MUMBAI: Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) is one of the most strategic commercial and residential real estate locations in Mumbai – in fact, maybe in the country. This extremely valuable location has gone from strength to strength ever since it was reclaimed from marshlands hemmed in by Bandra in the west, Kurla in the east and Santa Cruz in the north.
In fact, the BKC is one of the most awe inspiring 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 for Mumbai’s most prominent corporates, which adopted it as an ideal alternate CBD location and shaped its imposing silhouette with glittering, ultra-modern office complexes, the 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.
The trend is spreading. Over the last 12 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 Nepean Sea Road and Malabar Hill. These locations, though inherently high-profile on the Mumbai real estate landscape, do not offer the kind 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 unauthorised 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 the 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 the 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.