Sunday, July 26, 2009

Bengaluru Airport spurs realty

Bengaluru Airport spurs realty
Real-estate developers have announced dozens of projects, and the Garden City’s boundaries now extend beyond Hebbal into Yelahanka, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli.

— K. Murali Kumar

As the areas around the airport develop, it will decongest the city.
Anjana Chandramouly

Whenever a major piece of infrastructure has been put up, it has invariably set off real-estate activity in its vicinity. Bangalore saw this in the 1990s when the Electronics City and International Tech Park Bangalore in Whitefield were set up.

More recently, the Bengaluru International Airport has also triggered similar developments. The once-sleepy village of Devanahalli and the North Bangalore region, which had not garnered any attention from real-estate developers and property buyers alike, are now hubs of activity.

While real-estate developers have announced dozens of projects in localities such as Yelahanka and Devanahalli, property buyers too see sense in investing here. Bangalore’s boundaries have now extended beyond Hebbal into Yelahanka, Doddaballapur and Devanahalli.

And when the aerotropolis or airport city planned by the Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL), operators of the Bengaluru International Airport, gets executed, it would provide much impetus to the residential developments announced in the region. As a part of the overall master plan, BIAL has earmarked 215 acres within the 4,000-acre airport project site for the first phase of commercial real-estate development.

“BIAL’s vision is to develop this prime property called ‘airport city’ as a destination in itself and create a premier business, retail and entertainment hub. This area will be a well-balanced mix of office parks, retail and entertainment and hospitality,” says the airport’s Web site.

development master plan
The master plan talks of a 39-acre downtown area, which will be closest to the terminal building. This will be positioned as an urban entertainment hub centre replete with malls and retail outlets, entertainment facilities, offices and hospitality facilities.

An ‘Airport Visitor Centre’ is planned opposite the downtown area. Here, visitors will have the opportunity to observe the airport operations and combine this experience with travel, entertainment and business or simply as an independent visit.

The pivot of the plan will be a 46-acre SEZ or business park for aerospace industry, research units and even some units manufacturing high-end components as also MRO facilities (maintenance, repair and overhaul). This will have retail space, a three-star and a four-star hotel.

Besides these, there would a five-star airport hotel being developed by L&T and the Oberoi Group.

“The development of ‘Airport City’ around the international airport will facilitate commercial real-estate developments such as office parks, retail, entertainment and hospitality. In addition to this, land is also reserved for a rail link to the city. Such a planned development will attract businesses to move operations closer to the airport. The planned infrastructure and proximity to the airport will bring in a lot of economic activity to this region. As this happens, people will look to move to closer to where they work, which will spur demand in residential properties,” says Prakash Gurbaxani, Managing Director and CEO, QVC Realty.

This company has an upcoming 26-acre luxury residences project near Nandi Hills in North Bangalore, which is expected to be completed by end-2011.

residential projects
QVC Hills is one of the many projects coming up in the North Bangalore area. Others include Sobha Developers’ Sobha Lifestyle and Prestige Group’s Prestige Golfshire. “Residential projects such as QVC Hills will stand to gain by increased demand. For investors too, who are looking at a three-five-year horizon, this provides an opportunity to enter in now and gain from the appreciation when the airport city gets off the ground. Such appreciation in property values has been seen in areas like Whitefield and Electronics City over the last decade,” says Mr Gurbaxani.

“What is also driving demand from the high net worth professional segment is the practical comfort of having a transit home to suit a gruelling travel schedule. People or the companies who have invested in this area are very well aware of the future potential of this geographical spread,” says Mr Keshav Pandey, Director - Sales and Marketing, Sobha Developers.

Infrastructural impetus
Some of the upcoming developments in Devanahalli include: a 200-acre university campus being set up by Manipal Education; 309-acre commercial development around the airport proposed by Karnataka State Industrial Investment and Development Corporation; 35-acre convention centre project, which would also have two five-star hotels; the aerospace SEZ, which is part of the airport project; hi-speed airport rail; widening of national highway seven-eight lanes from the existing six lanes; major road widening and improvement activities undertaken by the Government of Karnataka in all major district roads from the city and neighbouring areas to the airport; the development of Peripheral Ring Road, Intermediate Ring Road and Satellite Towns Ring Road, which will significantly improve connectivity to different parts of the Bangalore Metropolitan region and the airport.

Besides, another significant project is Shapoorji Pallonji’s 1,450-acre IT hardware park at Devanahalli. The IT hardware park will see the development of 425 acres each in Phase I and II, and the rest in Phase III.

While the main hardware park will be spread over 1,109.25 acres, the rest of the facility will include an IT park, residential area (80.53 lakh sq.ft) with roads, a star-rated hotel (2.5 lakh sq.ft), an effluent treatment plant (2.25 lakh sq.ft) and a power plant.

The Karnataka Government is also planning to set up a nano park in Bangalore North, and has identified a 15-acre plot for the project. Announcements of other technology parks in the region have also been made.

Says Mr Gurbaxani, the airport city can act as a central node for the rest of the development in the region. It can provide infrastructure support for businesses to operate and people to live.

“When such pieces of infrastructure are in place, people and businesses will find it easy to relocate their operations. As North Bangalore around the airport emerges as a new satellite destination, it will decongest the city and facilitate smooth growth,” he adds

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