Ramesh Nair of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) India elaborates on how Bandra-Kurla Complex; the commercial hub is also becoming a centre for consulates of different countries.
Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) is now one of the most strategic commercial and residential real estate locations in Mumbai - and, in fact, in the country. This extremely valuable location has gone from strength to strength ever since it was reclaimed from useless marshlands hemmed in by Bandra in the West, Kurla in the East and Santacruz in the North.
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In fact, Bandra Kurla Complex is one of the most amazing feats of reclamation urban renewal in the history of Indian real estate. This is not an insignificant claim for a city which itself was shaped from seven islands by the Hornby Vellard project in 1845.
Apart from its tactical importance to Mumbai's most prominent corporates, who adopted it as an idea alternate CBD location and shaped its imposing silhouette with glittering, ultra-modern office complexes, BKC has also emerged as the most preferred destination for foreign Consulates and trade offices.
It is already home to the US Consulate, the British High Commission and the consulates of Australia and New Zealand. And the trend is spreading.
Over the last twelve months, the consulates of Belgium, Sweden and France have also taken up spaces in Mumbai's showcase commercial/residential location. This is in line with the increasing inclination of Mumbai's embassies and consulates to shift to more convenient locations.
Currently, a number of other consulates continue to operate from residential villas on Napean Sea Road and at Malabar Hill. These locations, though inherently high-profile on the Mumbai real estate landscape, do not offer the kinds of buildings which suit the precise needs of these establishments.
It will be interesting for serious real estate observers to track the relocation trend, which will doubtlessly cause more and more of the city's consulates to find more suitable operating bases in the future. Consulates have specific requirements for the office spaces they opt for:
• High standards of fire safety and security, with at least two exits from the floor and preferably one of the fire exits providing direct access from the unit
• The premises should be at least 10 metres above the ground
• High-visibility buildings, with ease of access and robust utility provision
• The shafts within the building should be suitably secured to prevent unauthorized access
Key Drivers for BKC’s Increasing Popularity With Consulates
• Excellent infrastructure and regulated traffic
• Proximity to domestic and international airports and the Western and Eastern Highways
• Proximity to high-end residential areas such as Bandra and the presence of Dhirubhai Ambani International School and The American School of Bombay
• The presence of the MCA Club and the Trident and Sofitel Hotels
• Hygienic surroundings, ample green cover and open spaces (unlike many old projects in other locations in Mumbai)
Finally, and very significantly, the newer commercial projects in BKC offer modern amenities and better car parking ratios. Commercial office projects such as TCG Financial Centre, Maker Max City and Capital are among the most sought-after destinations for consulates, given the availability of smaller unit sizes, the high standards of building maintenance, better safety and security features, high-quality finishes and energy efficient buildings.