- Amarjit Bakshi, Founder & Managing Director, Central Park
With over 10.9 million sq ft of existing development and another 65 million sq ft planned in projects spanning leisure, recreation, commercial and upscale residential developments is Gurgaon-based Central Park. What´s more, the company is steadily increasing its hospitality asset portfolio with an operating five-star hotel with Accor-Pullman in Gurgaon, and an under-construction Starwood hotel in Aero City. Known for its commitment to quality development, rigorous site planning, expert construction management and creative promotional schemes, Central Park projects are assisted by an international team of consultants to provide world-class amenities. Its committed team is led by Amarjit Bakshi, Founder & Managing Director, Central Park who believes, ¨Ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things.¨ He elaborates upon the company´s experience and projects.
Introduce us to the Central Park project.
Central Park, a 50-acre project, is the biggest group housing project in Gurgaon. The project comprises six phases, with Phase-I already completed and operational. We have also introduced housing for the economically weaker section with 300 apartments. Moreover, considering the government´s effort to promote smart cities, we have included features like solar panels, zero emission on the ground, 100-per-cent rainwater harvesting, composting and recycling of water and sewage treatment plant in our real-estate properties.
As a builder, how do you strategise to overcome obstacles such as delay in project competition?
Precautions taken by builders can avoid such unnecessary hurdles. But investors often do not pay their dues on time, delaying financial transactions and funding for construction, which leads to time overruns. We overcome this problem by simply returning the money invested by the client in our project if they fail to pay the stipulated amount in the mentioned timeframe. Replacing such clients prevents shortage of finances, thus helping in consistent money flow.
How much do you invest in creating a brand?
We invest crores of rupees in marketing strategies. However, we do not believe in promoting our projects by associating with international companies or personalities. Quality of the product matters rather than any such secondary associations.
Of the various sectors in your ambit, which one at present gives you maximum RoI? And which has potential for growth?
Maximum RoI is provided by infrastructure highway construction projects - where we have established our footprint as well - followed by industries, real estate and hospitality. Looking forward, every sector has potential for growth with highways and automotive topping the list. With regards to the real-estate sector, high-quality affordable housing will see potential growth. In the next five to six years, hospitality is also expected to flourish.
Having established your footprint in NCR, do you plan to foray into other cities as well?
At present, we do not plan to foray into other cities or states for real estate, as there is still a lot of potential to tap in NCR. However, we certainly look forward to entering the affordable housing sector in various cities across India. It has been observed that companies that step out of their area of concentration generally end up incurring loss. Hence, it is our conscious decision to keep our foothold only in NCR.
What landmark technologies and construction materials do you source for your projects?
We use precast technologies with a factory at site, on the lines of automobile construction. The biggest benefit of such a facility is controlled quality, cost and time period, reducing delay. Our investment in various technologies and construction materials is Rs 20 crore to Rs 50 crore. The cost of construction equipment on one site is Rs 25 crore. We own the construction equipment, and it is generally rented out only during a shortage. This includes batch mix blast, tower cranes, dippers, etc. The company´s current plant and machinery are worth Rs 2,000 crore for highway construction, while the equipment bank for real-estate construction is Rs 100 crore.
What funding model do you follow for your projects?
Funding is basically through internal resources, internal accruals, receipts from sale proceeds and bank funding for bridging gaps.
What is your view on rising construction material prices? How do these affect your operations and the ultimate sale prices?
Construction material prices will continue to rise. Real-estate players should not get alarmed by this. Having said that, house construction in India is the cheapest in the world. We have an inflation clause linked with the RBI index that is limited to 5 per cent of the Basic Selling Price (BSP). All these strategies help deal with rising prices.
Any upcoming projects?
We are coming up with a large SEZ project in Noida, three hotel projects in Goa, a 500-acre Central Park-III project and Palm Houses Complex in Delhi.
Ongoing projects: Central Park II (Belgravia and The Room)
Upcoming Projects: Central Park III (Integrated Township)
completed projects: Central Park I