Old Bungalows Give way to High Rises in Mumbai’s Santacruz

Mumbai has always been known for its architectural marvels and beautiful homes down the ages. Mumbai was once known as the city of bungalows owing to the plethora of marvelous buildings boasted by the city. There were various bungalows located at prime points which were landmarks for city dwellers and these were not just bungalows belonging to superstars and other Bollywood celebrities. Several old families had their own bungalows with pristine views of either the sea or the city. These marvelous structures were what gave Mumbai or the earlier Bombay its distinct identity and character. However, the winds of change have affected Mumbai as well these days. How has this happened?

Old bungalows and mansions are now giving way to high rises in the city and this is a frequent and recurring trend witnessed by various market experts and real estate industry professionals. Take an area like the popular Santacruz West in Mumbai which is a well known area and most residences and homes are bungalows of a smaller size. An area like this is now home to multiple high rise buildings and residential apartment projects. What is happening is that developers and real estate companies are snapping up these properties and are then reconstructing these apartment blocks and high rises on these plots. While many advocate increased development in this manner, many are opposed to an overdose of this trend, stating aesthetic and other concerns.

Bungalows in Mumbai

Both two and three bedroom apartments are being offered by developers in almost all the high rise buildings available in this area. The capital values of these apartments tend to be anywhere between INR 2 crores and INR 7 crores which is a huge sum as compared to other cities in India. However, this is the prevalent market price and the client list includes the who’s who of Indian industry, top level company and business executives, entrepreneurs, celebrities, corporate tycoons and well placed executives and even some of the country’s top businessmen. Film industry professionals and stars are also present on these lists. This is one trend that is here to stay and developers are leaving no stone unturned to come up with innovative residential projects that are sure to generate good returns owing to a diverse client base.

However, the reality is that the overall client base for these luxury projects is quite low as compared to mass housing projects. The supply of these properties is going up each day and these properties are never sold at one go. Time and patience is required with regard to selling these luxury properties. Client decisions always take time owing to the high prices involved in such a purchase. This is one factor that makes such projects stand out according to local brokerage firm SVA Realtors’ Sunil Kothari. These properties also possess a steady market for rentals and this is another positive of sorts.

The rental market for properties like these is only on the rise and people who cannot quite afford to splash up the high purchase amounts for these properties will consider renting them owing to their prevalent desires of living in a premium apartment. This is something that is firmly stated by most developers and builders in the area when asked about how they make these projects viable. According to other experts and professionals, rent amounts are varied for projects situated in this area. The rent amount may vary between INR 40, 000 and even INR 1, 00, 000 depending on the project and property in question. Variation in prices is also influenced by the particular floor on which the apartment is situated. Buyers usually desire apartments on the topmost floors with an open view of the city. They are also willing to pay more each month for apartments like these according to Amit Agnani who owns Shobhna Enterprises, a brokerage firm. Old bungalows are being razed for high end projects with the latest amenities which are a major attraction for buyers and rental owners.

These include conference rooms, club houses, air conditioning, swimming pools, Wi-Fi connectivity, and modular kitchens, rain water harvesting, gymnasiums, piped gas, DTH and many more! Many of these features and amenities are often offered to buyers along with these apartments. The Santacruz area is one of the best areas in the city with the Bandra and Khar areas towards its south and Andheri and Parle towards its north. Social infrastructure is top notch with institutions like St. Anthony’s Church & School, R N Podar School, SNDT Women University, St. Teresa’s Convent High School and other restaurants, banks, departmental stores, hospitals and malls situated here. The area also has top notch connectivity via air, rail and road.

The domestic terminal of the Mumbai airport can be accessed here along with the railway station and the Western Railway Line and this connects it to Navi Mumbai, proper Mumbai and even Thane. There is a Skywalk that connects both East and West Santa Cruz along with a flyover and subways. This has pushed up overall demand for these properties in the area and sadly, some lovely vintage bungalows are being razed. Similarly, the beautiful Nepean Grange bungalow will be razed for the construction of premium residential towers on the land. This will be done by the Runwals and Villa Nirmala, a lovely old bungalow on the posh Carmichael Road in south Mumbai was snapped up by Peninsula Landpart for approximately INR 300 crores. Peninsula Landpart is part of the Ashok Piramal Group and has tied up with developer Khemchand Kothari for constructing a high rise on this land.

Many beautiful bungalows on Altamount Road, Nepean Sea Road and Carmichael Road are falling into the hands of real estate companies who are going all out to construct high rises in place of the same. A luxury residential tower was built in place of the Cama family bungalow off Nepean Sea Road while the iconic Nepean House was also demolished for the Ashiana apartment enclave. Lovely colonial style bungalows are making way for high rises in Mumbai and according to heritage and culture enthusiasts, this is one of the ill effects of development!


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