Floor space' Fine. View' From every room. Ambience' Cool. Distance from city centre' Comfortable. Fitness facilities and club ‘feel’' As good as it gets.
With millions of sleek-granite square feet jostling for the house-hunter’s nod, fitness facilities (from hi-tech gym to swimming pool to squash court) and a parallel club culture (from cinemas to hobby centres to fine dining) are proving to be the clinchers. And the revved-up realtor is on the ball to offer top-drawer stuff, often imported, to seal the deal in big-format housing in Calcutta. Thus, four-lane AMF bowling alley from the US, heated swimming pool from Barcelona, a virtual games arcade, rock-climbing from France, glass-backed rebound squash court, air-conditioned cricket pitch from Australia, synthetic tennis court from the US, hi-tech gym… have become the new USPs.
As young professionals and entrepreneurs make their mark, the home-seeker is getting younger and more demanding by the day. Reasons for seeking clubbing avenues at arm’s length from the apartment door range from the stay-fit fad, no-new-members signs at popular clubs, claustrophobic city schools, high stress levels to the lack of quality time spent with family and friends.
So, each housing club has its ‘feature-plus’ to flaunt. While it’s the heated swimming pool and the AC cricket pitch for Space Circle near the airport, The County in Hiland Park off the EM Bypass at the other end of town is all of 37,000 sq ft, with “international-standard” squash courts, a 4,170-sq-ft community hall-cum-badminton court and a rooftop five-lane swimming pool. “Clubs inside apartment complexes provide not just a fitness centre but also a platform for social communion,” says Sumit Dabriwala, managing director, Calcutta Metropolitan Group Limited, building Hiland Park. “With everything at your doorstep, families can spend more quality time together,” feels Harsh Neotia, managing director, Bengal Ambuja Housing Development Ltd, which has the Club De Ville inside Udita, off the Bypass, with synthetic tennis court, glass-flanked banquet hall and hi-tech fitness equipment.
Princeton, the 50,000-sq-ft club inside Merlin Residency, on Prince Anwar Shah Road, will boast a “unique hobby room” to host cultural workshops. Also waiting in the wings is the state-of-the-art club of South City, nearby. The gym is surely the focal point of the quintessential housing club. So, if it’s Life Fitness for Space, The County has equipment by Precor, both global leaders in the field.
Merlin Projects MD Sushil Mohta says: “With most city schools woefully short on sports infrastructure, clubs in housing complexes are a boon to children, and to their parents.” Another reason why the Space Circles and the Club De Villes have hit the bull’s eye is that city clubs are full and there is a growing demand among young professionals to bond. “We are trying to meet that demand with international-standard facilities and value-addition, like the heated pool and the 7,000-sq-ft skydrome,” says Raj Modi, director, Sanjeevani Group, developers of Space Circle.
And standalone health clubs welcome the trend. “Quality clubs inside residential complexes can only add to the awareness of feeling and looking good, and grow the market,” feels Ritika Kumar of Add Life, the health salon at 22 Camac Street.