Food for thought, in abundance

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R&M Podium-III focuses on  ‘IT/ITeS&Commercial Real Estate

The third edition of R&M Podium, held to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Realty & More, proved to be a resounding success. Captains of the real estate industry came forth eloquently on various issues related to changing dynamics of IT/ITeS and commercial real estate. Domain experts from reputed IPCs and DPCS ensured that the discussions reached a profound level. Overall, the knowledge meet turned out to be fruitful beyond doubt to all those who made it. Food for thought, knowledge enhancement and networking platform, R&M Podium gave them all, under one roof.

Intense brain-storming by real estate experts, free flow of ideas among top developers, learning occasion for budding players and an ideal networking opportunity for all —that’s what the third edition of R&M Podium had to offer. Held at an elegantly done-up hall at the Sandal Suites, operated by Lemon Tree Hotels, in Noida on September 26, the knowledge meet was able to establish its relevance to, and popularity with, the industry, yet again!

The power-packed event, hosted by Realty & More, had a special significance this year as it coincided with the fifth anniversary of the magazine, a rare feat among realty-focused publications in the country. R&M Podium, the knowledge platform conceived by Realty & More in 2016, offers an opportunity to industry leaders, senior bureaucrats and policy-makers to exchange thoughts on topical issues and generate ideas for the future.

Powered by realty major Assotech, Co-Powered by Gulshan Homz, the R&M Podium this year witnessed large participation from eminent developers, reputed IPCs/DPCs,senior executives of realty firms based in Delhi-NCR and many other stakeholders of the real estate industry. While Signature Global and Migsun were the Associate Sponsors, the event was supported by Radius, Saker Energies and the KW Group.

UP Cabinet Minister SP Singh Baghel was the Chief Guest and senior BJP leader RP Singh Guest of Honour at the day-long meet, which had ‘IT/ITeS& Commercial Real Estate, The Changing Dynamics’ as the subject of discussions. Vivin Ahuja, Director, RERA, NCT of Delhi, also attended the R&M Podium as a special guest.

Among the prominent developers who attended, or took part in various deliberations, were Getamber Anand, CMD, ATS and National President Credai; Neeraj Gulati, MD, Assotech Realty; Salil Kumar, Director, Assotech; Deepak Kapoor, Director, Gulshan Homz; YashMiglani, Director, Migsun; SJ Singh, CMD, Urbainia, PrashantTiwari, CMD, Prateek Group and Ravi Aggarwal, MD, Signature Global.

Senior executives of IPCs like CBRE, Colliers International India, and Knight Frank who moderated or participated in panel discussions,not only made them lively, and fruitful, but a rare experience to take home with. The R&M Podium comprised three panel discussions of over one hour each. While experts from top consultancies moderated the discussions, the developers candidly put forth their viewpoints and shared their varied experiences with the gathering in the packed hall. The candid exchange of ideas and penetrating discussions made it a fruitful experience for all present.

The success of R&M Podium-III was scribbled boldly at the lobby itself where participants started streaming in much before the appointed time. Chatting and interactions began right from the word go and soon the place was buzzing with activity. Tea, coffee and light snacks were at hand to make visitors feel relaxed and prepare them for the much bigger show inside the main hall.

The event kicked off with the anchor extending a warm welcome to participants, giving a brief about the host magazine and R&M Podium and outlining the agenda for the day. She was ably assisted by her co-anchor Sahil Grover, who impressed everyone not only with his communication skills, but also his knowledge of the industry and familiarity with its major players.

After the traditional lamp-lighting ceremony, it was the turn of R&M Editor Palash Roy to deliver a formal welcome address thereby setting the tone for the day’s proceedings. In a short speech, Roy first traced the history of his successful publication and the knowledge platform that it has created. Referring to the subject at hand, he said, though it is true that commercial real estate has evolved over the last few decades, it was confronted with several issues which will be deliberated upon during the upcoming panel discussions at R&M Podium.

Senior BJP leader RP Singh, in his address, talked about how the real estate industry has transformed today. Earlier, he said, “some brokers and dealers entered the fray seeing the boom all around, and because of those non-serious players the sector lost trust of the consumers. That phase was over now.”  Singh said recently some homebuyers in the region had approached UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seeking arrest of defaulting developers, but the CM said that was not the solution. Instead, he called a meeting of the three authorities on the issue and was making every possible effort to ensure that people get their promised homes.

UP Minister Baghel, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, sprang a pleasant surprise when he was called upon the stage to deliver his address. In a totally un-political manner, he admitted that he wasn’t much aware of the realty sector and, therefore, would prefer to listen to the panel proceedings, gain some understanding of the subject and, then speak. Finally when he spoke, he did it for well over 40 minutes and hugely impressed the audience with his carefully-crafted choice of words and focused approach.

“Jevar will prove a zevar for you”, said Baghel at the outset referring to the property boom that is bound to unleash with the coming up of an international airport at Jevar. He said despite having been a four-time MP, a minister now in the UP Government and belonging to Agra, he had never set foot in Noida or Greater Noida. This was his first visit, he said, and complimented the developer community in the region for having made it what it is today. “London, Paris aisa hi kuch hota hoga”, said Baghel, adding, “I have never been to visit those global cities”. The remarks drew huge applause from the audience. The minister said though he was not in a position to promise anything at the moment as real estate did not fall under his domain, he would convey the gist of the proceedings to the concerned minister and the CM. Baghel also lauded the R&M Podium for having given him an opportunity to gain knowledge about the realty sector.

But it was not just the minister who had words of praise for the high-quality debates that formed the core of the R&M Podium. The moderators and participants in all three panel discussions put in their best to ensure that there was not a single dull moment and the audience remained glued to their seats.

The topic of the first panel discussion was ‘Commercial Real Estate: The Way Ahead’, and it was moderated by Parul Ahuja, Director & Head, North, Office Services, CBRE. Besides top developers like Deepak Kapoor, Pradeep Aggarwal and Yash Miglani, it had Rajeev Bairathi, ED (Capital Markets), Knight Frank, Bhupendra Singh, Director, Cushman & Wakefield, and Megha Maan, Senior Associate Director, Research, Colliers International India as eminent panelists.

The discussion mostly centred round how technology has proved to be a major disruptor for the sector and most panelists highlighted the transformation it has brought about in the real estate business today.  Dubbing technology a welcoming gesture, Kapoor spoke of how it makes touch-points in everyone’s lives, not just in urban but in rural areas as well. However, he said, “weak or erratic signals, poor power supply and inadequate bandwidth are some of the concern areas and there is an urgent need to upgrade infrastructure to make the best use of technology”.

Talking about REITs, the Gulshan Homz Director said no doubt “it was a wonderful thing but I would rather adopt a wait-and-watch approach”. He said REIT still needs to cross many hurdles but was confident that “once it comes, you’ll see phenomenal changes”.

Migsun Director Miglani talked of how technology has come handy for promoting business and said, “Our booking volumes have increased manifold with the specifically-designed apps for the customers”. Speaking on similar lines, the Signature Global chief Aggarwal said, “Reaching customers has become much faster with the help of technology” and reeled out sales figures to buttress his point.

 

  • The power-packed event, hosted by Realty & More, had a special significance this year as it coincided with the fifth anniversary of the magazine, a rare feat among realty-focused publications in the country.
  • UP Cabinet Minister SP Singh Baghel was the Chief Guest and senior BJP leader RP Singh Guest of Honour at the day-long meet, which had ‘IT/ITeS& Commercial Real Estate, The Changing Dynamics’ as the subject of discussions.
  • Senior executives of IPCs like Colliers International India, CBRE and Knight Frank who moderated or participated in panel discussions, not only made them lively, and fruitful, but a rare experience to take home with.
  • The success of R&M Podium-III was scribbled boldly at the lobby itself where participants started streaming in much before the appointed time. Chatting and interactions began right from the word go and soon the place was buzzing.
  • The anchor was ably assisted by Sahil Grover, who impressed everyone not only with his communication skills, but also his knowledge of the industry and familiarity with its major players.

 

Megha Mann of Colliers was of the view that perception about Noida was now changing and that should be good news for developers in the region. She said companies in Gurugram which want to expand are now looking at Noida and was convinced that “Noida will attract much more in the future”. Attributing the growth of Gurugram to its proximity to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Bhupendra Singh of C&W said with Jewar in the pipeline, Noida and Greater Noida can hope for a similargrowth story.

The panel discussions kept the audience so engrossed that none could realise it had well exceeded its scheduled one-hour slot. The audio-visual displays of various sponsors to R&M Podium came handy to provide the break they needed to get ready for the second round of discussions.

‘Leasing Transactions: Complexities and Nitty-gritties’ was the subject for the second  panel discussion which had Supriya Chatterjee, Senior Director, C&W, as its moderator. The composition of the panel was no less high-profile than the first one. Apart from industry veterans, Getamber Anand of ATS,Salil Kumar of Assotech and SJ Singh of Urbainia, it comprised Palash Ghosh of Quikr Realty and Sakshi Goel, Director and Head Retail – North, Advisory & Transaction Services, CBRE.

Assotech’s Salil Kumarset the tone for discussions by talking of complexities involved in closing a big deal. “Due diligence and handling of legal and financial issues coupled with volatile business requirements”, he said, make the entire process very time-consuming. Moreover, said Kumar, the decision-making process in large organisations is very slow and the developer has to be well-prepared for such complexities. He also wanted the developer community to mull whether standardising lease clause could be of help to the industry.

Geetamber Anand was of the opinion that rent is a miniscule part of large corporates or IT companies’ budget but “we have to give them something different”. He said as developers “we must keep in mind the ‘cutting-edge’, and that is going to come from energy-saving and cost-maintenance.” Referring to ATS’ upcoming project, which will be a two-million sqft commercial development near Mahamaya flyover, he said “it will have that cutting-edge and it will be different from what’s available in the market”.

The implementation of RERA was brought up by Urabainia’s Sodhi, who said, the Act has “given us an identity”. Talking of various positives of RERA, Sodhi said, “Slowly it is going to evolve into a very good Act and help the industry in a big way in developing confident relationship with the customers”. On co-working, he said, it is already catching up in India “now we are now looking at co-living”.

In his interjection during the debate, Quikr Realty’s Ghosh said even small lease transactions take time. “Every day is a challenge”, he said, adding sometimes even the payment of electricity bill becomes a contentious issue while closing a transaction”. The clients invariably have “unreasonable demands” which become difficult to meet for the developer, he added.

The third and final panel discussion of the day had ‘Landlords/Developers: Building Design for Large IT/ITeS Occupiers’ as the topic and to moderate it, R&M Podium had brought in Rajat Chhabra, Director (Project & Development Services), Cushman & Wakefield. NeerajGulati, MD of Assotech Realty, was the most prominent developer as its participant besides Khair Ull Nissa, ED, World Trade Centre, New Delhi, and Vishal Ahuja, Senior Associate Director, CBRE.

Gulati kick-started the discussion by speaking of Assotech Business Cresterra, the IT park which his company had created and of which R&M Podium’s ongoing venue Sandal Suites was part of. Saying rightly that “now we are an old hand”, Gulati said, “When you plan a complex like this, you have to see everything from parking to visitors’ access to every other minute detail”. Saying that requirements for all areas are different, he said, “One has to select all that at the planning stage”. Technology, he said, has to be “interactive as it is very intricate issue”. The Assotech MD concluded by saying that the location does play a part, specifically for the IT industries.

“One of the most important things we have done is to create WTC as temple of work”, said its ED Nissa. “On the principle of a temple we created the World Trade Centre”, she emphasised, adding that “scalability and adaptability” were the other features of their project.  CBRE’s Ahuja was of the view that that “commercial buildings should be flexible enough to incorporate changes as per demands of the time”.

The end of the discussions heralded the next and final phase of R&M Podium, which was, an opportunity for all the participants to relax, mingle and do the necessary networking. The atmosphere had been rightly created for that with a lavish spread of food and snacks and free flow of drinks. With bonhomie in the air and spirits soaring, came the closure of the third edition of R&M Podium that succeeded in offering food for thought, and palate, third time in a row.

SP Baghel, UP Minister: “Jevar (airport) will prove a zevar (ornament) for you (real estate industry)”.

RP Singh, Senior BJP Leader: “Some brokers and dealers entered the fray seeing the boom all around, and because of those non-serious players the sector lost trust of the consumers.

Deepak Kapoor, Director, Gulshan Homz: “Weak or erratic signals, poor power supply and inadequate bandwidth are some of the concern areas and there is an urgent need to upgrade infrastructure to make the best use of technology”.

Yash Miglani, Director, Migsun: “Our booking volumes have increased manifold with the specifically-designed apps for the customers”.

Ravi Aggarwal, Co-founder & MD, Signature Global: “Reaching customers has become much faster with the help of technology”.

Salil Kumar, Director, Assotech: “Due diligence and handling of legal and financial issues coupled with volatile business requirementsmake the entire process very time-consuming”.

Getamber Anand, CMD, ATS: “We have to give them something different…we must keep in mind the ‘cutting-edge’.

Sukhjot Singh Sodhi, CMD, Urbainia: “RERA has given us an identity…Slowly it is going to evolve into a very good Act and help the industry in a big way in developing confident relationship with the customers”.

Neeraj Gulati, MD, Assotech: “When you plan a complex like this, you have to see everything from parking to visitors’ access to every other minute detai…One has to select all that at the planning stage”.

Khair Ull Nissa, ED, World Trade Centre: “One of the most important things we have done is to create WTC as temple of work…On the principle of a temple we created the World Trade Centre”.