The Telegraph
Monday , August 11 , 2014
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Boat bling with home

Swimming pool. Check.

Jogging track. Check.

Club. Check.

Yacht. What!?

Real estate in Calcutta has notched up a first in facilities: a yacht to be anchored in the Hooghly exclusively for residents of a super-premium housing complex coming up on the Bypass.

Forum Projects, which is building the landmark Atmosphere complex, is getting a Prestige 500 yacht worth around Rs 8.5 crore shipped from France as a gift to its customers ahead of the festive season starting next month.

Developer Rahul Saraf was apparently thousands of feet above sea level when he hit upon the idea that might launch a thousand fantasies.

“I was flying to Mumbai four-five months back with my son when we first thought about it. Atmosphere will represent a lifestyle. We were thinking how to take that lifestyle outside the four walls of the building. A yacht can provide that,” Rahul, the man behind Calcutta’s first mall, Forum.

The 15.2-metre Prestige 500 yacht built by French company Beneteau has three cabins, a deck and flybridge that can comfortably host a party for 25. The waters of the Hooghly may not be ideal to stretch its engine but the sailing boat can hit up to 29 knots (about 54 kmph) in the ocean.

The yacht, mounted on a vessel, will set sail from Nantes this week and is expected to arrive in Calcutta by the last week of September. It will be the second such yacht in the city after the one owned by The Park.

The plan is to anchor the Prestige 500 at the private jetty of a jute mill in Howrah before one is built for it nearer to the city, according to Samir Prasad of Marine Solutions, which deals in yachts.

The yacht will have a permanent three-member crew, including a captain.

Anyone who owns one or more of the 80 apartments at Atmosphere will be entitled to use the yacht even before they get possession of their “home in the cloud”. The price of a cruise could be around Rs 10,000 an hour, sources said.

The recurring cost is estimated to be Rs 1.75 lakh a month, including the salaries of crew and general maintenance. Saraf said his company was yet to finalise what residents of Atmosphere would need to pay to charter the yacht and maintain it.

Mudassir Zaidi, national director (residential) of international property consultancy Knight Frank, said the concept of a luxury yacht as an add-on was unique in the Indian context. “Developers are coming up with different ideas to make their projects stand out in the crowd. But I hadn’t heard of a yacht being offered as a part of any project. It is definitely a first for India.”

According to Saraf, choosing something to add to Atmosphere is like “selecting a gift for a rich friend who possibly has everything money can buy”.

The closest anyone has come to offering a comparable or costlier add-on includes a Delhi developer’s promise of free stay in a star hotel till the time of possession and a Mumbai realtor’s offer of a Rolls Royce Silver Ghost for the use of residents of a super-premium project there.

The Delhi property is located in Noida, with flats between 3,000 and 8,000sq ft priced in the range of Rs 3.45-9.48 crore. The interiors are by Tonino Lamborghini Casa, Italy. The Mumbai project, in Lower Parel, has three and four-BHK flats priced between Rs 7.5 and Rs 50 crore with interiors by Armani Casa.

Calcutta’s Atmosphere has been envisioned as a twin-tower structure joined by Deya, a floating cloud of concrete meant to house a restaurant, jogging track, lounge, meeting room and a golf course. Prices of apartments start at Rs 10 crore and go up to Rs 18 crore.

The units will be offered for fit-outs within a year and the owners can move in around nine months after that, sources said.

So is the yacht a sop to speed up apartment sales in Atmosphere?

Saraf said he was confident of selling all 80 units and making money out of the project, running behind schedule by around three months. Apartments in Atmosphere are being sold at a premium of 20-25 per cent over high-end projects on Bypass. “We could have done this project elsewhere and made a fast buck. But I decided to build Atmosphere in Calcutta,” Saraf said.

In Calcutta, luxury is defined by location and that decides the pricing too. Saraf said that by buying a yacht, he was trying to “create luxury” even though the location wasn’t Alipore or Ballygunge.