The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Homes for a crore and more

Video door phones, electronic access control in elevators, tucked-away double-height car porch, heated swimming pool, synthetic tennis court'

Boutique apartments, where the private persona of a cosy home is wrapped in the add-ons of a star hotel, are very much 'in' and Calcuttans are ready to dish out a crore and more to make it their own.

The one-crore barrier has been comfortably vaulted, and in the next 36 months, close to 300 lavishly-endowed apartments, each costing Rs 1 crore and above, are expected to be thrown open.

With the city's nascent buoyancy translating into living life king-size, real estate players in town are moving fast to meet the new demand for elegant living.

The same realtor stables that have launched high-profile highrises like Hiland Park, South City and Sherwood Estate, are lifting luxury living a notch higher, pampering the manor-born, from Ballygunge to Alipore.

Take Hiland Sapphire ' the 'clean-lines, pure-form, glass-fa'ade' G+14 project tucked away in a quiet corner of Ballygunge Park Road. Being developed by United Credit Belani Properties of Hiland Park fame, the prices of the 24 luxury apartments range between Rs 1.75 crore and 2.75 crore, with its extra floor-to-ceiling clearance, French windows and stately driveway.

'Earlier, Calcutta was not about conspicuous consumption. Now, the plot has been turned on its head and there are people sticking out their necks and asking for better than the best. It's all about how much you can rock this market,' offers Sumit Dabriwal, the man behind Sapphire along with Nandu Belani, a leading player in this creamy layer.

The Belani Group, which already has Belmont up and running in Alipore, is also raising La Palmerie at 23B Ballygunge Circular Road and another high-end condominium project at 6, Queens Park. Greenwoods on DL Khan Road, from the same realtor roster, has its customised apartments selling for Rs 1.5 to 2.5 crore.

'The aspiration levels were always higher than affordability. Now, there are products to match that desire,' feels Pradip Chopra of the PS Group. With Harsh Patodia of the Heritage Group, Chopra is developing Astral, another top-end project, on Gurusaday Road.

Jugal Khetawat, Sushil Mohta and Pradeep Sureka, three of the directors of the towering South City, are also developing an Alipore property of 40 opulent units, to be ready by mid-2007. Designed by J.P. Agrawal, the Rs 1 crore to Rs 2 crore apartments are expected to give the Ballygunge building blocks a serious run for their residents.

'There are hardly any land parcels going in the heart of the city. So, whatever is available, becomes premium property,' observes Khetawat, who is going solo with Rameswara, another 130,000 sq ft premium development on Elgin Road, close to Forum. Again, each apartment is over a crore.

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