In late 2012, Mumbai-based Lodha Developers shocked the street by buying a 17.5 acre land parcel in Worli from DLF for a jaw dropping Rs 2,700 crore. And in January this year, the company decided to monetize that land parcel by launching towers code name Blue Moon. The pre-launch of that project saw 1,000 buyers rushing in with their applications just over three hours.
The rush can be explained on account of competitively priced, smaller apartments at approximately Rs 28,000/sqft, Blue Moon’s pricing was 40 percent lower than other projects in and around the Worli area.
Lodha has now unveiled its plans for the entire 17.5 acres and also roped in Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as brand ambassador. The project is called The Park and its USP as the name would suggest is a private park. Seven acres for the residents and that is a first for Mumbai. Entailing a total investment of over Rs 5000 crore, The Park will have an undisclosed number of towers around the green belt, it will also have a cricket ground, golf, tennis, a pet walk and an organic farm.
Abhisheck Lodha, MD, Lodha Group, says: "Inspired by places like Central Park in New York or Hyde or Regents Park in London where the best real estate is always located around these vast green spaces, the Lodha Group brings to Mumbai The Park which is a vast seven acre public green space, which can be enjoyed by the residents of various developments which will come around it."
It will be an unique experience for Mumbaikars because the city really lacks public spaces. The development will be done in a number of different buildings by various designers and brands over time. The first two buildings were launched under the code name Blue Moon in January 2013, which received superb response with over 5,500 crore of applications and those two towers were sold out. Now we have launched the overall concept of having this large green public space as the center point of the development and we will be launching different buildings, bungalows, town houses, retail over time.
Below is the verbatim transcript of Abhisheck Lodha's interview on CNBC-TV18
Q: You had priced Blue Moon at The Park so aggressively at a 40 percent discount to the market rate. Will the new towers coming up around this 7 acre park also be priced that competitively?
A: We were pleasantly surprised with the response to Blue Moon which was two of the towers around the park and they were completely sold out at the pre-launch when we received over 5,500 crore of applications. The average pricing there was a little over Rs 28,000/sq ft. As we launch the different towers as I said there will be different designers, different brands involved with each one of them and hence the pricing will differ. But we do expect that the pricing will be substantially higher than what was available at the Blue Moon pre-launch.
Q: Brokers have been in touch with me and are talking of a new launch at The Park, they call it the Gold Moon and claim it is an ultra luxury project and that the starting price is Rs 6.5 crore for a 3BHK. Can you confirm that pricing for us?
A: At this point I would not want to comment on Gold Moon except for the fact that it is a very up-market luxury product which is also going to come up around The Park.
Q: But since you are not denying the pricing I am going to assume that the brokers are right. I have also heard of the concept of by invitation only but I understand you are taking it to another level altogether. Brokers say to even receive a brochure of the Gold Moon forget seeing the sample flat one actually has to fill out approval forms first, is that correct?
A: Yes, the process is on, we were very selective in our invitations for Gold Moon. Obviously it follows on a very successful response to Blue Moon that we have now launched to a very select audience the invitations to preview Gold Moon and then we will take it from there.
Q: So clearly Gold Moon is very luxurious, very expensive and for very select buyers. Now we know you have been trying to rope in Donald Trump for a project, is that for the Gold Moon.
A: We have nothing to comment on our relationship with Trump organization on any potential project. We are very respectful of their brand and we believe they are truly a great real estate brand and we hope that at some time in the future we will be able to do a project jointly with them.
Q: So you will neither confirm nor deny that Donald Trump may be onboard for the Gold Moon. But once again for the benefit of our viewers who might be planning investments etc, can you confirm the basic pricing of Rs 6.5 crore a flat at the Gold Moon?
A: At this time, pricing is fairly transparent to those who have been offered and it is in our opinion a truly unique opportunity to invest and buy into what will be probably the most attractive and the most high-end building around this magnificent Park.
Q: How many towers will come up ultimately at The Park?
A: It is a master plan community, so the number of towers will be decided over time. Currently, four towers are under construction, of which two were sold out at the time of the Blue Moon pre-launch.
Q: You had shocked the street when you bought the land parcel from DLF for Rs 2,700 crore. How is the math working out? Will you make a healthy profit?
A: We do believe that the math is fairly simple on this one. We paid Rs 2,700 crore, got Rs 5,500 crore of applications just at the pre-launch, so, I think it has been a fairly successful investment. We expect topline to exceed Rs 18,000 crore. So, the math is fairly straightforward.
Q: Why exactly do you have Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as a brand ambassador for The Park? Do you really think people are going to buy houses here just because she is endorsing it?
A: The Park is a truly global offering. It offers the best in class to people across the globe and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is someone who we find as a very good fit as a brand ambassador. She is not only a brand ambassador but has also invested in The Park. We feel that someone who has put her own investment in, shows her level of confidence in the development.
Q: You had announced World One nearly three years ago – it is suppose to be the world’s tallest residential tower at 117 storey - how is it progressing? Which floor have you reached the construction?
A: World One is progressing rapidly and as scheduled we are up on the 30th floor.
Q: How are World One prices doing and is it totally sold out?
A: World One prices are around Rs 45,000 per sq feet. We have select inventory available of some sky villas in the development.
Q: I want to get your thoughts on the Mumbai property market – would you agree with others that it is very depressed?
A: I think Mumbai market is behaving similar to other markets in India whether Bangalore or NCR wherein those with credibility are doing fairly well. So, you have developers in Bangalore who are doing well. You have some launches by new developers in Delhi who have done quite well. It is the same story in Mumbai. The sales continue to remain strong. Overall the economic conditions do exert a downward pressure on the market.
Q: I had a lot of developers on the show admitting to Mumbai’s market being very subdued and sales being very slow – are you then saying Lodha is not facing that problem?
A: We sold Rs 8,700 crore of net sales last year which is by far the largest, highest in the country. The next highest was a little less than Rs 4,000 crore and we are on track to better that this year so we have had very strong sales and continues to receive very good demand.
Q: Do you think with The Park and the World One you are too exposed to the Lower Parel and Worli markets?
A: We have 30 projects all across Mumbai. Projects in Lower Parel and Worli may get more of your attention and that is good, but we are fairly comfortable with our portfolio.