MUMBAI: While most developers have shelved their expansion plans due to the economic slowdown, Pune-based Kolte-Patil Developers has gone ahead and launched four projects totalling 1.8 million sq ft, worth over Rs 500 crore.
The company has also picked up two land parcels — this includes a 27-acre plot for Rs 310 crore.
Tweaking the general industry strategy of going in for a soft launch of offering prospective buyers the first pick, Kolte-Patil went ahead to launch the project only after 20 per cent of the construction was up.
It gives buyers that bit of extra comfort when they visit the project site, said Sujay Kalele, CEO, Kolte-Patil. More importantly, the payment schedule for its projects is spread over nine months instead of down payment.
Over 15 to 20 per cent of the projects were booked within three weeks.
These include 100 flats and about 80,000 sq ft of commercial space (shopping).
The mixed use projects, which have shopping areas in the lower levels and residential space in the upper floors, provide an element of de-risking in trying times, said Kalele. The projects are scheduled for completion in 15-24 months.
According to global property consultant Jones Lang LaSalle India, project launches in Pune were down 40 per cent in the first quarter of this year.
Kolte-Patil, an established player in Pune, has executed over 10 million sq ft so far.
It has ventured into Bangalore and Mumbai, where seven projects are under development.
Funding has not been an issue, with IL&FS, ICICI Venture and Portman Holdings picking up stakes in three of the four projects. Funding does come by, as the company’s debt-equity ratio is 0.18, said Kalele.
Asked about buyer response, he said the company has a database of about 5.5 lakh, culled out from the enquiries that flow in.
This number accounts for about 10 per cent of the Pune population.
Regular mails ensure connect apart from giving buyers a wider choice.
However, it should be said that Pune is an end-user market, where investor play is limited.
Ninety-five per cent of sales are registered and bank loans sought. Five per cent of sales come from non-resident Indians and others, said Kalele.
He further said IT and ITES form 50 per cent of the customer profile, while engineering and auto industry personnel pick up 30 per cent. Twenty per cent goes to NRIs and Mumbai clients.