Post-covid, besides luxury of wellness, another success mantra is resilience and adaptability. How has Gulshan Group been following this mantra to stay stronger and on growth track?
One thing that we all learnt the hard way during the first wave of Covid pandemic was that all our work strategies had failed as construction workers had left for their native homes, construction sites and offices were closed and there was no automation or digital operations. So, we had to go back to the drawing board to figure out how do we get around this situation. And that lesson of going digital and developing resilience and adaptability, has given us much confidence that notwithstanding major disruptions, what we should focus on is to ensure the continuity of our projects and business operations which will take us to the next level. Covid also taught us to take good care of our stakeholders including labourers and employees. We dedicatedly catered to the food and hygiene needs of the construction workers. The net result was that our construction workers all the time remained at our project sites and our construction continued uninterrupted. We were reminded of the resilience mantra – just focus on completing your project, rest everything will fall in place.
Covid has also highlighted the necessity to adopt technology in real estate, be it construction technology or market technology. How well Gulshan has embraced technology, particularly for smart luxury homes?
We are highly adoptive to newer technologies and innovative things. We are using everything which is latest. We have used automation in a big way. We have specially developed a society app for Gulshan Dynasty. This is going to ease the overall functionality and the needs of all the residents. It is quite natural that there is always an internal resistance to new way of working. But we adopted a strategy to lead by example. We educated our staff about the benefits of digital technology through weekly online video interactions instead of doing physical meetings. And the result is that today this digital technology has trickled down in our system.
You have been talking of continuous focus on luxury housing and taking it to the next level. Can you tell us what is in store for Gulshan in 2022 on the luxury front?
Noida is a place where there is no delivery of luxury projects. And I think we will be the first to deliver Gulshan Dynasty, a unique luxury project. There are lot many people waiting for it. There is a lot of demand. And once people see it happening, the trust of the buyers comes back. The entire real estate industry is struggling on the delivery front. We are very proud that whatever project we had, we delivered it on time. So, we have a very good track record of delivery. And the speed at which Gulshan Dynasty is happening, it is going to be the fastest project to be completed in whole of Delhi-NCR. And with Gulshan Dynasty’s timely delivery, people will be waiting for our new projects. Infact, they want us to launch new luxury
projects. Already we have lined up new luxury projects at Jaypee Wish town for which we are getting lot of enquiries. Even if we launch our new luxury project today, we will be able to sell it fast. Such is the demand for this niche segment and such is the confidence of buyers in us.
You will be doing your new projects in joint collaboration with Jaypee Group. How did the idea of joint venture come and going forward, will you continue with this development strategy?
You see joint venture is a very good tool. Lot of developers get stuck with their projects because of the high debt. And land is very expensive these days. So, if you do not buy land and instead enter into a joint venture with a land owner including developer, your investment is negligible. So, it is a much better platform to deliver on time as you do not have pressure of servicing the debt and the landowner is also able to liquidate his land. In case one buys land to build project, the investment starts from day one and delayed sanctions further add to the interest burden on land cost which becomes a huge liability. So now, one has to ensure onething that whenever you start a new project, your financials should be in place. Financial closure is very important for any project. Joint ventures are a win-win for both the land owner and the developer and even beneficial for the customers as they get timely delivery and as such these are here to stay for long. Going forward, we will be doing more joint ventures, going light on debt to build more.
Green wellness homes are the new mantra these days. This has been in the DNA of Gulshan. Tell us about your group ‘s focus on such developments?
These days people settle for at the most gold ratings for green buildings. We believe that when you excel, you must target for the best. As such, we have gone for the platinum rating which no other project in Noida has got. We have decided that all our projects will be platinum rating green buildings. It costs a lot but helps in giving very sustainable projects. and the residents enjoy it for all their life.
Post- covid, because of their choice/preference for privacy and health safety, home buyers are increasingly going in for low-rise independent luxury floors. Will Gulshan be foraying into this high potential segment of plotted developments?
If the opportunity comes to us, we will definitely enter into low-rise developments. which have certain advantages. But right now, opportunities are not there in Noida. because of the FSI constraints. To justify the land price one has to use the whole FAR.That leaves the scope for only high rise buildings. Nevertheless, low-rise development is very much in our mind and we are waiting for the opportunity.
Going forward, what are your plans for business expansion at geographical, product and segment level?
We have always believed that we should do limited projects and restrict ourselves to one area and make a name for yourselves there. We chose Noida because I find it to be the best city to live as it is the most planned and organised city in India. And Noida has lot of opportunities. I can still see 10-15 years of work here. Talking about expansion into newer segments, we want to be into commercial real estate , education and hospitality. But right now our focus is on residential and will always be there on top of our list. We have already done a commercial project Gulshan 129 which has come up very well . We believe we have a calibre to deliver much better commercial projects We may soon do an IT Park. Warehousing is right now not on our radar but it may come later.
Gulshan has already done 4.5msft of developments so far and another 50000 sft is in the pipeline. What is your future growth vision?
I don’t think we are going to have a very large scale because we still feel that we have to have a firm control over the quality construction. And to give quality, we must have limitation in term of development. Earlier, we used to deliver may be three projects in six years but now we are doing six projects in as many years. What we have done is to speed up construction. So going forward, the number of projects will be more. And since we are doing luxury development, the volume is also bigger. So, the overall growth will be higher.
Where do you want to see Gulshan group in say 2030?
I won’t be talk about 2030. What I can tell you that whatever development we did last year, we will be doing the double of that this year. And in 2023, we will be doing the double of the developments in 2022. This much I can see. We are building up a very good team and with time I am going to get more confidence. And with this confidence, sky is the only limit. When I entered this business, I realized that there is no end to real estate development. You can just keep going on and on. And that is going to be our guiding mantra for the future growth.
1 When I entered this business, I realized there is no end to real estate development. You can just keep going on and on. And that is going to be our guiding mantra for the future growth.
2 The asset light model of joint ventures is the best platform to deliver on time. And we are following this model.