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Brief us about your current and upcoming projects.
Since 1995, Akshaya has 11.2 million sq-ft of real estate space, including ongoing and successfully delivered projects; of which 85% is in residential and 10% in office spaces. We are experimenting with premium villa plots, CBD zone big ticket luxury apartments in the heart of the city, the redevelopment of a landmark building as a JV project and are also scouting for opportunities in our stronghold OMR area as well as the new suburbs like Porur and beyond. Although this year the realty sector is slowly recovering from the slump experienced over the past two to three years, we are cautiously optimistic and testing out different project options. Our latest project is Earth with an overall 1.3 million sq-ft of plotted developments, out of which 4 lakh sq-ft is already sold out.
You operate across four cities in South India. How different are these markets and how do you handle their intricacies?
We have been operating in Chennai plus three other cities, which includes many projects launched in Coimbatore, Trichy and Salem. Out of the 156+ projects, we currently have four projects. In Coimbatore, Project Halton has been delivered and Orbit11 is in the final stage of completion, while Tiruchy Rich is in the developing stage and Hill Ville at Salem is in the approval stage.
Among your many pioneering projects is the tallest tower of Tamil Nadu, ABOV, which will stand at 132m. Tell us more about the project.
Akshaya’s ABOV is a stunning landmark construction as the tallest tower of Tamil Nadu. ABOV stands in about 1.66 acres of land with a 433ft height. ABOV is an Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) pre-certified platinum building and also CRISIL 5 star-rated. The only building to have 31 homes with 32 swimming pools in this part of the world, this tower will also set a record for being the tallest residential tower in the state to house one house per floor with 6,700 sq-ft single plate homes having a 3600 view. The property has many firsts to its credit and will be a benchmark project for Tamil Nadu.
What are some of the advanced construction technologies you adopt while executing your projects?
We are living in one of the fastest growing economies in the world, we ought to be technically sound. Akshaya is empowered with the latest technology for innovations and creating sustainable production throughout its band. We work with different partners across the globe to create great energy saving and light-weight materials and sensor-led technology products. It is obvious; we work on Project Management software to facilitate effortless implementation of the jobs make it possible to economise cost and ensure quality of construction.
Akshaya has joined hands with the IGBC in an effort to only build green buildings. What kind of sustainable construction methods, solutions or products do you use in your buildings?
All of Akshaya’s projects are green buildings. We are known as a ‘Go Green’ company, and are committed to build only green projects, which includes developing sustainable, energy efficient and water saving homes; reflecting the uncompromising attitude and transparency and integrity in all our transactions.
For example, glass, which is one of the popular choices in green construction today, are increasingly introduced in our commercial and residential projects for interior solutions, lawns, balconies, windows to improve sunlight and save energy. We use green solutions, which pave the way for the greater and healthier life of a building and also add a refreshing change to the architectural designs.
In addition to this, we are staunch about making family-friendly homes, covering kids/physically challenged and elder friendliness. These are some of the features that differentiate Akshaya from others.
You have introduced the ‘Akshaya Home Facts’ book to enlighten customers on the nuances of home buying. Please tell us more about this venture.
“Informed customers are never a threat to any business. In fact, they would turn out to be the biggest brand ambassadors”. We initiated this movement in 2001 by publishing a 25-point booklet called Akshaya Home Facts, which today is a 50-pointer on consumer awareness through which the customers are educated on all the nuances involved in purchase of real estate property. The Akshaya Home Facts book contains information on all the possible rights of a customer and helps him make a considered purchase decision. As of now, about six lakh plus booklets have been distributed.
Is there value in the concept of selling spaces online?
It is an interesting channel. Online has grown from just listings to carrying details on realty projects to showcasing actual site pictures; now the transaction bit is getting traction. But for big ticket items like buying properties, the online transaction is not that simple. While the current target driven model can help attract potential customers, we feel that the actual conversion and sale will happen over a face-to-face engagement. For us online is a great channel to build a strong and healthy pipeline of potentials and to funnel along more project enquiries that can help us convert them to a lot more sales.
The Smart Cities initiative is gaining prominence. How do you see yourself contributing to this venture?
The Smart Cities initiative is one of the most applaudable efforts of the government. The inclusion of slum rehabilitation, smart street and walkway plans, integrated commuting tracks, and seamless mobility planning, gives it a broader appeal, especially if the current existing city infrastructure needs to be upgraded into smart cities. But a Smart City is not about just ICT or cutting edge technology. Civic, residential and social infrastructure demands need to be planned, as these are causes of major hiccups of development. Urban centres in India have always grown organically and not in a planned way; as developers we can ensure a world-class living space inside the compound walls of our projects, while the civic bodies need to take up an ‘uncompromised’ attitude to putting out world-class residential, civic and social infrastructure as part of their plans, which has a long way to go.