- Iqbal Jumabhoy, Joint Promoter, Raffles Residency
Over the past 50 years, the Jumabhoy family, promoters of Raffles Residency have developed processes and policies to ensure high-quality products with meticulous focus on detailing, thereby fulfilling its commitments to customers. Indeed, over the years, the company has developed an astute understanding of their requirements. It has focused on the quality of design, looking not only at aesthetics but the way people live, as well as materials, fixtures and fittings, landscaping, and privacy while being part of a community, among other aspects. Iqbal Jumabhoy, Joint Promoter, Raffles Residency, shares more on the company''s journey and projects with CW.
Raffles Residency comes with the heritage of Scotts Holdings, which played a significant role in shaping the real-estate landscape of Singapore. How are you implementing your Singapore expertise in your project in India?
Raffles Residency is a journey taken to return home, back to our roots. Today, there are plenty of magnificent luxury homes available, but with this development, we would like to delight our customers with a unique experience that will epitomise quality bespoke living. The Jumabhoy family has been integral to the development of Singapore. We have been in the property development industry for nearly five decades. In these 50 years, we have learnt a lot about the industry, with many hard experiences - and what better place to learn it than Singapore! Singapore is recognised for its quality of construction, detailing, ethical practices, landscaping, cleanliness and no compromise on quality.
After the new policies of the government, do you feel that there will be changes in the construction industry?
Change is constant and change is good; it is a good checkpoint to see how one is functioning and how we can better the process. RERA is one such thing that will bring in the much-needed transparency, discipline and credibility to the industry. There will be, of course, challenges during the settling-in period and improvements to the details. In our view, in the long run, it is an initiative in the right direction. Similarly, in the case of GST, we believe it will bring in transparency and create a level playing field across developers and all states within India.
Tell us about your project, Raffles Park in Bengaluru, which is first-of-its-kind in India''s residential space.
Raffles Park encapsulates the sense of "Homes within a Garden'', with perhaps the lowest density in India with just four villas per acre and 81 per cent of open area in a villa development. With global standards in project execution and contemporary innovative design, which connects with nature, we launched the project two years ago. It is currently on schedule with a stunning show villa that promises to captivate the visitor, with its attention to detail and high-quality delivery. The 61 five-bedroom villa development is spread across 15 acre and targets the premium living space segment. Contemporary or urban design has been blended with ancient Indian architecture that has courtyards, water bodies and skylights, bringing alive the experience of true living with nature both inside and outside the home.
This is an exciting project for us in many ways and we aim to set new benchmarks of design and quality, along with a differentiated bespoke lifestyle in property development in India. Raffles Park is the essence of two garden cities coming together, blending Singapore''s contemporary tropical design with Bengaluru's love for green spaces. Our brief to the designers was that each home must reflect the homeowner''s personality and the family''s lifestyle. When this project was envisaged, we were clear that this should be a garden enclave that would bring in the exclusivity quotient "Open Privacy'' to perfection, with all the little embellishments of design brilliance. Therefore, it provides the elements and the backdrop for the personal life and taste of the resident.
How do you plan and strategise to buy a huge land bank (Raffles Park is spread across a 15-acre land parcel)?
We were early in our view that Bengaluru was a special city. We were early entrants and when we were investing in ITPB in Bengaluru, my father, with a vision of Whitefield as a promising neighbourhood, bought this piece of land. As we had this piece of land and a team of real-estate experts already in the city in another entity I had founded, it was a natural choice to develop this land into Raffles Park. With the success of Raffles Park, we have now been approached by a number of landowners to partner with us to create developments similar to this development.
Tell us about a recent innovation in construction technologies or materials used in Raffles Park.
What are the funding-related and other challenges you face and how do you strategise to overcome them?
Our initial investment was made via promoter funds and we have not used debt in this project to any significant degree.
With a unique and innovative product, we have been able to sell ahead of our construction outlay and, so far, we have been able to manage our cash flows with internal accruals. Having said that, when we approached the leading financial institutions for construction funding before our launch, we were turned down by most of them citing the reason that this was our first project in India and one would only fund a developer with a portfolio, despite the fact that many of the team, myself included, have developed other projects in India previously. To our pleasant surprise, the largest financial institution in India, State Bank of India, believed in us and came forward to support us by extending a line of credit.
What are your growth prospects for India in future?
Our performance is as planned and we are on track to complete the project as envisaged. We believe in organic growth and, hence, align our business plans accordingly. You should see more of us within Bengaluru in a three-year horizon and perhaps in a couple of other cities within a five-year horizon.
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