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Aug 21, 2007

Raising Coimbatore

Coimbatore, popularly known as Manchester of South India, is known for its salubrious climate, the sweet water of Siruvani river and the entrepreneurship of its people. But some more reasons why Coimbatore is the preferred choice to many are: a bright and booming textile sector, engineering hub and plans of major IT players to start operations here. Along with this comes the demand for more residential units, commercial spaces and entertainment avenues, not to forget infrastructure facilities, such as better roads and transport systems, hotels and convention halls.

Though the self-made city saw a slump in the real estate sector after the serial bomb blasts in February 1998, the returns on investments (residential) now is above the average of 10-20%. Coimbatore is now a happening place in the real estate sector besides IT and manufacturing. While the local players (builders, promoters and all stake holders in the construction sector) are having a busy time for the last two years with new projects, some large-scale proposals are in the pipeline with multi-nationals and foreign companies partnering with local property developers for joint venture initiatives.Apart from the IT SEZ planned by the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (Elcot), private enterprises are also gearing up to set up IT facilities. Singapore-based Jurong Group has announced a 35-acre project for an IT-cum-residential project. The citybased Salzer group is also planning to develop one lakh sq ft IT Park in association with a US-based consulting service provider.


The Builders’ Association of India (Coimbatore Chapter) chairman G Srinivasan says: “The city is all set to witness a boom in the coming years, as there is a huge demand for both residential and commercial spaces driven by the IT boom. Almost all big players in the real-estate industry are vying to have their presence here.” Besides IT, retail seems to lead the commercial realty race here. “On the retail front, the city is witnessing the onset of mall format development. Around five malls with a built-up area of two million sq ft each, are scheduled to be operational in the next three years,” according to HDFC regional manager Mathew Joseph. Zee’s Essel Group plans to develop its retail format, Forum, along with a multiplex and Food & Entertainment Centre (FEC). Brookefields Developers is planning a three lakh sq ft mall that will become operational the year end.


Surat-based developers Daga Brothers is eyeing a mall on Avinashi Road and E-city Ventures has plans to develop a multiplex on a 3-5 acre plot along the Coimbatore-Tirupur Link Road.On the residential front, there is a huge demand for high-end housing. Top notch property promoters completed close to 700 units last year. Presidium Constructions’ had come out with KG Gardenia, the Rs 75 lakh-Rs 1 crore apartment project on the posh Race Course road while Pricol Property Developers (PPDL), the realty arm of auto comp major Pricol, is gearing up for launching its new project with an apartment priced at Rs 1.25 crore, which is considered a new high for property in the city. Most of these premium apartments include modern lifestyle facilities such as swimming pool, sauna, steam, shopping complex, food court and a banquet hall.


As commercial and residential realty are growing at a brisk pace, the mill land sale story is getting bigger by the day in the region with many old and sick textile mills being converted into apartments and other commercial spaces. The defunct Sri Hari Mills would soon become an IT park, whereas the surplus five acre of land of Shree Rangavilas Mills on the prime Avinashi Road will soon become a multiplex. Century-old Lakshmi Mills, which closed its Singanallur unit, has also sold its land to a leading residential property developer in the city.Public sector textile behemoth National Textiles Corporation (NTC) too has been engaged in selling its surplus mill lands, mainly situated in prime localities in Coimbatore, in phases to mobilise funds for its ambitious modernisation drive. NTC has sold over 25 acre in the past few months, garnering close to Rs 13 crore. The boom in traditional industries like textiles and engineering, coupled with the much awaited entry of IT companies, has led the property developers to bet big on this textile city.

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