Experion Developers plans to foray into affordable housing

FDI-funded real estate company Experion Developers, backed by Experion Holdings, Singapore, the real estate investing arm of USD 2.5 billion AT Holdings group of companies, is planning to foray into affordable housing and launch projects under the format in Delhi NCR, Lucknow, Bengaluru and Pune.
Experion Developers, which is currently developing two housing projects, a 100-acre township and one commercial project in Gurgaon, is in talks with other builders for the development of projects in joint venture in cities like Noida and Greater Noida.
It has also bought land parcels in Coimbatore, Nagpur and Goa and is looking at the Bengaluru and Pune markets. The company is also looking at the Noida market for opportunities in commercial real estate. “Having substantial portfolio of residential, we are getting ourselves to take up more on the commercial development front – you will see more projects being added in the segment,” CEO Rakesh Kaul tells Vandana Ramnani in an exclusive chat with Moneycontrol.

Can you tell us about the projects that you may have completed so far?
The projects that we have launched so far include Windchants, a project that is spread across 25 acres land parcel. This is about 3.5 mn sq ft of built-up space. The second project is a high-rise by the name of Heartsong that is on 15 acres of land. It comprises about 810 units and thereafter we had launched a township on 100 acres. All these projects are located around the Dwarka Expressway, very near to Delhi. We have also launched a commercial project on NH8 by the name of Milestone Experion Centre.

Where exactly is the project in Lucknow located and how big is it?
This project is close to 700,000 sq ft of space, mixed use out of which about 1 lakh sq ft will be commercial and the rest residential. This is located in Vibhuti Khand, Gomti Nagar, a happening place in Lucknow.
We are adjoining the Indira Gandhi Parishthan and the High Court. Some of the projects that are in the process of being handed are the ones that are in Delhi, Gurgaon, NCR region — the first one being Windchants whereby we have asked about a 100 people to come and take possession. We have invited 400 people to come and take possession in our Heartsong project in which 300 families have already got their homes registered and sale deeds executed. We have begun handing over possession in the township projects. That is quite substantial in terms of the development. We have been able to achieve roughly 7 million sq ft of space having been developed in a very short span of time.

Is Dwarka Expressway that connects your projects still a very big challenge?

It has been going slow for some time but I think that the difficult times are now over with the stretch being handed over to NHAI and thereafter the NHAI having handed over the construction of Dwarka Expressway and that too in an elevated manner to L & T whereby the contract or has been awarded and the amount of the contract have also been decided. It is just a matter of time for the work to get completed. It will be a big relief for many home owners who have bought on this stretch.

What about your expansion plans? Do you plan increasing the footprint across the country or take up more projects in Delhi NCR?
We do have some development rights in various other states as well. We have bought land parcels in Coimbatore, Nagpur and Goa. However, we are on the lookout for other projects in other areas as well. We have been actively looking at the Bengaluru and Pune markets and also trying to expand on our home turf which is NCR. We are also looking at the Noida market for opportunities in commercial real estate. Having substantial portfolio of residential, we are getting ourselves to take up more on the commercial development front – you will see more projects being added.

Any plans that have fructified?

We are in the advanced stages of closing some deals and very soon we will be making some announcements.
Are you planning to participate in any bids in the NCR, especially HSIIDC lands or for any international projects?
Internationally, at the group level, we have acquired a project in Amsterdam. That’s a downtown mixed-use project spread across 1.5 mn sq ft. It is landmark project in there.
We also did participate in last month’s bid of HSIIDC land parcel on NH8 and were in the fray with other developers. We went up to a substantial length in terms of giving a very respectable bid for the project.

Any plans to foray into affordable housing?

We have been studying the format very closely. We have already initiated a task force who is working into the design and the cost elements of doing affordable projects. We will definitely try to extend the same velocity of delivering quality yet within the affordable range for these projects and this will be achieved through our core philosophy of innovation both in terms of the design and the usage of material, technology used in the construction.
All this experience will be put together to explore affordable housing developments.

Which markets are you looking at in particular for affordable housing projects?
We are looking at NCR, Lucknow, Bengaluru and Pune. In fact, whenever there is an opportunity and wherever we feel there is consumption for affordable housing. We are not limited by any geographical constraints.

How soon do we expect launches in this format?

We are also on the look out for some opportunities out there. There is no timeframe fixed as of now but that will definitely be a focus area.

Will it be this year?
Cannot say because mobilizing a project takes time, especially if you have to go through the approval stages. Whenever we do take up a project, we ensure all the approvals and the licenses are in place and our design process is slightly prolonged. I won’t be able to comment on the timeline but as I said that there is a huge focus on affordable and we are definitely exploring it.
How many units do you hope to deliver by the end of this year?
We have delivered close to about 400 units by the end of this year. By delivered I mean handed over, we have given possession to their respective owners and then there will be another pipeline created for another year across NCR.
Is this across India or across NCR?
Across NCR because across India the next projects and the next deliveries will be in Lucknow where we have initiated a project. That will take another two years to get completed and we will be adding more phases in that particular project. Right now we have launched just the first phase of that project. So, it is a continuous process –as you keep on launching phases, you keep on handing over.

Source:Money Control
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