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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.