BANGALORE: Bangalore is known for its bungalow culture. It’s not surprising then that the country’s IT capital doesn’t have a great skyline. That maybe about to change. In a daring move real estate developers are reaching for the stars in a bid to give Bangaloreans a skyline to shout about.
In the next couple of months south based builder Golden Gate Properties will start work on the city’s tallest building, Presidential Tower, located in the western suburb of Yeshwantpur. It will rise to 161 metres.
The 1-million sqft residential development, being touted as the tallest building in south India, will top a list of seven other high-rise buildings above 100 metres that have come up in the last six years. For the longest time the Public Utility Building or Subhas Chandra Bose Tower on MG Road, with 25 floors and built 106 metres above ground level was Bangalore’s only skyscraper.
In 2008, businessman Vijay Mallya’s office UB Tower, which overlooks Cubbon Park became the tallest building in the city at 128 metres above ground level. Two years later the World Trade Center built by Brigade Enterprises piped Mallya’s UB Tower to become the tallest building, with 32 floors. Last year, Mantri Developers’ residential development Mantri Pinnacle in south Bangalore, off Bannerghatta Road, with 46 floors and towering 153 metres above ground level was by far the tallest building that Bangalore had seen.
In contrast, Mumbai has over 50 buildings – both under construction and constructed – that are over 150 metres above ground level.
Bangalore’s high-rise growth has been restricted for various reasons, including the fact that the city boasted of an airport located within 10 kilometres of the central business district (CBD). The HAL airport, which continues to operate, is the apex authority to issue a no objection certificates (NOCs) on height limits to developments situated in a 20-kilometer radius around the airport, which effectively covers a major portion of the city’s commercial and IT hubs.
“Areas like Yeshwantpur in west Bangalore and Bannerghatta Road in South Bangalore could emerge as high-rise clusters, just by being located far away from the restrictive height regulations that the CBD areas face,” says Sanjay Raj, promoter, Golden Gate Properties.
Given the number of high-rise developments that have popped up in west Bangalore and with many under development, Raj believes that Yeshwantpur could well emerge as the Manhattan of Bangalore, in the future.
Real estate analysts, however, aren’t buying into that argument. “High-rise residential buildings will only work in two situations – firstly, where the views are great and secondly when it is a premium/luxury building. Apartments with views of railway tracks or low-income housing are not going to find takers at fancy prices,” says Amit Bagaria, founder chairman of Asipac Group, a real estate consultancy firm.
Drawing a comparison to the global culture of high-rise buildings, Alexander Moore, CEO, L J Hooker India, says, If you look at the international scenario high rise buildings are generally restricted to CBD locations or perhaps coastal areas on a beachfront, where there is a clear logical advantage from the height.”