by Re­liance In­dus­tries Ltd) and Gu­jarat Al­ka­lies and Chem­i­cals Ltd near Gu­jarat Re­fin­ery. Pub­lic sec­tor units in the re­gion in­clude Oil and Nat­u­ral Gas Cor­po­ra­tion Ltd, Gas Author­ity of In­dia Ltd, Heavy Wa­ter Project and Gu­jarat In­dus­tries Power Com­pany Ltd.

Not to be left be­hind on the de­vel­op­ment con­tin­uum in the city, pri­vate com­pa­nies with man­u­fac­tur­ing units in Vado­dara in­clude Gen­eral Mo­tors, Siemens, Al­stom, ABB, Philips, Pana­sonic, Sun Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, L&T, Sch­nei­der and Al­stom Grid, Bom­bardier and Gu­jarat Au­to­mo­tive Gears Ltd.

Vado­dara is to­day viewed as an im­por­tant hub of in­dus­try with favourable fac­tors to its credit such as ease in procur­ing raw ma­te­rial and avail­abil­ity of skilled hu­man re­sources. An­other his­toric cat­alytic growth fac­tor for its de­vel­op­ment is the dis­cov­ery of oil and gas in An­klesh­war. The Vado­dara re­gion has ben­e­fited from the re­sult­ing in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion.

Strate­gic lo­ca­tion

Vado­dara is strate­gi­cally lo­cated on the Mum­bai-Delhi In­dus­trial Cor­ri­dor. This alone makes it a fer­tile ground for in­dus­tries, be it large-scale in­dus­trial plants or SMEs. Gu­jarat in it­self has shown im­mense prom­ise on the de­vel­op­ment plat­form with its year-round power sup­ply, Spe­cial In­vest­ment Re­gions, closely knit all-weather roads and proac­tive govern­ment sup­port. Vado­dara re­mains a key player in this de­vel­op­ment plan.

Both, the Delhi-Mum­bai In­dus­trial Cor­ri­dor and Mum­bai Ahmed­abad Bul­let Train projects are ex­pected to pro­pel even fur­ther growth. While Su­rat is known for its di­a­mond and tex­tile trade, Ahmed­abad has emerged as a ser­vice ori­ented city with many cor­po­rate of­fices housed within it. Vado­dara on ac­count of its al­ready ex­is­tent tex­tile and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal businesses is now also seen as a ma­jor IT hub and a knowl­edge park.

DMIC, which en­vis­ages con­nect­ing three prime cities, namely Ahmed­abad, Vado­dara and Su­rat, is ex­pected to spi­ral them into growth clus­ters at­tract­ing jobs and with it, pop­u­la­tion from all across the coun­try. Among its ob­jec­tives, DMIC plans to make avail­able land and in­fras­truc­tural sup­port in the form of wa­ter, power grids, and ef­fi­cient road and rail con­nec­tiv­ity along the cor­ri­dor for new busi­ness and en­ter­prise, all of which will lead to a real es­tate boom in Vado­dara.

Trans­port con­nec­tiv­ity

To­day, Vado­dara's econ­omy is fu­elled by petro­chem­i­cals, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and biotech­nol­ogy in­dus­tries. In fact, in­dus­try ex­perts have pre­dicted that biotech­nol­ogy and petro­chem­i­cals will be the in­dus­tries to in­vest in Vado­dara, in the fu­ture. In terms of travel and ease of con­nec­tiv­ity to other nodes of de­vel­op­ment, within Gu­jarat, the NE-1 or Ahmed­abad-Vado­dara Ex­press­way in the north of Vado­dara has re­duced the travel time from Ahmed­abad to only one hour.

Fur­ther­more, an­other ex­press­way has been pro­posed from Vado­dara to Mum­bai. Both of these will change the land­scape of con­nec­tiv­ity be­tween the two cities. Ajmer Road on the east of Vado­dara con­nects to Su­rat, which is the third node of the Gu­jarat de­vel­op­ment clus­ter, with the sec­ond be­ing Ahmed­abad.

Ed­u­ca­tional hub

For years, Vado­dara has re­mained homes to the Sayyaji Univer­sity started by the princely Gaik­wad fam­ily. Vado­dara has al­ways re­mained an ed­u­ca­tion des­ti­na­tion for stu­dents from within Gu­jarat and Ma­ha­rash­tra. There are over 120 pub­lic schools and more than 100 pri­vate schools. MS Univer­sity (Sayyaji Univer­sity) alone has 13 fac­ul­ties of study and 17 res­i­den­tial hos­tels. The Con­fed­er­a­tion of In­dian In­dus­tries has also be­stowed on Vado­dara the ‘Knowl­edge City’ sta­tus. The city also houses three spe­cial eco­nomic zones and 13 in­dus­trial parks. It is not with­out rea­son that the state govern­ment is cap­i­tal­is­ing on Vado­dara as a knowl­edge cen­tre and en­deav­ours to make it a growth cen­tre that breeds young talent.

Cul­tural like­abil­ity

Most im­por­tantly, Vado­dara is known as one of In­dia's safest and most po­lit­i­cally sta­ble cities with a main­tain­able cost of liv­ing that is fully ca­pa­ble of at­tract­ing talent from Tier 1 cities like Mum­bai and Delhi, where in­di­vid­u­als seek a peace­ful, con­ve­nient qual­ity of life, with­out los­ing out on other ur­ban fea­tures and at­trac­tions like art gal­leries, movie the­atres and shop­ping malls that make life in­ter­est­ing and worth liv­ing. In all of Gu­jarat, if there is one

city known for its cos­mopoli­tan out­look and cul­tural live­li­ness, it is Vado­dara. Its pop­u­la­tion is known to be a mix of Marathi, Gu­jarati and Hindi-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties. This makes it an­other at­trac­tive real es­tate op­tion for house­holds look­ing to re­lo­cate seek­ing bet­ter busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties. In ad­di­tion to all of these fac­tors, a new in­dus­trial pro­posal in Vado­dara is that of air­craft main­te­nance. This, too, is ex­pected to bring a sig­nif­i­cant boost to em­ploy­ment and with it, a flurry of real es­tate ac­tiv­ity. Add to this, Vado­dara is also known for its rel­a­tively low crime rate, po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and non-com­mu­nal na­ture. All of these are also seen as be­ing plum rea­sons for in­vestors in real es­tate and in­dus­try to want to set up shops in the city. Con­di­tions seem ripe enough for this smaller ur­ban town to burst on In­dia's growth and in­dus­trial land­scape as a ma­jor metro in the next decade.

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