Regulator will differentiate men from the boys: Pacific Group ED

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Mr Abhishek Bansal, Executive Director, Pacific Group for your reference and use.Pacific Group, the company behind sprawling Pacific Malls in West Delhi and Ghaziabad, is in fact a diversified group with interests in real estate, hospitality and education sectors. The group is doing remarkably well in its residential projects, especially in the hilly region of Dehradun.

In an exclusive chat with Realty & More, Pacific Group Executive Director, Abhishek Bansal says his strategy is speedy construction and timely delivery. Bansal is upbeat on commercial and retail markets and is also ecstatic about the proposed realty regulator.

R&M: What all are the projects on which you are working?

Abhishek Bansal: Currently we are doing three projects which are under construction – one is Pacific Golf Estate in Dehradun, which is a golf loving community, it has a nine-hole golf course and about 1800 apartments around it. The second project is also in Dehradun and it is called Pacific Hills. This project is almost near completion, where we have handed over the first phase of about 100 apartments and the balance 250 would be handed over in next three to four months. The third ongoing project is in Moradabad which is called Pacific Star Homes, that’s about 200 apartments and it should be ready for delivery by December this year.

Pacific Golf Estate, DehradunR&M:You are more known for your commercial projects rather than residential. Now that you have three ongoing residential projects, how do you find the residential segment?

Abhishek Bansal: Actually before we did shopping centres, we used to do residential. Of course the scale of residential has changed in the last 10-15 years. So the experience of residential is there, but yes most of our branding came in from the shopping centres we did. So residential is not a new avenue for us, but yes we have done a lot of commercial in the last 10 years. Having said that residential is a great vertical to be in, and we are getting very good response in all the three projects. In fact Moradabad we started about a year ago, and we have already sold 25 to 30 per cent stock there. Also, in Pacific Hills, which is to be delivered in the next four-five months, we have sold more than 70-75 per cent of the stock, and Golf Estate which we have started year and a half ago, there we have already touched 25 per cent bookings. So, overall the response is great and we are enjoying that vertical as well.

pacific hills (2)R&M: Where do you see more potential – residential or commercial?

Abhishek Bansal:I think the potential is in both depending on what kind of project that you do. For example affordable housing in very hot, so if somebody gets a good project in that segment, it sells very well. The mid-priced residential market is a bit slow for now, but I think that’s cyclical and by the end of the year we will see movement there as well. On the commercial side, we have seen some good movement in the last three months, and we hope that this offtake will move further in the next three to six months, office requirements is getting better, retail requirement is at all-time high, all our shopping centres are fully occupied, and the demand for new shopping centres from retailers are also pretty high.

R&M: What is your take on the regulatory Bill passed by Parliament recently?

Abhishek Bansal: I think everyone was waiting for this for a very long time. It will bring the industry under one umbrella and under a controlled environment. I think for developers like us, we have been working for 30-odd years, and we have seen how the developers who have trying to deliver quality, were not recognized the way they should have been. I think this Bill will differentiate men from the boys, and people will clearly see who is here for the long haul. It will be clearer to the consumer, where they should be invested, which is a great sign for the industry.

Pacific Hills, DehradunR&M: Are you content with the present form of the regulator?

Abhishek Bansal: In the beginning there will be lot of questions as to how things will happen. But I think it is good start, and there will be clarifications year on year, or whenever there is any kind of confusion that comes in, and I think that’s with any policy, any new policy that comes up. It’s a good start and if there be need be some changes from the developers side or from the consumers side, I think those changes are more fine-tuning which will keep happen.

R&M: What are your plans ahead – any new launches in commercial or residential?

Abhishek Bansal: We have enough on our plate in terms of residential, so right now we are looking at delivering those projects. We are scouting for new retail- oriented and commercial projects in some new markets.

R&M: And which are these new markets you are looking at?

Abhishek Bansal: We are looking at Gurgaon as a market, because I think the commercial off take in Gurgaon is really good, and to some extent Gurgaon is low on retail offerings, so we are looking at that market.

pacific hillsR&M: Isn’t Gurgaon a saturated market?

Abhishek Bansal: Not actually. The office requirement in Gurgaon is increasing year on year, more and more new companies are moving there, and even if I look at organised retail, I would say there is not much. There are in bits and pieces, but not substantial, may be one Ambience Mall which is of substance.

R&M: What is the kind of land bank you are having?

Abhishek Bansal: We do not have much land bank, because we believe in buying the land and getting construction done immediately. We clearly identify ourselves as developers and not landowners, as I believe owning land or collecting land is a very different skill set from developing land, and our USP has always been delivery, so wherever the market is right, we go and buy land at right price, and build and deliver, which has been our strategy.