India racing to be Destination No.1 in CRE By Priya Pradeep

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Bengaluru, December 02, 2015: It’s all in the numbers. According to reliable sources, India’s corporate real estate (CRE) market registered the strongest easing activity in the Asia-Pacific region in the quarter ended September 2015. In a first, it tagged $1 billion, totaling more than half of Asia’s total gross rentals in this sector. The cherry on the cake is that, the recent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy has boosted the optimism over the outlook for FDI in real estate, according to a Colliers International India survey. It is a shot in the arm for large projects like Special Economic Zones (SEZs), townships, smart cities, and industrial parks amongst others. FDI reforms will enable ‘ease of doing businesses’ in real estate for foreign investors, thus making India a preferred investment destination by global investors thus infusing funds into the country. This is contrary to the lull witnessed since 2009 within the commercial realty space. 500 million square feet of Grade A office space in India has already been guzzled in 2015 alone.                                                                                        

According to a recent report published by Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), Bengaluru ranks among the Top 20 investment destinations globally, while Delhi is at 34 and Mumbai a distant 42. Take a look at the Private Equity (PE) funds. Of the Rs. 44,450 crores of PE funds, invested in India’s realty market from 2013 till the first half of 2015, 13% has been invested in Bengaluru. It is staggering that in Devanahalli and surrounding areas alone, 40 lakh jobs can be generated over the next two decades. Property prices in Bengaluru have shot up by 7-21% in past one year. Taking stock of the numbers, it is no wonder that the Corporate Real Estate in India – INFLUENCE, IDEAS & INFRASTRUCTURE was organised by CORNET GLOBAL in Bengaluru on 1st December, 2015 at the Hotel Leela Palace. CoreNet Global is the world’s premier association for corporate real estate and related professionals. It has a worldwide membership base of 9,000+ corporate decision makers, service providers and economic developers. The India Chapter microsite is a key reference site for CoreNet Global Members and everyone who is interested in understanding, learning and delving deeper into Corporate Real Estate. The platinum sponsor was Embassy Office Parks; and the gold were Commscope and Cushman & Wakefield. Business Lounge Sponsor was the RMZ Group; with Lanyard Sponsor being Brigade. PurpleYo.com and Cresa were the other sponsors. The Associate Partner of the event was The Property Times. Attendees in large numbers turned out to be the top executives of various marquee companies from across India. They listened in rapt attention to speakers from crème de la crème Indian companies and MNCs.

The Keynote Speaker of the day was the celebrated former MD of Procter & Gamble Worldwide, Gurcharan Das; who also wears the multiple hats of an accomplished author, management guru, commentator and thought leader. His latest book, India Grows at Night: a Liberal Case for a Strong State was distributed among delegates who had the option to get it signed by Das, instantly turning the book into a collector’s item. In his Keynote on ‘India’s Urban Future’, Das extolled the virtues of smart cities. Says Das, “Make the slumland of Dharavi in Mumbai a smart city by giving 24×7 water and electricity; and see how Mumbai will gallop forward.” His related thought on smartly planned infrastructure was that, universities in India should be built in the heart of the cities to help these cities thrive. “Currently IIT Kanpur which is not in the heart of Kanpur, actually does not benefit the city of Kanpur and vice-versa,” noted Das.

Following the Keynote Address was a panel discussion on ‘The Pain of Progress – How to Improve Bangalore’s Crushing Traffic?’ The panelists from organizations like Colliers, Cushman & Wakefield, Embassy Office Parks and Intuit extolled the virtues of cheap public transportation. An important fact about mismanagement of large vehicles plying on the roads with one or two passengers only was highlighted. It was also noted that Bangalore has been stunted in the regulation of traffic as there was a shortfall of 7,000 traffic policemen.

Consequently in the panel discussion on ‘Strategic Shifts – A Business Leader’s View of CRE’, the participants from Cisco, Microsoft, First American and Ernst & Young; deliberated on the ‘Walk to Work’ concept. This thread of discussion highlighted that instead of mammoth office campuses, mini satellite offices could be built strategically at different points in a city so that personnel could just walk to work from their residences. An exciting revelation was that a company having surplus workstations, in probably 100s, could lease it out to start-ups or third parties. It is not just a monetizing act, but a help to organizations who cannot develop infrastructure on demand. The current development of ‘Fluid Offices’ was given attention by the panelists wherein the ‘Work from Home’ and ‘Bring Your Own Device to Office’ trends posed significant shifts in construction of offices by real estate developers.

Moving on to the next panel discussion on ‘New Trends in CRE driven by E-Commerce’, with speakers from JLL, Flipkart, Ebay and Brigade Enterprises; the chorus was that a paradigm shift has been created. E-commerce companies are largely not owning property but operating from properties on lease as the savings are immense. Ecommerce companies by the virtue of their business model is actually driving disruption and innovation in CRE practices.

In the last panel discussion on “CRE & Technology – Vision of the Future’, panel members from Kotak Mahindra Bank, Wipro and Ericsson spoke on how technology is changing the real estate operation dynamics on the demand front. With automation and robots replacing staff the need for constructing vast office spaces housing personnel is coming down. Services in buildings too is being transformed with building information management, which uses GIS technology.

The 2015 CRE India Conference concluded on a high number with a number of topics being discussed revolving around the 3I’s — Influence, Ideas and Infrastructure — in India’s CRE as witnessed in the year 2015. 
Corporate Comm India(CCI Newswire)

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