Monday, July 23, 2018

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Commercially viable

Retail outlets, SCOs, office space, high street — Mohali’s Airport Road is brimming with choices for those looking to invest in commercial property21 Jul 2018 | 12:36 AM

The investor is gravitating towards the commercial segment due to a prolonged stagnation in the residential property market.

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Geetu Vaid

The investor is gravitating towards the commercial segment due to a prolonged stagnation in the residential property market. End users surely are calling the shots in the residential segment at present. The price correction in some pockets has triggered the trend of bargain hunting with end users looking for extra cuts in prices, especially in the secondary market. As a result most investors are holding on to their assets. There is a lull in the market as in case of housing distress sale is restricted to only those needing money for marriage of children or to migrate abroad or any other such financial emergency, otherwise most of the sellers prefer to wait  till the time they are able to exit by making a reasonable profit. 

Thus, the spotlight has automatically shifted to the commercial projects and gauging its bright future prospects, a number of developers  are foraying into this now. The trend is pretty obvious across the country with investments pouring in and projects being launched. Key Private Equity transactions worth Rs 1700 crore were completed in the retail sector in Q2 2018. According to Cushman & Wakefield research findings the trend of main streets ruled the retail leasing landscape in top eight Indian cities. Closer home, too, one can witness an increase in the number of commercial projects coming up along the Airport Road in Mohali in the recent past. In fact, it is the commercial property that is keeping realty scene upbeat here at the moment. 

Why Airport Road?

The fact that this long stretch that covers several key sectors provides easy and faster access to Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana as well as to other parts of Punjab, has played a major role in the commercial boom here. The number of vehicles on this road has seen a whopping 55 per cent increase in the past couple of years. This spurt in the number of road users means increased demand for multiple utility outlets, eateries etc. Besides this the government’s ambitious plans for the area that include 1,080 acres under Aerocity project, 1,680 acre IT City and GMADA’s plan to acquire more than 5,400 acres of Aerotropolis, make this area a fertile ground for commercial set ups. With Ashoka University, Infosys and many other IT companies all set to have their campuses in the vicinity, commercial prospects can’t be any better.

Project tracker

As the proof of the pudding lies in its taste, so does the proof of potential of an area lies in the profile of developers and projects coming up there. The argument in favour of commercial boom is proven if one just takes stock of such projects starting from Sector 117 till Zirakpur end. Outlets  that are already operational along this road are also doing good business. Local as well as national-level developers are in the fray with projects in different stages of planning and completion. The TDI group’s Connaught Plaza, Taj Plaza, Jubilee Group’s Jubilee Square and Jubilee Walk, World Trade Centre, a joint project by Unity group and Homeland group, the big ticket Aero Arcade, Sushma Pristine (towards Zirakpur end),  are just a few of such projects. The trend is more of shop- cum-offices, open and flexible office spaces for professionals and small businesses, retail spaces, convenience stores and restaurants etc, rather than big-ticket malls and shopping arcades. “It is heartening to see that the upcoming inventory has been planned keeping the demand in mind and this strategic move will ensure the success of commercial units in this area”, says Dipinpreet Singh, Director of West Coast Investment Solutions. A number of retail complexes like the Jubilee Square have been conceptualised keeping in mind the demand of customers in the area.     “Malls mean not only steep rentals but also high camp charges, which are not preferred by small retailers and individual professionals, so the demand is for units that are independent, modern and have a low-maintenance expenditure”, says Sanyam Dudeja, Director of Jubilee Group that currently has two commercial projects in its kitty on the Airport Road. 

The price factor

The price appreciation has already taken place in this area. Ashish Arora, Director, Viridian Red group that is coming up with the World Trade Centre on airport road, says, in spite of the slow progress on ground, the investors in the project have not been hit by depreciation. “The initial price was Rs 6250 psf, and currently it is around Rs 7,200 psf for a third floor unit and Rs 7050 for other floors”,  he says. Take for example the case of Sector 82. At one time there were no takers for plots there and a commercial space could be had easily for Rs 65 lakh per kanal, but now nothing is available for even Rs 2 or 2.5 crore. The plots on B-road can cost up to Rs 90 lakh. This whole area has actually come up as a hub of construction material and home fittings wholesale suppliers, who have set up outlets here.  While the affordability of  land here in comparison to that in Chandigarh and rest of Mohali, has given a boost to commercial activity in this sector, hectic construction in the vicinity of the international airport has served as a demand driver for these outlets. 

Commercial is the sunrise segment in Mohali at the moment. 

Projects & Pricing

  • Sushma Pristine, Zirakpur (Commercial shops Rs 5995 per sq.ft. onwards; office spaces Rs 9.65 lakh to 1.5 crore)
  • TDI Connaught Plaza, Sector 74 A (Rs 95 lakh to 8 cr), Taj Plaza Sector 118 (Rs 64.4 lakh to 3.5 cr)
  •  World Trade Centre (Rs 6850-7200 psf)
  • Jubilee Square, Aero City (Rs 69.52 lakh to 5.1 crore for SCOs)
  • Unity Group and Homeland group’s joint venture
  • Jubilee Walk, Sector 70 
  • Bestech  (Rs 34.8 lakh to 24.2 cr)
  •  Aero Arcade, Aero City
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