The Winning Streak
BY jayashree kini-mendes
When a 200-odd year old business family, with core competency in shipping and related services, gets into the real estate business, it might seem like a natural extension of a business with varied interests. But what few know is that the Dubash family patriarch, Behram Dubash, had long been buying up land parcels as a kind of interest for several decades. The family has even developed about 15 to 20 residential buildings, mainly in South Mumbai. While the family’s focus on the shipping business has not ebbed, the scion, Tushad Dubash, director, Duville Estates, has garnered a new interest in developing real estate projects.
“Besides the numerous real estate developments in South Mumbai, we have also executed a large commercial centre in Andheri, so the real estate business is not new to us. It was with a foresight that my father acquired land, mainly as a passion, and it has continued to remain as land parcels for a long time,” says Tushad Dubash.
It was only about three years ago that Dubash thought of forming a real estate arm that would go on to develop the land parcels. Duville Estates was born. However, he says with a certainty and determination, that it was not just any development that he sought out to do. “As our first project, we swooped on a 31-acre parcel that we have owned for some years now in Kharadi, in eastern Pune. It seemed attractive to develop that as the entire stretch is now close to a booming IT hub. The land is situated on the Mula-Mutha river,” he adds.
The project, Riverdale, is designed for every homebuyer who seeks a singular architecture and smart interior finishes. The project comprises three distinct gated communities — Riverdale Grand, Riverdale Residences and Riverdale Heights — offering spacious 1-, 2-, 3-, 4- & 5-BHK apartments. For Dubash, this maiden venture into real estate is also a way to point out to homebuyers as to the nouveau kind of homes they can get for their hard earned money.
Starting from the bottom up
Considering that the Indian market is rife with developers who have ventured into real estate at the drop of a hat, Dubash wants to set himself apart from the others. He has created a team of people who, he insists, follow stringent parameters that he has outlined. In that line, he was certain that he would employ the best architect, contractor and project managers who can offer assurance of a home that allows its residents to be stress-free.
For starters, the company engaged Upton-Hansen Architects London, a firm of young architects who have worked with Norman Foster, and one that Dubash has also worked with in the past, for the master planning. “The project needed a unique design because of the shape and configuration of the plot. We have formed three clusters and each of these clusters have their own amenities with no crossover between any of them,” he adds.
Dubash is in no hurry. He is careful to pore over every aspect of development before work progresses. The entire development, he says, is not scheduled to fit into a year or two. He knows that he needs to get everything right now, so that it can only add to his reputation. Duville Estates plans to complete the 2.5 million sq-ft development over 5-6 years.
For its first development, Riverdale Heights, the developer hired Cushman & Wakefield to understand the needs of the buyers, so that it could incorporate that wishlist into the design and development. They learnt that home buyers would prefer an economical configuration with economical pricing. Dubash was keen to understand the market, and how it has evolved and whether they would be in a position to be able to meet that expectation. “So our 1-BHK apartments are 500 sq-ft carpet area and start from 47 lakhs, all inclusive. The four buildings with 2-BHK apartments are around 700 sq-ft, and come at a price tag of Rs 67-68 lakh, all inclusive. Maintaining the right price point was critical. We have tried to sophisticate the design, so that the end-result can do the talking,” says Dubash.
The towers are probably the tallest towers in this configuration. There are three levels of podium parking, a rare offering, for a project of this size. A groundbreaking strategy is the facade — the buildings have full glass facades, with no joints, beams, or columns. The project features a range of amenities, including a car-free landscaped podium, fully-equipped gym, swimming pool with separate childrens’ pool, play area for kids, a large clubhouse, jogging track and sports courts for tennis, football, basketball and cricket. The project has been pre-certified by IGBC as a gold-rated project and been approved by the Pune Municipal Corporation.
The podium is conventional, says Dubash, because it would be difficult to build any other way. The towers are being built with aluminium formwork, which offers an assurance of quality. “We’re conscious that we are catering to an aspirational buyer. It is for this reason that designs are standard across various categories of the towers, be it in terms of the expansiveness of the lobby or efficiently using up space or offering floor-to-ceiling glass windows,” he adds.
The recently launched, Riverdale Residences, available as 3-BHK apartments, faces the river. Dubash says that the locations are ideal for work commute too. The area is dotted with IT parks and across the river lies Magarpatta city, and further down is the Hadapsar IT area, and the entire development offers quick commute across nodal points of Pune.
In terms of development, Ananta Landwise, a real estate development firm headed by Milind Korde, functions as development managers. KIPA is the architect for the development and the contractor is Shapoorji Pallonji. Dubash says with a quiet pride that this is the first residential project in Pune that Shapoorji Pallonji is executing.
CQRA act as quality controllers and the PMC monitors the project construction. The company has created a hierarchical structure wherein the development manager manages the administration. and will liaise with the PMC.
Dubash believes in maintaining a transparent system and says that “our overall guiding principle is simple — have clear processes, which is a benefit of a tiered system. Once I have approved something, it is my job to ensure that it works out that way”. He has learnt that that as long as one follows norms of ethics, governance, and corporate responsibility, it only makes the work easier.
The contract with Shapoorji Pallonji is design and build, and the contractor works closely with them to see the efficiencies and design developments they can bring, not only in an cost efficient manner and without compromising on quality and deliverables, but ways to enhance it. Duville Estates also has an LSTK (tumpsum turnkey) and rate-based contract with Shapoorji Pallonji for the civil materials.