Chennai ~ Senior living – the emerging market

Senior living – the emerging market


The desire among today’s senior population to lead an independent and productive life has translated into an opportunity for real estate developers.

India is currently witnessing a demographic shift, owing to a steady increase in life expectancy on the back of improved healthcare access. Consider the fact that our much touted ‘demographic dividend’, urban youth population, will reach a median age of about 29 years in less than a decade (according to UN-HABITAT), making us one of the youngest nations globally. Such benefits, however, come with their own realities including an equally large ageing population in the next few decades.

In recent years, there has also been an aspirational change in the mindset of senior citizens in general. There is an increasing desire among today’s senior population to lead a secure, independent and productive life after retirement. This growing trend has translated into an opportunity for real estate developers to provide residential products customised to the specific needs of the elderly in India.

Factors to be considered:

While the southern part of the country was one of the early adopters of the concept of senior living, we are witnessing projects coming up across several parts of the country in recent times.

With affordability being a key factor for end-users, developers of such projects need to keep construction costs as low as possible;

Hence projects need to be in the peripheral areas of cities where such large tracts of land are more affordable than locations near the city centre.

The perks:

To ensure that senior living projects are viable, amenities are a must in the project.

Projects need to have basic amenities including 24X7 power and water supply, 100 percent power back up, security, maintenance and housekeeping.

Other specialised offerings include, assisted care for the elderly and ailing, dedicated medical staff and tie-ups with surrounding hospitals, in-house healthcare offerings (medicine store, emergency response system, doctor on call, nurses, etc).

For connectivity and travel, transport facilities to and from surrounding social spaces (parks, malls and restaurants), recreational facilities, community rooms, concierge services for day-to-day requirements of the residents and so on.

While the finer details would vary from project to project, these are a few key amenities, which should be part of any senior living project in India.

Over the past two years, several regulatory reforms have brought about a change in the real estate sector in the India. Increasing transparency coupled with a changing consumer mindset has led to confidence returning in the market, and the emergence of alternate asset classes. Such assets are also garnering the interest of investors who can see the long-term benefits in the changed environment. While such new formats might see a comparatively slower pace of expansion vis-à-vis other formats such as Tech Parks and Logistics Parks, the growth of this sunrise segment is imminent in the longterm, given a sustained demand for the same from a large aging population in decades to come.

Anshuman Magazine, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Sholinganallur emerging as Chennai’s property hotspot

Sholinganallur, located on OMR (Old Mahabalipuram Road) in South Chennai, is one of the latest property hotspots of the city. With the shoreline close by, the beaches and also a lake, the proximity to the IT corridor, the commercial establishments and business and entertainment centres -all makes this self-contained suburb one of the most sought-after localities in the city.

It all started in the early 2000s, with the Tamil Nadu government establishing the IT corridor along the OMR. Various IT parks as well as dedicated SEZs came up, and today, the area houses major BPO and IT/ITES companies. The lure of living close to the workplace led IT professionals to this locality.

Demand for residences began increasing – both for end-use and investment – and residential options began springing up. The Tamil Nadu Housing Board has built a township of 4,000 houses here, with IT parks, arterial roads, schools, parks, and so on. Many private builders have developed properties offering various options – multi-storey apartments, single-floor apartments, independent houses, villas and plots.

The locality boasts of good social and physical infrastructure that makes life easy for its inhabitants – good schools, other educational institutions, hospitals, shopping centres, banks, restaurants, etc.  Besides, it is known to have good water supply and no electricity problem.

Sholinganallur, being a major junction, connects the ECR (East Coast Road) and the OMR to all the important places in the city. The eastern side of Sholinganallur is well connected through the ECR Link Road and the western side through the Velachery Main Road.

The four-laning of roads has eased traffic considerably and the arterial roads provide efficient connections to the nucleus of the city. The international airport is a 45-minute drive and the railway station is 90 minutes away.  Roads are wide and public transport to and fro is good, comprising buses, taxis and auto-rickshaws.

Some of the prominent builders in the area are ASV Constructions, Adroit Urban Developers Pvt Ltd, Baashyaam Constructions Pvt Ltd, Deccan Estates, Lancor Holdings Ltd, Ceebros Construction, PS Srijan Developers LLP, The Nest, AKB Developers and Promoters, etc. – with the locality average rate of Rs 4,200-6,100 per sq ft.

Amenities offered are the latest, including swimming pool, jogging and strolling tracks, bar lounges, guest accommodation, indoor play areas, gymnasium and others. Also available are 2 and 3BHK builder floor houses, in approximately the same price range. The Mantri Group offers 3, 4 and 5BHK villas in the range of Rs 3.6-5.6 crore.

The area holds a lot of promise with the Indian Maritime University complex being developed here; the university has existed for many years, but the complex is coming up in a big way, with an aquarium, museum, food courts, a residential complex planned; a 5-star hotel in partnership with private players is being considered as well. Further, in the offing in Sholinganallur, is a financial city by TIDCO – the blueprint of which has been under consideration for some time – where global financial corporations will set up shop.

These developments are sure to drive up business activity and real estate demand in the area; yet, because of the shoreline, the area will always retain its scenic charm. Asset appreciation is, hence, expected to be steady in this area. All eyes, therefore, on Sholinganallur!

Source Swati Kamal, Magicbricks Bureau/Chennai

Chennai Metro rail will chug into suburbs first – OMR on wait list

OMR on wait list, metro rail will chug into suburbs first

The much-anticipated metro rail line to link the IT hub on Old Mahabalipuram Road may take a backseat as Chennai MetroRail Limited (CMRL) will begin work on Phase 2 with the design and construction of the facility to connect the suburban and core areas of the city which are primarily dependent on MTC buses. Some of these stations planned will run parallel to existing MRTS stations, which are expected to be taken over by CMRL in December.

Image result for OMR on wait list, metro rail will chug into suburbs first

Vijay Kumar Singh, Chief General Manager, underground section said a consultant to make a detailed design for corridors 4 and 5 would be appointed next month and work would begin in July. “In six to eight months preliminary design will be ready. Work will begin on corridors 4 and 5 on a priority basis and these will be ready in six years,” he said on May 29 during a media tour of the stretch between Little Mount and AG-DMS, which was opened on May 25. Initially, OMR was supposed to get metro connectivity before the other two corridors.

Corridor 4 will link the city through Vadapalani, Kodambakkam and T Nagar. Corridor 5 will connect the northern suburbs in and around Madhavaram with a part of OMR at Sholinganallur via Adambakkam, Madipakkam, Kovilambakkam, Medavakkam and Perumbakkam. It will be an orbital corridor connecting lines running across all radial roads including Poonamallee High Road, Anna Salai, Arcot Road and OMR.

Running along some of the stations in these corridors will be the existing MRTS facilities, which will be merged with CMRL. Singh said the actual merger may happen by 2018-end.

“Consultant report has been forwarded to southern railway for analysis and it will be sent to the railway board in Delhi. Based on their feedback, methods and modalities for integration will be decided. The report has given us various ways to go about integration and the financial model to adopt,” said L Narasim Prasad, Director, System and Operation.

In corridors 4 and 5, metro stations have been planned close to MRTS stations like Lighthouse, Thirumaylai and Adambakkam. However, the services in these stations may not be merged, as officials said the two mass transit facilities will only be integrated through walkways to provide commuters access to multi-modal transport facility. It means commuters will have to step out of metro stations and use a walkway, a pedestrian subway or a foot over-bridge to enter MRTS stations.

In a proposal last year, Southern Railway told CMRL that trains operating on the Chennai Beach-Velachery line could terminate at Fort Station instead of Beach. The merger will help CMRL operate better quality coaches on the stretch, provide a wide array of passenger amenities including food stalls and above all integrate MRTS and metro services with MTC buses.

U Tejonmayam, The Times of India, Chennai

Why the corporation fails to clear the mess that Chennai makes

Why corporation fails to clear the mess that Chennai makes

On October 2 last year, source segregation of municipal solid waste started in earnest among city residents. But eight months on, it not only remains an alien concept but is also scoffed at by residents who find it convenient to dump domestic waste in plastic bags at the nearest bin.

“Nobody collects trash from our doorstep. The corporation never insisted that we need to segregate waste,” said J George of Chetpet.

But this was not the first attempt by Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) to implement source segregation that has fallen flat. Senior corporation officials though pin the blame on residents for the civic body’s rather dismal service record. “Segregation should start at home. But people throw waste into bins wrapped in plastic bags,” said P Madhusudhan Reddy, Deputy Commissioner (health), GCC.

Reddy said the corporation created awareness on the importance of separating waste but people in Chennai “lack incentive or interest” to take it up. To address this lacuna, the corporation is mulling to penalise residents who do not segregate waste. “A notification will be issued soon,” said Reddy. Ironically, at present, the corporation does not have a foolproof measure to ensure that the segregated waste is not mixed and taken to landfills in compactor trucks.

The corporation’s idea to pull up residents points to its scattergun approach to solve what essentially is simple, say activists. For instance, the Nochikuppam fishermen settlements at Santhome have been source-segregating waste for nearly two years now.

“Almost five blocks in the colony segregate waste. We have appointed an employee and a part-time worker to collect segregated waste and compost it within the settlement. For around 450 homes, we spend Rs 15,000,” said Ashok Rajendran of Chennai Trekking Club which has taken up the initiative.

Activists say had the corporation brought on board NGOs and tasked them with the responsibility of taking the message of segregation to the masses, things would have been better. “The civic body’s awareness component is not interesting and informative, and hence it is ineffective,” said Arun Krishnamurthy of Environmentalist Foundation of India.

Reddy said inviting NGOs was considered but was dropped since it required a “financial component”. But Krishnamurthy contested it and said that there was never a hint from the corporation that it needed assistance from entities that worked for source segregation of waste. “We would have taken up the work on a volunteer basis if they had asked us,” Krishnamurthy said.

But the corporation has its plans, said Reddy. “We cannot discuss proposals to invite NGOs now. We have engaged representatives. One person per ward and another person per zone will take the message of segregation to people’s homes,” he said.

Pradeep Kumar, The Times of India, Chennai

How to take a premise on license basis in chennai

How to take a premise on license basis


If there are many licensees (unrelated as opposed to a family, where it is an accepted practice for one member to sign) seeking to take a premise on license basis, these are things to remember:

It is advisable to sign the leave and license agreement since it will guarantee equal protection/recognition as licensees;

Licensees need to ensure that the agreement explicitly records split of license fee payable and also respective obligations towards his/her share of the aggregate license fee. However, all licensees will be responsible for total fee;

Licensees should insert a provision (in case one of them wishes to exit), wherein the entire leave and license agreement need not terminate, but can have the remaining licensees take over exiting licensee’s obligations – with consent of the licensor;

If the licensee is going to incur expenses in furnishing the premises, add a clause that ensures licensor will have to repay such money (albeit on a depreciable value basis) spent in case of premature termination of agreement;

Licensee should reserve right to retain possession of premises, free of rent, if upon termination of term or agreement, the licensor fails/refuses to return security deposit;

Licensee should insist on adding a clause protecting and recognising permissive use of licensed premises by the licensee for duration of the term, even if the licensor sells/mortgages etc, the licensed premises.

Source Malav Virani, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai   

The concept of a smart home

Live smart

The concept of a smart home is no longer the stuff of science-fiction. In fact, the shift towards automated living has gone mainstream with wider acceptance among consumers. Read on…

Archana Das, a Charted Accountant, welcomed home a beagle a couple of years ago. However, he didn’t seem too happy with his new home. “After work, when my husband and I would return home, he would continuously bark at us; not eat well; be in an irritable mood and not sleep soundly,” Das mentions. So what could be the reason behind such behaviour, Das wondered. She soon launched a probe to find an answer to this question. “My caretaker did not take optimum care of the pet, and at times, would lock him in the house alone and go off for her own recreational activity. Hence, when we used to return home, he would bark at us,” she adds. Though Das immediately fired the caretaker, what worried her more was the fact that such an instance could happen again. So, how does she keep a track of the activities of her pet and ensure he is safe when she is away for work or even travelling? The question was a daunting one indeed, but she soon found an answer. “We installed closed-circuit TV cameras at home as it would help us not only keep a tab on the activities of our pet, but also ensure that he is safe and well-taken care off,” adds Das. Thanks to constant technological advancements, Das now lives in a ‘smart home’.

What is a smart home?

Smart homes are homes, which are powered by computing devices and information technology that connect various gadgets and instruments in the house to provide enhanced comfort, convenience, security, and entertainment to residents in a sustainable way. In the Indian context, it is one of the fastest evolving markets expected to grow at 30 percent Y-O-Y.

Evolution of the smart home market:

The factors that have contributed to the growth of smart homes in India are as follows:

1. Increasing penetration of internet and mobile technology;

2. The affluent, young and well travelled middle-class who is seeking a better lifestyle and high standard of living;

3. To reduce and possibly eliminate the component of human error in safety and security;

4. A change in the spending and saving pattern of the people.

What is driving the acceptance of smart homes?

According to Chetan Bafna, Founder and CEO, Lockated, a smart home in the current times is primarily being used only for three purposes:

Social prestige;


Safety and security.

Hence, in search for a better quality of life, people are now increasingly adopting smart solutions and technologies that help them stay connected even when they are away to make life more convenient, comfortable, controlled and healthy.

Not a domain of the rich anymore:

Every product goes through a typical lifecycle: early adaptors > influencers > inspirational > mass adoption. Today, since everyone has access to computing technologies and internet, yesterday’s luxuries have become today’s necessities. Hence, though there was a time when smart homes were the prerogative of the very rich – it is no longer the case.

Technology taking big strides:

A smart home is a concept that is finding greater acceptance on account of changing lifestyles across urban India. And with urban living getting more and more complex, the threat to safety and security has also increased. “Smart homes allow residents to have control over their homes and belongings even while they are not present physically in the house. The most popular device used is home surveillance and security systems. These are especially popular with working parents of young children who are either left home alone or in custody of nannies,” says Ashutosh Limaye, Head Research & REIS, JLL India.

Also, due to an increased awareness among consumers, products with a focus on data analytics and remote connectivity are getting popular.

“Home automation features such as curtain controls, mood lighting and auto load shut off are extremely popular among the HNWIs and millennials. We are also seeing a wider adoption of technology for lighting management systems, as well as wiring devices, circuit protection, cable management and air purifiers for a healthier, energy-efficient and cleaner home environment,” says Sudhir Pillai, General Manager, homes, Honeywell Home and Building Technologies, India.

In short, with convenience, comfort, control, health and well-being no longer considered a luxury but a necessity, people are increasingly adopting smart solutions and technology to meet these demands.

Upgrade to a smart home:

– Shrinivas Chebbi, President, Partner and Eco-Buildings, Schneider Electric (India)

Starter kit for affordable homes: You can install a basic video door phone and convert the existing modular switches to smart switches.

Performance kit for high-end homes: You can further add lighting controls (dimming, mood/scene control); motorised curtains, air conditioner control and even multimedia and TV.

A luxury kit for independent villas: Luxury kits primarily include a camera integration, air-conditioner control, AV projector/screen controls, time scheduling controls, garden sprinklers, garage door automation. The controls can be extended to include fountains, landscape lighting etc.

Shehzin Shaikh, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Namma Chennai app is ‘App’solutely great

‘App’solutely great

The Namma Chennai app allows its users to register civic grievances that range from potholes on the road to pesky mosquitoes in the neighbourhood.

Entertain the thought of filing a complaint about a civic issue and the first image that comes to mind is that of unending visits to government offices standing in endlessly long lines to register your complaint, right? You may never know when it will be resolved. Running from pillar to post to fix things is a thing of the past now, thanks to technology and the various efforts of the government to include them in the administration.

How it works

The Namma Chennai app was launched by the Greater Chennai Corporation in the last week of January. Available on Android and iOS platforms currently, it allows Chennai residents to record civic grievances through the application. The app records the phone number and name and takes you to the screen where you can choose between ‘Citizen’, ‘Official’ and ‘Management’ to lodge the complaint. Garbage, public health, water stagnation, park and playground, road and footpath, street light and public toilet are some among of the categories for which one can seek redressal through the app. “In the last three months, the app has been downloaded about 30,000 times. It takes less than a minute to register, which is why it can easily be used by the public. The government is planning to introduce many more services relating to civic services (which will be related to Chennai Corporation). We started with grievances and wanted to see the response to that, based on which we plan to introduce other things. The response has been overwhelming. More than 4,000 complaints have been registered,” says an official from the Electronic Data Processing cell of the government.

The official further adds that each complaint is automatically redirected to the concerned department. “Each complaint has a work flow and Service Level Agreement (SLA). There is a deadline for each kind of complaint, such as one day for garbage clearance or to resolve mosquito menace. There will be a follow-up activity to ensure that the officials close the complaint within a specified time period. This will ensure that the basic problem is fixed,” the official says.

The app has undergone several rounds of fine-tuning in the last few months. “We had to do that to improve the performance of the app. Based on usage statistics, we know the performance of the app on the backend. Then, we isolate the issues and rectify them so that the app does not crash. We have also fixed basic design issues such as the placement of two buttons close to each other,” says an official from the Corporation.

Into the App

1. Management – Refers to the management team of the corporation, a group of bureaucrats who will have access to all of the information recorded on the app.

2. Official – For officials in charge of operations, which include the list of tasks pending, escalation of a task, update and review.

3. Citizen – Applicable to the public. It includes services available under the ‘Online Civic Services’ tab of the official website of the Chennai Corporation. With the app, it only becomes easier for the public to lodge a complaint.

4. 1913 – An additional helpline number that can be used to lodge a complaint.

Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

East Coast Road: Connectivity is the key

Efficient infrastructure and connectivity are two crucial factors for the future growth of an area and East Coast Road (ECR) has both.

Commercial link

East Coast Road (ECR) connects Chennai to key cities such as Cuddalore and Puducherry. It is also a vital connecting link for the southern suburbs of Chennai and a host to several residential and commercial hubs. The area has attracted many home-buyers and investors in the past few years. ECR boasts of well developed social and physical infrastructure.


The closest railway station facilitating commuters is situated in Velachery, taking them from ECR to other key locations. Its proximity to the railway station and airport is another reason home-buyers prefer to buy in this locality. Connectivity to locations where employment opportunities are growing is one of the key factors influencing the real estate market here.

Property options

Owing to the serene environment and easy connectivity, this locality has gained popularity as a high-end residential destination. The residential market along ECR is mostly dominated by plots and villas. Property prices here range between Rs 4,000 and Rs 7,600 per sq ft, whereas rentals are in the range of Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000 per month.

Future potential

The ECR is being touted as the growth corridor of Chennai. As per reports, the Railway Board has allocated Rs 1200 crore for the 179.28 km railway line, connecting Chennai and other towns around ECR. The Puducherry government has reportedly begun the process of freezing land for this project.

Source: Magicbricks Bureau, Chennai

Driven by growth: GST Road Chennai

Driven by growth: GST Road

Competitive edge: GST road is one of Southern India’s prominent national highways. Also known as the Chennai-Trichy highway, the road has several residential and commercial developments along the way. Due to its prominence, the entire area has several advantages for real estate development. With several global and domestic corporates establishing their operations in the area, the demand for residential real estate has grown here.

Infrastructure: GST Road boasts of connectivity to several key localities of Chennai including Guindy, Pallavaram, Tambaram, Urapakkam and so on. It is also well-connected through various modes of public transport available in Chennai including the southern and South-western lines of the Chennai suburban railway network. Apart from being close to the Chennai International airport, a number of MTC buses run through the area ensuring good accessibility to and from the area.

Rental returns: The region boasts of several residential options ranging from apartments to plotted developments.

Social infrastructure: The growing presence of corporates in the region, as well as proximity to other hubs in Chennai has led to the development of a robust social infrastructure here. Apart from quality educational institutions, several hospitals and retail establishments, cafes, restaurants, hotels, fitness centres and supermarkets are present here.

Future potential: GST Road is considered a key locality in Chennai.

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) in Chennai

Travelling to the airport is no longer an anxious journey, as TOD is set to boost not only the realty market, but also enhance connectivity.

A good airport that connects to other cities in the country as well as the world helps further the development of the city. An established airport not only helps in bringing people closer, but also helps economies, thus making sure the particular city sees commercial growth and development. For this to happen, it is crucial that the airport is accessible from different parts of the city.

“A decade ago, we had limited ways of reaching the airport. We would often book a cab, and anxiously wait for it to arrive and get to the airport on time. Today, that is not the case as ease of travelling to the airport has increased. The metro rail services have made it easier to travel to the airport with fast trains that reach in less than 40 minutes,” says Banita S, a frequent flyer, adding that there were free buggy services the last time she was at the airport. “Travelators too have been inaugurated; they connect the metro station to the domestic and international terminal. All these amenities have ensured that travelling to the airport is a comfortable ride,” she says.

An important aspect of Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) is to minimise the walking distance to public transport spots, thereby increasing the number of people taking the public transport, and providing accessibility to all parts of the city. TOD will help flyers seamlessly connect to the airport.

WS Habib, President, CREDAI Chennai, say the benefits of TOD would be manifold. “As we know, air travel is growing at an exponential rate, which means a countless number of passengers are at the airport. Airport Oriented Development (AOD) can become dynamic centres of economic, commercial and entertainment activity for passengers and residents of the area.”

T Chitty Babu, Chairman and CEO, Akshaya Pvt Ltd, adds that TOD will require the development of large portions of the area around the airport and the localities closer to the airport. “These areas will be required to build an integrated network of connectivity and better urban planning in the city. TOD will significantly reduce travel time, encourage the use of public transport and reduce congestion and creation of public amenities as well as social infrastructure to cater to the growing needs of the urban population,” says Babu.

Developing a good and viable transport network around the airport is essential for its improvement, thus paving way for more commercial growth. And this will also impact the residential segment. Stressing on the influence real estate will have on it, Babu says, “TOD provides a tremendous opportunity for real estate to contribute to the development of commercial as well as residential spaces. It will boost the economy and trigger a substantial growth of organised development in the city. Better policy and rules by the government can help the real estate industry in leveraging TOD to plan the city more efficiently and open the gates for more opportunities for investments.”

Source Ranjitha G, Times Property, The Times of India, Chennai