For Bollywood stars, a major investment vehicle continues to be real estate—residential as well as commercial. Then there are some who venture into it as real-estate developers. One of them is the 55-year-old actor-producer Suniel Shetty, who turned entrepreneur first with his hotel business and, then, real estate. He is building luxury homes in Khandala, a hill station near Mumbai. In a phone interview, Shetty talks about his real-estate business. Edited excerpts:
Why enter the real-estate business?
Other than movies, my primary focus has been always real estate. I have had a huge interest in identification of properties. I have studied hotel management. When I entered the restaurant business, my focus was on real estate, location and interiors. This passion continued when I was doing films as well. I’ve always been fascinated by art directors, lighting, and all the aspects that go into film-making. I realized that these could be readily applied to interiors and real estate.
In 2013, you started your own company, S2 Realty And Developers Pvt. Ltd. Why did you choose to enter the real-estate business during a slowdown?
I entered the business because it was on a low. When you start on a low, you can only look up. You can’t look down further. I knew for a fact that if you believe in quality, you could excel. Our growth has been very slow even now. We are surviving...we are a debt-free company. We have so far sold about 60-70% of the total homes. Sales have been slower but they are happening, which is a big achievement for us. This is something that we expected.
Tell us a bit about your first investment and why you chose Khandala?
I chose Khandala because it is a favourable destination for second homes. Yes, there are other places like Alibaug but that is not accessible. Khandala is just about an hour and a half away and the infrastructure is developing well. Plus I have my own farmhouse there and I know the area pretty well. I wouldn’t want to talk about investment much but I have funding from banks such as Corporation Bank. For home loans, we have partnered with Dena Bank.
What are your expansion plans?
We will continue building independent homes. We want to be a boutique company—do very little but give absolute quality. Mangaluru is somewhere I do want to build homes because that’s my janmabhoomi and Mumbai is my karmabhoomi. We want to do affordable homes in Mangaluru by the beach. We are looking at small individual plots in Goa. We will start work on these projects soon.