The overheads in case of theme projects remain the same as in other projects, but it is more profitable.

Moumita Bakshi

New Delhi, July 3

WITH thousands of residential projects coming up in different parts of the country, real estate developers are now foraying into theme-based projects to differentiate product offerings and bolster revenues streams.

As a result, projects like `The Nile', `Emerald City', and `Spanish Terraces' are being positioned to tap a new segment of Indian buyers looking for a residence that matches changing lifestyle profiles and aspirations.

"With the residential market evolving in India, one now sees people going in for brands and standards for differentiation - much like buying a Rolls Royce or a branded suit from Gucci," said Mr Kunal Banerji, Senior Vice-President (Marketing), Omaxe.

Omaxe's The Nile, located in Gurgaon, attempts to bring alive the Egyptian civilisation, while the Forest in Noida offers a breathtaking view of over 300-acre green plantation forest and proposes a rivulet running around each tower.

An apartment in the Forest would cost over Rs 1.6 crore, while penthouses are priced at over Rs 3.3 crore.

The Nile comes with a price tag of Rs 45 lakh for an apartment and Rs 87 lakh for penthouse.

Omaxe is also considering taking up theme-based projects in Lucknow, Jaipur, and Raipur.

"The overheads in case of theme projects remain the same as in other projects, but it is more profitable and makes better marketing sense as the theme attracts customers to the project," he said.

The Pune-based Gera Developments has embarked on child-centric housing complex Emerald City, with safety features including rounded corners, low-level elevator door sensors, tall railings, and child-safe door locks.

The project envisages a no-vehicle zone and separate playgrounds for toddlers and for older children.

Also on the cards are features such as a fish-pond, a telescope on the terrace, roller skating and play areas for cricket with a viewing gallery, adjustable low-level wash-basins inside the home, and study areas for tuitions within the complex.

"Earlier developers feared that theme projects may not sell, but now they realise that one can draw the crowd from greater distances to these projects," said Mr Kumar Gera, Managing Director of Gera Developments.

Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd's (APIL) project in Gurgaon called Spanish Terraces proposes to use Spanish architecture and hue to woo customers.To be completed in the next 18 months, the project aims to blend the experience of living in an exclusive villa with the convenience of an apartment. "Today's consumer is well-travelled, highly educated, and on the look-out for value addition. "It is mostly professionals or executives who go in for theme housing as their high disposable income can be augmented through bank loans," said Mr Aditya Wadhera, General Manager (Marketing), APIL.

However, for such projects to take off, given their niche nature, developers need access to an exclusive social database, he added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 4, 2005)
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