KOLKATA, JUNE 3, 2009: Kolkata-based Bengal Shristi Infrastructure Development plans to invest Rs 5,000 crore in developing integrated properties in a number of tier II and tier III cities across West Bengal. Buoyed by the prospects of business activities in these areas, the company would develop more than one million sq ft of commercial spaces in places such as Durgapur, Asansol, Ranigunj, Krishnanagar and Haldia over the next couple of years.
“A number of banks, IT & ITeS, telecom and finance companies have lined up expansion plans in these cities, due to rentals, which are as low as one-third or even less than that in metro cities. If these companies get the right kind of infrastructure, which is comparable to that of bigger cities but at the same time cheaper, it would make business sense for them,” Hemant Kanoria, director of Bengal Shristi told FC Estate.
Bengal Shristi’s integrated properties are coming up in Durgapur, Asansol, Krishnanagar, Ranigunj and Haldia. Among the companies that are moving in or are likely to move in include HDFC Bank, SBI, Tata Teleservices, Reliance Webworld, ICICI Home Finance, LIC Home Finance, Apeejay Finance, Dishnet Wireless, Aircel, Reliance Petro, Canon, India Bulls, Sahara Home Finance and Motorola.
“The advantages are manifold. These companies want to expand and know there is a huge market beyond metro cities. Besides, they are also under tremendous cost pressures. In the integrated properties that we plan to develop, these companies would get developed commercial spaces with many amenities, where rentals are reasonable, apartments in the same complex where their employees and officials can stay, shopping and entertainment and club facilities within the same premises. The companies can ask their people to migrate to tier II and tier III cities where the cost of living is lower, travel time to workplace is much less and the happiness index in higher. So it makes business sense,” Kanoria explained.
Mayank Saksena, associate director of real estate consultancy company, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, also subscribes to Kanoria’s views. “There has been lot of movements towards tier II and tier III cities in the commercial space, ever since the slowdown broke out last October. A number of BPOs and KPOs are moving to cities such as Bhubaneswar. And this trend will continue in the years to come,” Saksena said.
Kanoria said that a number of companies have approached them, looking for modern infrastructure to set up disaster management centres and back offices in smaller cities. “In our Durgapur property, for instance, those companies, which bought commercial spaces also bought the residential apartments in the premises. This is a test case and an indication of the way things are moving,” Kanoria pointed out.