Corporate Parks

In an era of specialization and segmentation when it comes to real estate categorization and customized requirements along with a wish list of amenities and features, it is time to re-define the paradigm of commercial real estate. Earlier when one said commercial real estate the definition used to be real estate that was not residential or industrial, usually a mish mash of offices, retail and workplaces. Now it has upgraded in terms of facilities amenities and quality of construction. Obviously the nomenclature had to change as well. Corporate parks are the new segment of commercial real estate which is loosely defined as modern office space.

The term modern has several definition points out an estate agent. It definitely means a good working environment with amenities and facilities for the human resources that will work in that premises, based on the logic that a good working environment brings a profitable return for corporate that have work space or back offices in such premises.. This would include a gym, swimming pool, a cafeteria, a yoga room, space for meditation and so on.

Something to relieve stress levels would, mean an apt color scheme of the interiors, landscape compound with fountains and water bodies, grassy knolls that are considered soothing. It is a totally new game with rules that are different too. In the present scenario, corporate companies are looking for commercial space with lifestyle amenities. In the specialized offering aimed at this segment one reputed construction group is coming up with ‘iTHINK’ projects which will offer the best of infrastructure and amenities on par with corporate parks across the world. They are planning to dedicate over 25 per cent of their land bank to commercial projects and have currently earmarked an investment of Rs 2,000 crore for iTHINK projects.

If one looks at Mumbai there is a gradual shift for commercial spaces from South Mumbai to North Mumbai. After Lower Parel and Bandra Kurla Complex, the focus is now on the suburbs such as Parel and Thane. Other reasons of this transition are closer proximity to residential hubs and availability of floor space at affordable prices.

Demand for commercial space has shot up and supply is unable to keep pace. The reasons are simple, he explains. First, Mumbai is among the top 10 financial destinations globally. Within Asia, it follows Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. Inching ahead everyday, it is all set to ebb a global financial center, which is the reason why Mumbai definitely requires world class corporate parks or international finance centers for the top 100 companies of the world. As per the policy laid down by the powers that be Mumbai had no new offices constructed for almost two decades, from 1980 to 2000. So, there already exists a huge backlog of demand from the finance and allied services segment.

It is little wonder then that Mumbai emerged as the fourth most expensive office market in the world, next only to the business districts in London (Westend and city) and one in Tokyo (inner central). A survey by real estate consultant in 2007 showed that New Delhi wasn’t far behind at the seventh slot with occupation costs in Connaught Place estimated the be at $ 116 per sq ft / annum and rising further, The rates have gone further since the survey. This is true of Hyderabad, Bengalooru and Pune also.

Corporate parks are a helpful indicator with regards to the development of an area. Quality world calls products are normally developed at such places and this is helpful in a number of ways. The government is also keen to develop Special Economic Zones, where most of such corporate parks are situated. This is the reason why the state government authorities have given a 50 per cent reduction in stamp duty for special economic zones vide notification in the government Gazette dated January 15, 2008.

Indian companies that had dreams of going global found these an equally good value proposition. Demand for this segment grew and it is amongst the best examples of industry catering to demand from end users, in the best possible manner.

When the first set of MNCs moved in to the corporate park at Powai, they found out that barring the top two or three bosses, almost everyone else in the company found traveling to a suburban location easier than to south Mumbai’s CBD. It saved time for 99 per cent of the total human resources and thus, made for a better work environment. Corporate parks represent global amenities with local convenience ad will be the successful new face of India’s commercial real estate.