09 Apr CEOs live it up closer to workplace
The Economic Times – 9th April 2018
BY- Kailash Babar
India’s chief executives can have their pick of places to live in, such as south Mumbai and the posh enclaves of south and central Delhi. Apart from that, premium Mumbai high-rises such as Sterling Apartments on Pedder Road, Samudra Mahal in Worli and NCPA Apartments in Nariman Point have been favoured haunts. However, newer housing societies are challenging the existing pecking order.
“Apart from the location, gentry, privacy and living in a community of likeminded people make an address perfect for a home and not just a PIN code,” said Keki Mistry, vice-chairman and CEO of Housing Development Finance Corp. (HDFC), who currently lives at K Raheja Corp’s Vivarea in south Mumbai’s Mahalaxmi area — which has traditionally not been seen as an elite address. “For me, apart from this combination, what worked were the amenities and high recommendations from friends.”
At Vivarea, a plush residential complex that occupies 14 acres and has 200 homes, Mistry’s neighbours include Aditya Birla Group financial services CEO Ajay Srinivasan, Axis Capital CEO Dharmesh Mehta and Tano India Advisors MD Hetal Gandhi and other corporate leaders. Tata Housing and Development’s newly appointed MD and CEO Sanjay Dutt recently moved into the complex, which is close to the business districts of south and central Mumbai.
There are many opportunities to meet the neighbours — a night cricket match at Vivarea saw notable business heads of private equity to banking to retail batting, bowling and chasing the ball. Also on offer are high-definition screenings of Indian Premier League and international football matches, besides special movie screenings that are networkingcum-leisure opportunities.
As executives make career advances, they also, at times, shift addresses. N Chandrasekaran moved from his house on Worli seaface to 33 South Condominium, a high-rise on Pedder Road, after his elevation as chairman of Tata Sons.
Many CEOs are showing preparedness to move beyond their established comfort zone of south Mumbai, which refers roughly to the stretch from Cuffe Parade to Mahim. There are many newer luxury complexes — BeauMonde Towers in Prabhadevi and Lodha Bellissimo in Mahalaxmi — emerging as an option.
As the financial industry has gravitated toward Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), so have its bosses. For instance, Uday Kotak, executive vice-chairman and MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank; Satya Narayan Bansal, CEO of Barclays Wealth’s India operations; Abbott India MD Ambati Venu; Ambit Holding group CEO Ashok Wadhwa and Roche India MD Lara Bezerra have all moved to Signature Island, a super-premium residential project at BKC.
Developed by Sunteck Realty, Signature Island has about 200 homes priced from ₹30 crore to ₹175 crore with the occupants running companies in sectors ranging from finance to pharmaceuticals. Signature Island, with duplex and triplex spread over 8,000 sq ft and above is the most luxurious of the three premium buildings in BKC including Signia Isle and Signia Pearl that have apartments sized above 5,000 sq ft.
Moving closer to the place of work makes sense; it cuts down on the time spent travelling between home and office.
“Earlier, CEOs and professionals preferred to live only in a few south Mumbai localities,” said Knight Frank India’s former chairman Pranay Vakil, who has helped several corporate heads find their dream homes over the years. “However, new locations are emerging and getting added to their list of preferred addresses. Compelling reasons for this shift include the time these decision makers are spending on their commute to work.” Once there’s a critical mass of top-level people, then the network effect takes over. Networking becomes the easiest thing to do when someone is staying in a place where he or she bumps into another CEO every time they jog in the morning or take a stroll in the evening.
This movement has been evident in the National Capital Region for several years now, with most CXOs moving closer to their workplace in Gurgaon from established locations in central Delhi.
The Magnolias by DLF in Sector 42 of Gurgaon is among the most coveted residential complexes, with 580 super-luxury apartments occupied by the highest number of CEOs, Indian and expats, according to real estate analysts. The project was launched in FY09 at a base price of ₹8,000 per square foot, which has touched over ₹15,000 per sq ft, taking starting ticket size to ₹19 crore. It has duplexes and penthouses ranging from 6,500 sq ft to 12,500 sq ft. The complex is home to bosses such as Aditya Ghosh, president and whole-time director, InterGlobe Aviation, which operates IndiGo, and Sanjiv Kapoor, chief strategy and commercial officer at Tata-Singapore Airlines joint venture Vistara.
Given their hectic schedules, CEOs are keen on self-sufficient solutions. Most of these new-age complexes offer inhouse sports bars, health clubs, spas, conference rooms, entertainment areas for guests, lifestyle concierge services, top-ofthe-line security and small theatres.
Sure, all this doesn’t mean that south Mumbai and Lutyen’s Delhi will lose their cachet, quite the contrary. But possibilities are much broader than before. “PIN code value will not lose its appeal in India, but we must also factor in that the newer breed of CEOs and MDs have a different viewpoint on what constitutes luxury, and see value in newer, more modern luxury buildings with the latest amenities, which are rare in traditional luxury locations,” said Anuj Puri, chairman, Anarock Property Consultants.