Towering over villas

High-rise apartments with marquee services attract high-end home buyers



Indian movies might have shown the rich business man stepping down a winding staircase regally, that ended in a large hall strewn with sofas upholstered with cherry-red velvet, but the affluent home buyers these days are finding such palatial dwellings hard to come by, especially in the cities.

The high net worth individuals in Mumbai have circumvented this problem by living in ultra-luxurious tower apartments; this trend is now catching up in other metros, such as Chennai and Bengaluru too.

Wins over villas

The most important factor that tilts the scale in favour of towers is the convenient location, right in the city. “Buyers seek good connectivity to the airport and other parts of the city. They do not want to compromise on social infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals, malls, restaurants and shopping plazas. And many owners want an address that they can proudly proclaim,” observes Manju Yagnik, Vice-Chairperson, Nahar Group.

This makes towers score over villas that need much larger acreage and are typically situated in suburban locations. Many buyers opt for apartments to be closer to work. “In Chennai, one could either choose a premium tower at Anna Salai or a villa on the East Coast Road, away from the city. So, a young career-focused person may opt for a tower home while a person in his late 50s may prefer a villa,” says Venkatesh Gopalkrishnan, President, Business Development, Shapoorji Pallonji Real Estate.

But home owners of all ages are drawn to high-rise towers for the stunning view. The joy of watching the sun rise over the Bay of Bengal from your terrace in MRC Nagar in Chennai, as you enjoy your morning cup of filter kaapi, or see the city being lit up at night, as you sip your tea from your apartment in Kolkata, is priceless. Those who prefer greenery can opt to live in an apartment that faces, say a golf course, such as Nitesh Park Avenue in Bengaluru.

“And when there is only one home per floor, you get a 360 degree view — a preferred choice for many buyers,” says J Vishnu Shankar of Crorepati Homes, a Bengaluru-based luxury property agency. High-end tower apartments in Bengaluru with one flat per floor are priced from ₹6 crore to ₹22 crore, he notes.

And those who are more practically oriented opt for apartments. “Independent villas are ideal from an end-use perspective. But from an investment perspective, it is more prudent to go for luxury apartments than villas as these can fetch better rentals and resale value,” suggests Neha Hiranandani, Director, House of Hiranandani.

Better than bungalows

One reason why high-end home buyers are considering towers is for the service they get. For instance, security is an important factor for residents and towers beat independent homes in this regard. There are three key areas of security offered in an apartment complex, says Gopalkrishnan. “One, tower security which includes dedicated passenger lifts, security-coded lifts and cameras; two, safety in the lobby area which includes multiple security check-points from the entrance to the lift; three, protection within the home which includes video door phones.”

Another attraction is being pampered by the wide array of services at one’s doorstep. “Branded services, such as lóccitane spa, concierge services, laundry service and creche are some of the features that residents can now expect,” says Rahul Sara, Managing Director, Forum Projects, a Kolkata-based developer of luxury homes. Towers offer economies of scale and hence brands and designers who will not cater to a bungalow are willing to partner with high-rise developers, he says. Homes designed by Armani fall under this category.

Likewise residents also get to enjoy a host of amenities without stepping out of their building.

This includes the long list of features which you find in most luxury projects — well-appointed club houses, spacious play area for kids, pool, gym, yoga centre, indoor and outdoor sports facilities.

There is also a trend towards new entertainment options, such as mini golf-courses. Additionally, inspired by the open terrace, developers feature entertainment options that are literally over the top. Nahar group, for instance, has a roof-top café, Al Fresco, in its project Tower of Adyar in Chennai.

A garden on the rooftop, infinity swimming pool, banquet hall, lounge, health and sports zone are among the other amenities offered right on the terrace.

And for many, presence of a community is a plus and they see it an opportunity to rub shoulders with the right people. “The advantage of high-rise living is that you can bask in your solitude at these heights. And when you want to be with people, you can get down to the common areas and meet the neighbours and enjoy the vibe of community living.

So, you get the best of both the worlds,” explains Murugan Nellayappan, who lives at Seawood tower in Egattur, OMR, developed by the House of Hiranandani.

Added features

“The number of tower launches are definitely going up and will continue to increase,” observes Shankar. One reason may be because developers are upping the luxury quotient by introducing new features.

For instance, with walking paths a mainstay now, they are embedding smooth round stones to act as natural massage therapy for the feet. These reflexology paths, available at the Nahar Amrit Shakti project in Mumbai, helps relieve stress and improves blood circulation, claims Yagnik.

Hiranandani has tied up with CPG Peridian Singapore to design the landscape for their projects. “We want the landscape to respond to the individual site characteristic, climate, topography, existing ecosystem, history, culture and social context,” explains Hiranandani.

State-of-the-art technology, such as fibre-to-the-home (FTH) is one other area of differentiation. High-speed connectivity offered by this technology enables fast delivery of multiple services, such as telephone, broadband and television.

Most luxury apartments also come with a home theatre with a surround sound system. Other technology-enabled features include telemedicine services.

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