DON’T WANT to Be the Big­gest BUT the Best At WHAT We DO

Realty Plus - - Q & a -

In the year 2000 Amar­jit Bak­shi along with his younger brother, Kan­waljit Singh Bak­shi es­tab­lished Cen­tral Park- the real es­tate arm of the con­glom­er­ate with in­ter­ests in Hos­pi­tal­ity, Auto Com­po­nents, and In­fra­struc­ture. Sapna Sri­vas­tava in a can­did chat with Amar­jit Bak­shi, Founder and Manag­ing Di­rec­tor, Cen­tral Park dis­cussed the cur­rent state of the in­dus­try and his com­pany growth plans.

an alum­nus of In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy-delhi, Amar­jit Bak­shi started his ca­reer with build­ing con­struc­tion and then moved on to high­way and air­port con­struc­tion. “That was back in 1972, when we were do­ing many in­fra­struc­ture projects in­clud­ing high­ways and lay­ing air­port run­ways for about 42 air­ports in In­dia. In be­tween, there were some real es­tate projects as well. Then in 1980 I moved on to the in­dus­trial sec­tor and it was in late 90’s that we re­al­ized that real es­tate is go­ing to come up in a big way. That’s how in year 2000 we came up with Cen­tral Park 1 which was our first real es­tate project in Gu­ru­gram. After the suc­cess of Cen­tral Park 1, we launched Cen­tral Park 2 which be­came the largest group hous­ing colony with more than 2500 apart­ments. That prompted us to buy more land and grow the real-es­tate busi­ness, Bak­shi re­counts. have you al­ways wanted to be lux­ury or pre­mium hous­ing de­vel­oper?

We have a con­sid­er­able pres­ence in NCR re­gion with Cen­tral Park on Golf Course Road, Cen­tral Park Re­sorts and Flower Val­ley at Sohna Road and Cen­tral Park Flower Val­ley project that will see res­i­den­tial de­vel­op­ment of 250 acres. Cen­tral Park will de­velop a 40 lakh square feet mixed-use project in Sec­tor Sec­tor 67, Noida based on the ‘Walk to Work’ con­cept of­fer­ing of­fice and res­i­den­tial space, re­tail com­plex, hos­pi­tal­ity out­lets and schools within the project.

Cus­tomers’ needs keep chang­ing from time to time. We strive to pro­vide in our projects not only good con­struc­tion but also liv­abil­ity. That is why, even after hand­ing over the pos­ses­sion of a project, we con­tinue to main­tain and ser­vice it over a pe­riod of few years. De­vel­op­ers are now tak­ing very con­scious de­ci­sions of their op­er­at­ing and busi­ness mod­els. While, many are opt­ing for mid-seg­ment or mass hous­ing or even niche seg­ments like se­nior liv­ing, Cen­tral Park would like to be in the lux­ury and ul­tra-lux­ury seg­ment as our busi­ness model is to pro­vide a ser­vice rather than just a real es­tate.

What is the cen­tral Park mar­ket­ing strat­egy?

For any project, mar­ket re­search is very im­por­tant. Study­ing the site ge­og­ra­phy, con­sumer pro­file and mar­ket needs a suitable prod­uct should be de­signed. Also as per RERA, the de­vel­op­ers can­not al­ter their project de­signs once launched. There is no clear-cut for­mula for the mar­ket­ing strat­egy or de­cid­ing the ticket sizethere­fore we spend a lot of time on mar­ket anal­y­sis be­fore in­tro­duc­ing a project. At Cen­tral Park 3 which we call as flower val­ley, we aim to de­velop 500 acres as a smart town­ship. The project will have many seg­ments in­clud­ing se­nior liv­ing, com­mer­cial, schools, ex­tra or­di­nary clubs, and all types of sports ac­tiv­i­ties. Con­struc­tion for this project is go­ing strong and we might even de­liver be­fore time. How do you see the in­dus­try chang­ing?

The suc­cess of a de­vel­oper lies in the de­liv­er­abil­ity. To­day, it is def­i­nitely a buy­ers-mar­ket. The mar­ket­ing strate­gies have ac­cord­ingly be­come very pro-ac­tive. The de­vel­oper’s ‘take it or leave it’ at­ti­tude has van­ished. Now

What are the growth plans for cen­tral Park?

Our growth plans are very lav­ish in the sense that we are look­ing at flower val­ley to be­come a 500-acre project. About 4.5 mil­lion more square feet is go­ing to be added to Cen­tral Park 2. We are also com­ing up with a com­mer­cial project in Flower Val­ley as well as be­hind our Le Merid­ian Ho­tel in Gu­ru­gram. Then we are look­ing start­ing con­struc­tion of three very large ho­tels in Goa were we al­ready have the prop­erty and are get­ting the per­mis­sions.

Also, we don’t want to be trapped into debt. We are prac­ti­cally debt-free. That way you can clas­sify us un­der peo­ple who are not am­bi­tious. cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence has be­come a very strong fac­tor and real es­tate com­pa­nies are em­ploy­ing trained cus­tomer ser­vice per­sons. With RERA, now there is some sort of dis­ci­pline and ac­count­abil­ity in the sec­tor. Con­sol­i­da­tion and JVS will hap­pen but also a lot of new play­ers will join. The fly by night op­er­a­tors will be work­ing even now. You should al­ways keep some room for them.

NCR has much more va­cant in­ven­tory than other states where the chal­lenge is not so acute. It will take about 3-4 years to clear and gov­ern­ment too is be­ing help­ful so that mar­ket picks up for sales. In re­sponse prices are com­ing down, but, it’s not a wait and watch sit­u­a­tion for con­sumers as mov­ing for­ward prices are go­ing to go higher due to in­creas­ing com­pli­ances costs, cost of ma­te­ri­als and con­struc­tion. The struc­ture of the coun­try is im­prov­ing, de­liv­er­abil­ity is im­prov­ing and most im­por­tantly sales terms are im­prov­ing. Gen­uine sub­ven­tion schemes are avail­able and con­sumers are tak­ing ben­e­fit of those.

We are a debt-free com­pany. Our im­me­di­ate mo­ti­va­tion is not profit. It sounds very fool­ish but the fact is that our long-term views are very clear. For that short term ben­e­fits are to be sac­ri­ficed which we are do­ing very grace­fully.

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