I do have high standards where my living spaces are concerned,” says Raj Chawla, who is among the first set of clients to buy a Four Seasons branded residence in Bangalore. A two-bedroom apartment on the 24th floor of the building that will also house the Four Seasons hotel will be Chawla’s retirement home. “By the time I am 50, I hope,” laughs the 43-year-old, Singapore-based investment banker.
For Chawla, a Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts regular, the choice was a simple one. “Though I don’t live in Bangalore, there is an assurance that I won’t be short-changed because of the brand involved,” he says.
Being built by Westcourt builders in collaboration with Four Seasons, the project, named CityView, stands on a 6.5-acre site north of Palace Grounds on Bellary Road in Bangalore. Of the three buildings, one 30-storey tower will house the hotel along with one- and two-bedroom apartments priced at Rs 4-7 crore on the top nine floors. The second 30-storey building, labelled the North Tower, will be dedicated entirely to residential spaces, and will have generous three- and four-bedroom apartments priced upwards of Rs 10 crore.
Designed by Studio u+a, with interiors by Yabu Pushelberg and landscaping by P Landscape, both buildings will include duplex penthouses that will be custom-made for buyers. Each floor in the residential tower will have two units with independent elevators. “The biggest distinction is the service component,” says Westcourt’s president and CEO, Vinay Kapoor. In addition to services such as 24-hour valet parking, concierge services and complex-wide Wi-Fi, all residents will be able to enjoy the hotel’s paid services such as room service, limousines, apartment cleaning services or even supermarket shopping and delivery. “We haven’t yet decided on the price points for these services, and might discount them for residents,” says Christopher Wong, vice-president, development, Asia-Pacific, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. The North Tower will also have a wine room with dual-temperature wine refrigerators, a media room and sports centre independent from the hotel. The residents will also have a discreet entrance to the hotel lobby.
Towering luxury: (clockwise from above, left) An artist’s impression of the living room at a Four Seasons apartment; the campus will have three buildings for the residences, hotel and office spaces; and the residential lobby of the North Tower.
All 110 residences are being marketed by Sotheby’s International Realty, the real estate division of art auction house Sotheby’s, which has entered the Indian real estate market with this project. “The buyers can be categorized as mostly NRIs and Indian executives in the age group of 35-50 years,” says Philip Grant, project director, real estate sales and marketing, Blueprint Global/Sotheby’s International Realty. Grant is on the look out for clients who want to live the high life, which is perhaps why he is scouting for buyers at Sotheby’s global art events. “I would imagine that people with fine taste will appreciate what we have on offer here,” he says.
CityView is expected to be ready in 2012, but the fact that several similar projects are in the pipeline across the country is an indication of a recovery from the economic lull of 2008-09. Property consultants believe that the new concept of high-end, branded residences in India lends a different flavour by mixing both hospitality and residential elements in the same space.
“Developers can easily fetch a premium of 15-20% on the pricing of such residences, and these are good investment options as well,” says Karun Varma, managing director, Jones Lang LaSalle, a property advisory firm.
While the trend is relatively new, developers in Mumbai and Bangalore have begun toying with the idea of building such branded residences.
Mumbai-based Oberoi Realty is in the last stages of finalizing an international hospitality operator for its south Mumbai (Worli) project, where it plans a hotel and branded residences. Bangalore-based Nitesh Estates, which is developing the Ritz Carlton hotel in the city, is planning similar residences for its second Ritz Carlton project in Chennai.
“These residences would be considered in our mixed-use development projects where you can also build a hotel alongside,” says Ashwini Kumar, chief operating officer, Nitesh Estates. Though they won’t come with a hotel, Mumbai will also get its own set of Trump-branded residences, which will be developed through a tie-up between billionaire Donald Trump’s Trump Organization and local developer Rohan Lifescapes. Priced at around Rs 40,000 per sq. ft, the 60-storey tower will come up on Hughes Road in south Mumbai.