LUCKNOW Residential Scenario

The residential real estate scene in Luc-know has undergone marked change in the recent years with frenetic developments in city and suburban areas like Mall Avenue, Civil Lines, Hazratganj, New Hyderabad, Janakipuram, Indira Nagar and Gomti Nagar. From group housing to bungalows, villas, condominiums, penthouses, high end luxury apartments and townships, Luc-know is vitnessing a new trend in lifestyle living. Along with leading local developers like Eldeco, Sahara, Halwasiya, Rohtas and Arif Industries, supported by government agencies like UPHDB and LDA, big time national developers like Ansals, Parsvnath, Omaxe, Unitech, M Tech, Uppal Chaddha Group etc are engaged in changing the face of Lucknow's residential real estate. According to industry estimates, as many as 10,000 housing units are under development in Lucknow

Arif Industries were the first to come up with group housing flats in Lucknow in 1984. Today Amrapali Group and Ansal Housing & Construction Limited are developing group housing projects in the city Arif also brought in the concept of duplex apartments. Today the apartment culture has become an integral part of city's residential real estate. Says Shawez Arif, MD, Arif Industries, which is developing Rs 300 crore Metro City project along with Arif King & Arif Hyderabad Apartments, "People are shifting from villas to flats due to convenient maintenance and sound security". But then like metro cities, luxury living has caught up Lucknow in a big way. In fact all leading national developers now active in Lucknow are busy developing luxury apartments including penthouses.

Sahara Infrastructure & Housing which has already developed Sahara States Township is coming up with Sahara Grace, a luxury residential complex in Janakipuram. Omaxe group is developing Omaxe Heights, a multi-storied luxury apartments complex, while Parsvnath group is coming up with Parsvnath Planet, an air conditioned Opulent Condominium. Uppal Chadha Group, which has developed Eastend Mall, is now developing a Rs 500 crore ultra-modern luxury apartment project-Plumeria in Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar. Eldeco,s which is largely into affordable housing, is also engaged in developing premium housing. Developers aver that there's good demand for high-end residential developments from businessmen, professionals, bureaucrats and even NRIs.

Besides apartments, the integrated township concept has also ushered in a big way in Lucknow with many big players busy developing mega townships. Eldeco, which has done abut two dozen projects in Lucknow claims that half of their projects, are residential townships. Omaxe group is developing 150-acre Omaxe City, offering independent floors, villas and plots. Sahara group that had first launched Sahara State Homes is now developing Sahara City Homes over 200 acres as part of its plan to set up similar township in 217 cities.

Delhi based M Tech group is also developing a mega township in Gomti nagar. But the mother of all townships is planned by Ansal API. It is coming up with Sushant Golf & Hi Tech city over 5000 acres at the cost of Rs 22500 crores. The integrated city will offer opulent lifestyle in the form of luxury residences with 18- hole championship golf course, tennis academy, three 5-star hotels, a medicity, a university, state-of-the art hospital, commercial complexes and IT Park.

"Today there is a good demand for quality housing in Lucknow which boasts of excellent infrastructure, international standard and yet affordable residential developments. As such all developers are clocking good sales. Apart from apartments, there is a lot of hunger for residential plots which offer a good investment opportunity", says SS Halwasiya.

Commercial scenario

In view of the growing demand for good quality commercial space by the banks, insurance and telecom companies , financial institutions and corporates, the commercial real estate scene in Luc-know is revving up. The commercial developments are now spreading out to new growth corridors like Gomti Nagar, Malviya Nagar, Park Road, Mahanagar etc. and not just that, more and more A grade office buildings like Shalimar Tower and Corporate Chamber by Eldeco are being developed. Ansal API is developing a massive 120 acres of area in its upcoming 5000-acre Golfing Hi Tech City for office buildings and IT and biotech companies. Ansals are positioning themselves to meet the demand of IT/ITes in near future, particularly as IT biggies like TCS and Wipro are setting up shop in Lucknow and a STPI has also been planned for the city. Says R Mahendra, a leading real estate consultant specialising in corporate leasing, "For commercial office properties, the demand far exceeds supply as good legally sound properties are difficult to get".

He blames lopsided policies of the government agencies, which have been neglecting good commercial office developments at the cost of massive residential development. The retail scene in Lucknow that has been largely unorgaised and confined to locations like Hazratganj, Janpath, Aminabad and Kaporthala has undergone a transfonnation with the emergence of mall culture leading to organized retailing. While Hazratganj continues to be a top high street of Lucknow, places like Gomti Nagar and Saharaganj have emerged as the new hotspots for shopping malls. It was Sahara Group that heralded the mall culture in the true sense with the launch of a 4.25 lath sqft mall with a 4-screen multiplex.

Today two more malls -cum- multiplex, including Fun Republic of Zee group and Eastend Mall of Chadha Group, are functional in the city. Riverside Mall is in the final stages of completions while Eldeco Group and Halwasiya Group have each planned malls over 2 lath sqft area. At least three more shopping malls are likely to come up in the city. S K Garg of Eldeco says that it remains to be seen if so many malls will be sustainable. However Amit Jha, COO, M Tech Developers is upbeat about the prospects of shopping malls. "The success of existing malls has proved that there is a huge scope for retail development with major brands expected to take a plunge", he says.

Government's initiative

The two premier government agencies-Uttar Pradesh Housing Development Board (UPHDB) find Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) are contributing significantly to the growth of real estate and infrastructure in Lucknow. UPHDB which has developed close to 60,000 dwelling units in its earlier housing schemes of Indira Nagar, Rajaji Puram, Vikas Nagar is now engaged in the development of massive Vrindavan Housing Scheme, developing around 7725 hectars of land in four phases. In the first phase 156.6 hectares of land is developed and dwelling units have been occupied. In 310 hectares Phase II, where plots, group-housing, independent houses, institutional land, commercial offices and shopping is being developed, there is already 25 percent occupancy. The external development work is going on for phase III and IV.

While UPHDB is undertaking commercial development at Vibhuti Khand, two new schemes of 616 hectares and 248 hectares respectively are coming up on Sultanpur and Faizabad Road. The development of Indira Nagar 2 is also being undertaken. LDA-like UPHDB has also been engaged in providing housing units besides playing a significant role in improving the infrastructure of the city, crucial to support the real estate development. According to Knight Frank, LDA has taken active initiative in all round development of the city by way of auctioning land banks at specified locations to bring about a planned development of the city.

To give a further impetus to real estate development, UPHDB has come up with an ambitious Integrated Housing Scheme. Under this scheme private developers will be permitted to develop hi-tech townships on 25-100 acres of land. The registration of private developers is on to carry out assembly of land, development of related infrastructure and provision of housing, UPHDB will facilitate private developers for the same through two models- Bulk Land Allotment Model and Development Licence Model. "The rapid pace of urbanization is creating heavy pressure on housing and infrastructure facilities. And keeping in view our constraints, it is imperative to promote private investment for creation of new housing stock", says M A A Khan, Commissioner of UPHDB. S K Garg of Eldeco says that both UPHDB and LDA are giving boost to private sector with an open mind and this new scheme of Integrated Housing will further help increase the participation of the private sector.

Future outlook

Lucknow has traditionally been an end user driven healthy real estate market with realistic pricing and realistic appreciation. Shawaz Arif, MD, Arif Industries believes that there is positive outlook and prices will hold ground. SS Halwasiya says that though with slow down, the spiraling rise in property prices has been arrested, yet the prices will not go down as the market is not overheated. Endorses S K Garg, of Eldeco, "Today with stationary demand and investors withdrawing slowly, I see a moderate 10-15 percent product-related price hike". Kushagra Ansal, foresees positive outlook for Lucknow realty. "In the immediate future, the prices of residential townshipswill go up. Commercial and group housing, prices will however increase gradually. "A Trammel Crow Meghraj study forecasts yield returns of 5.5% to 6.5% in residential, 8% to 9% in commercial office and 10% to 11.5% in retail real estate.

Amit Jha of M-Tech forsees huge potential for the city's real estate as the growing commercial and manpower requirement has led to influx of people from satellite towns of Lucknow which would translate into ever growing demand for housing and infrastructure. Global property consultancy Knight Frank predicts that with the government development bodies like UPHDB and LDA playing pro-active role in terms of proper planning of city's infrastructure, Lucknow offers a substantial potential for the future growth of real estate.


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