Reaching for the skies

Lodha Group’s World One, with 117 storeys, is expected to be the tallest residential tower yet
"There's nothing quite like the reassurance of having a home where your heart is," the Lodha Group's website informs its NRI customers in a special corner of the website reserved for them. It is routine for luxury real estate developers to attract NRIs over the Internet or through exhibitions and floating sales offices in their countries of residence. Lodha, however, did not stop its efforts at that for the 117-storey World One in Mumbai, expected to be the tallest residential tower yet. It tied up with Wetherell, a renowned estate agent in Mayfair and the wider West End region, to talk to high net worth clients in London directly.

Peter Wetherell, CEO of Wetherell, says the project interests "Indian business people that live in London either full or part time. These people typically own a portfolio of homes around the world." The under-construction World One tower in Mumbai is so high, its developer Lodha had to look for a new way to describe the neighbourhood. So the erstwhile mill district Lower Parel turns into a posh-sounding "Upper Worli" in any literature talking about the 1,400 ft tower.

Apart from the privilege of looking down at the city from that height, residents will live amid the usual trappings of luxury including concierge services. The 3-bedroom "villas" will have curved living rooms with a deck and for the 4-bedrooms ones, Lodha throws in a private pool. The premium "mansion" will have a double height living area and 360 degree views. The 3-4BHKs cost between Rs 15 and Rs 20 crore, while the villas or mansions could fetch more than Rs 100 crore. While we were told that the sample flat was closed for viewing because it was being revamped, it is said to showcase interior design by Armani/Casa to be used in the project. The apartments will be sophisticated while also drawing from the vibrancy and textile legacy of India, says a company spokesperson.

Set in a 17-acre precinct that once housed Shrinivas Mills, the building itself is being raised with M-95 grade concrete and is equipped with elevators that travel eight metres per second - firsts in India. The lift interiors will be designed by Armani/Casa too, the company points out. World One will share space with its slightly shorter sibling, the World Crest. Not far off are large commercial complexes, malls and five-star hotels. The building will try to be green, relying on solar panels to support some functions. Residents will have access to two custom-built Rolls-Royce sedans on a time-sharing basis. Launched in 2010, civil construction of World One is about 75 per cent complete. It is expected to be finished in 2016.

For the rich buyer
  • The Atmosphere and The Address: The Wadhwa Group is actively pitching these projects, in Mulund and Ghatkopar respectively, to overseas clients. The developer recently sent a representative to Oman and is currently talking to potential buyers in Doha. Automatic car washes and separate restrooms for drivers and household help are among the services being offered.
  • Ahuja Towers : The project in Mumbai's Worli is aimed at "kings of the modern world". The apartments, which occupy a level each, offer over 40 ft-wide sea views. The living rooms in the limited edition 6BHK penthouses are said to be 26 ft high.
  • Monte South - Being developed jointly by Adani Realty and Marathon Realty, the Byculla property is "by invitation only". The 55-storey building is said to have 3-4BHKs and. Going by one broker's claim, it is gaining interest from London businessmen who bet on the Adani brand name.

A HOUSE FOR Rs 190 CRORE

A bungalow with five floors, private elevators, all within a gated complex. No, this is not a home in one of the new townships near New Delhi, but in the very heart of the capital. Tata Housing, which bought the bungalow at Number 2, Hailey Road in 2012, will redevelop the property into four independent bungalows, each priced upwards of Rs 190 crore. Now that Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group has also bought a bungalow for Rs 304 crore on Bhagwan Dass Road, it seems that Lutyens' Delhi will be seeing a spate of new residential projects.

"Given the growing numbers of the high net worth individuals, the demand for high-end villas is increasing in India. This segment constitutes 10 to 20 per cent of the total real estate market in the National Capital Region," says Santhosh Kumar, CEO (operations) and international director, Jones Lang LaSalle India. Almost 32 Indian billionaires have nearly doubled their wealth in the last one year and it is only natural for projects such as 2 Hailey Road to offer premium residences in an area where properties are all the importance of addresses.