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Home > Business > Special


Ludhiana, now on the hot realty map

Aabhas Sharma in New Delhi | April 07, 2007

There are three things that you cannot miss when you visit Ludhiana. A liquor vend at every nook and corner, advertisements for easy immigration to Canada, and the massive construction that is happening across the city. 

The city, which was known for its textile and cycle industry, has seen big money pouring in with big names like DLF, Aerens and Omaxe setting up residential as well as commercial properties in the city. Then there are local players eyeing a pie in the growing real estate market. 

With the kothi culture still prevalent in the city and money coming in from NRIs, most choose plotted developments and huge houses. There aren't many flats barring a few government houses. Most colonisers opt for plotted developments that are spread across 40 acres of land. 

Sukhdev Singh of Star Developers, a real estate group, which is building a large colony spread across 40 acres of land on Ferozepur Road, says, "Most of the houses that are being bought are by NRIs and they want huge houses and not flats." The city's real estate growth has been spurred on by NRI families and the increase in the purchasing power of the residents of Ludhiana. 

One of the few groups that claims to have built the first luxury apartments in the city in B R S Nagar is the Singla Group. According to K K Singla, founder chairman, Singla Group, "We know flats have very few takers in the city but there is a huge chunk of young professionals who are coming into the city who prefer to live in apartments." 

The property, on which the group has spent Rs 90 crore, will have 99 flats including Ludhiana's first penthouses. The price range of these flats start from Rs 33 lakh for a two bedroom apartment and goes upto Rs 1.25 crore for the penthouses. 

The builder is also providing two airconditioners, a refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher and television sets, besides other amenities, with each flat. 

Chandigarh Road and Fero-zepur Road are the most attractive destinations for integrated townships and mixed-use projects. The prices for high-end plotted developments in prime locations like Sarabha Nagar, Civil Lines and Gurdev Nagar are somewhere in the range of Rs 2,200-3,300 per sq ft. 

Apart from these areas, places such as Model Town Extension, Rajguru Nagar, Maya Nagar and Green Park are also attracting the interest of developers. The property rates in these areas are in the range of Rs 1,660-2,200 per sq ft. 

One of the most awaited properties in Ludhiana is the City Centre. The project is being built by Improvement Trust and will be ready by 2008, but has been marred by controversy. The City Centre is expected to have five main sections. 

The mall with shopping arcades, showrooms and offices; a health centre with OPD, emergency services and a helipad; a podium to provide a hotel site, financial institutions and provision for a rooftop swimming pool, and the square - to house department stores, a hotel, exhibition halls and a trade centre - and the forum for an art gallery, an auditorium, food plaza, a cinema complex, library, museum and cyber cafes. 

Close to Rs 400 crore (Rs 4 billion) is being spent on the City Centre, being constructed on Pakhowal Road. Other commercial areas are at Mall Road, Link Road, Ghumar Mandi, Feroze Gandhi Market, Sarabha Nagar Market and Ferozepur Road. 

Feroze Gandhi Market is the commercial hub of the city where all banks and financial service companies are located. As R S Bawa, proprietor, Bawa Developers, puts it, "The demand will be primarily led by the companies from the banking and financial sector, telecom companies and other service sector corporates." For now, Singla points out, a lot of residential properties are being used for commercial purposes. 

Mall mania has hit the town what with 15 malls expected to be ready by 2009. Most of these projects are on Fero-zepur Road and GT Road. Ferozepur Road has a number of organised retail developments, like Vishal Mega Mart, Ansal Plaza and Centrestage Mall. 

Large format retail projects like Westend Mall are also underway on Ferozepur Road. "Ferozepur Road should soon be rechristened Mall Street with so many malls coming up," laughs Singla. 

Apart from this, other national level players like Areans and Omaxe too have started their commercial projects in the city. Omaxe has a mall called Festival City, which will be spread across 5,00,000 sq ft, and Aerens has its Gold and Wedding Souk spread over 2 million square feet. 

Right now, the city has no luxury hotels barring the Park Plaza, but MBD is building a hotel and Park too is planning another one in the city. An Oberoi property is also in the pipeline in the city. Out of the 15 malls, three are expected to have hotels being developed alongside. 

Although not much industrial activity is happening in the city, a few automobile companies are setting up ancillary units in the city near a place called Dhandari Kalan. 

The commercial property rates are comparatively low when compared to Chandigarh and Amritsar. But realtors expect that the development of the malls should change the entire structure. Presently, rates for commercial properties are in the range of Rs 3,500-4,500 per sq ft in areas like Feroze Gandhi market. 

While rates in upcoming malls are expected to touch Rs 3,200 per sq ft, rental rates will be around Rs 100 per sq ft. Among the poshest markets of the city, Sarabha Nagar has rental values around Rs 80-90 per sq ft per month. 

Realtors are banking on NRI money and high disposable incomes to usher in a real estate boom in the city, and are hoping that it will pull retail ventures in the city as well. 

The international airport scheduled to come up at Halwara should see development on the outskirts of the city. Though players admit that the market has become stable, it is only a matter of a couple of years before you can expect it to hit the roof . 



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