| CREATIVE BACKUP: Kapil Dev conducts an interactive session with children of Udita, a residential complex on the EM Bypass. A Telegraph picture
Odissi and piano concertos, painting and dramatics, yoga and meditation, French and German…
Comfort living is not just about temperature-controlled swimming pools or state-of-the-art fire-fighting and electronic-surveillance equipment any more. As large-format housing complexes with hundreds of apartments jostle for spire space in the city skyline, add-ons like club with gym, jogging track, outdoor and indoor games and home theatre are gradually becoming ‘standard fittings’ — features the home-seeker has almost come to take for granted.
The home-plus basket of amenities and facilities championed by landmark developments like Udayan — The Condoville, Club Town, Space Town, Hiland Park and Lake District is still a major draw with buyers. Yet, more and more developers in Calcutta have started believing that in the intensely competitive market scenario, this won't be enough to drive sales in future.
“There is a limit to providing infrastructure facilities, which can be called ‘hardware’in housing industry parlance. Now, the time has come when we must strive towards providing value-added services through intellectual inputs or ‘software’,” says Pradip Chopra, honorary secretary, CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India)-Bengal.
Chopra’s PS Group has formed a consortium with Heritage Realty Group and Sreejan Group to launch Sherwood Estate, on the city's south-eastern fringes, which promises to address such software needs “comprehensively for the first time”. Apart from an in-house medical centre with dedicated pharmacy, diagnostics and ambulance, the housing complex will look after “holistic development” of residents’ children through lessons in foreign languages, painting, classical dance forms and music.
Piyush Bhagat of Silver Spring agrees intellectual inputs will be the way forward in residential real estate development. “Without proper software, what’s the use of hardware' Developers of contemporary housing projects ought to create excellent backup in the realms of creative pursuits, which will always influence sales in this city and lead to better time management among residents," he observes.
The high-profile housing complex coming up on the Bypass next to ITC Sonar Bangla will offer yoga and meditation courses, besides lessons in dramatics and a host of fine arts. Projects like these are tying up with faculties drawn from institutions like the National School of Drama, Visva-Bharati University, Calcutta School of Music, Alliance Francaise, Max Mueller Bhavan…
“It's a very encouraging sign that city developers are finally waking up to such software requirements of residents in all three segments — luxury, necessities and emergency. For those moving into well-conceived large-format complexes, this would translate into total peace of mind in today’s hectic schedules,” says Pawan Agarwal of NK Realtors.