MUMBAI: From being a traditional textile mill location a few decades ago, Worli has come a long way to emerge as one of the prime real estate destinations in the country’s commercial capital.
The location has demonstrated a great deal of resilience, even as most of the other micromarkets in Mumbai continue to struggle under pressure. In fact, this upmarket location, which is strategically placed to bridge, the north-south divide in the island city, has managed to maintain its momentum despite the ongoing challenges that the property market is encountering at present. It has managed to not only retain its premium positioning quite well but has also emerged a winner, with property prices remaining steady all these years.
What makes this locality unique and interesting is its proximity to the CBD (Nariman Point) on one side and Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and the airport on the other, enhanced recently due to the sea link. Factors like capital values; grade A buildings; consolidation under one building for companies; new generation buildings; green buildings; gold certified buildings; ample car parking; and cutting edge technology used for construction, are majorly responsible for driving the MNCs to move from old buildings in Nariman Point to new high-end developments in Worli.
As a real estate destination, Worli has surged at a time when places like Nariman Point-which was once the most sought-after office locality, has been losing its sheen considerably, with Lower Parel struggling to keep its initial tempo. Faced with infrastructure-related hiccups, Nariman Point has undergone a corrective phase and occupiers moving out to other locations in central and north Mumbai markets, including the BKC and Andheri, are seeking quality space, contemporary designs and better amenities. In addition, they are also looking to rationalise their real estate outlay.
Amidst all these changes, Worli as a micro real estate market, has kept its momentum intact in the backdrop of quality supply with strong fundamentals. One of the seven original islands that Mumbai was made out of, Worli is privileged to have the longest stretch of sea along its side, after Marine Drive, a fact that has gone a long way in enhancing its attraction and appeal. Though other areas in south Mumbai have drawn attention, Worli, due to its sea facing location, has got a distinct edge since most of the properties in the area enjoy a classy sea view. The promenade at Worli sea face, is one of the most appealing spots in the city.
Extending from Haji Ali in the south to Prabhadevi in the north, Worli is dotted with several premium residential properties including the famous Samudra Mahal, where property prices range in excess of Rs 1,00,000 per sq ft, even in the current sluggish realty scenario. In order to leverage its prime setting, quite a few reputed developers are currently active in Worli, putting up luxury residential projects at a price band of Rs 35,000-45,000 per sq ft.
A number of prominent residential projects are currently under construction in the area today. A few major ones include Palais Royale, Indiabulls Blu, Orchid Turf View, K Raheja Viveria and Omkar 1973, among others. There are also some SRA projects ongoing in Worli, including Lokhandwala Minerva and Parinee Worli. Prominent redevelopment projects include Orchid Crown and Lokhandwala Victoria.
Traditionally a prime residential spot, Worli has also got a good blend of commercial properties, which have always commanded a premium in the market. Rental values in the area currently range from Rs 200 per sq ft to as high as Rs 275 per sq ft, which are very close to rates of BKC and Nariman Point today. Grade A commercial properties in the area have even commanded one of the highest rentals of around Rs 500 per sq ft at one time. In fact, commercial rentals in Worli have shown a steady progress and the trend is expected to continue. Commercial projects like Birla Aurora, an offering from the Birla Group, with all its ultramodern amenities, are all set to give Worli a new facelift. The project is expected to be operational in 2013 with some of the biggest corporate houses occupying prime office space.
With a number of highend and luxury residential projects and commercial office developments under construction in Worli, the scope for the ‘walk to work’ concept has increased. In addition, new infrastructure projects like the Wadala-Jacob Circle monorail line, which is currently under construction, will provide great transportation connectivity to Worli. The planned monorail is expected to boost direct connectivity to suburban locations and reduce travel time. Other proposed projects like the Peddar Road flyover which will improve connectivity to the CBD, will also help the location. The proposed Worli-Nariman Point-Cuffe Parade sea link will further enhance transportation connectivity of the location.
Worli’s Dr Annie Besant Road has been one of the traditional office areas in Mumbai, with the first major development – the Shivsagar Estate, coming up in 1970s. Corporate majors that have made their presence felt in this business district are Century Textiles, GSK Pharma, Novartis, RPG Group, the Tata Group, HDFC Bank and Yes Bank. German manufacturing giant Siemens has its Indian headquarter situated in Worli, even as a big portion of its operation shifted to Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, a few years back. Till 1997, offices of companies like ESAB and US Vitamins, along with Mumbai’s landmark Doordarshan Centre were also situated in Worli.
As a real estate market, Worli unlike other micromarkets in the commercial capital, has exhibited a much balanced demand-supply equilibrium on account of its selective development profile. While a large part of central Mumbai has seen untamed development in the wake of mill land redevelopment, Worli is probably one location where the real estate market has grown in a much measured manner, allowing civic and other infrastructure to keep pace with the changing market dynamics. The commissioning of the iconic Worli-Bandra sea link in 2009 has added significantly to its robustness, with commuting time from western suburbs coming down substantially. Apart from road linkage, Worli also enjoys good railway connectivity through Dadar, Mahalaxmi and Elphinstone railway stations.
In this backdrop, Worli offers the perfect setting for real estate developments. The area not only enjoys a judicious blend of residential, commercial and retail components but has also emerged as a matured market. The mix has provided it with a distinct edge over other micro-markets.