Remembering 2020 : Top 10 CRE developments that made a splash

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2020! Some want to obliterate the year from their calendars. Not us. It was the year of the gritty, of those who seized opportunities and those who made it against all odds. It spurred an intersection of technology, design, architecture and construction, transforming the commercial real estate industry into a more efficient and cost conscious one.

Painting a picture very different to what we may have penciled in on our calendars, at the beginning of the year, we are wrapping up one of the strangest years in our living history by taking cognizance of the major developments that made a splash in the CRE industry:

1. DLF inked an anchor deal with Standard Chartered GBS for office space at DLF Township, Chennai

India remained the top choice for large IT/ITES and financial sector’s office space expansion needs. In one of the largest commercial office space deals, in October 2020, real estate major DLF’s rental arm pre-leased 7.7 lakh sq ft of office space to Standard Chartered GBS to set-up its largest office establishment at DLF Downtown located in Taramani, Chennai. The realtor is developing the Taramani project with a total investment of Rs 5,000 crore. The project is expected to be completed in six years and will help generate 70,000 direct and 6,000 ancillary jobs once operational.

2. The Rs. 4500 crore Mindpsace Business Park REIT was a mega hit

13 times oversubscribed, Mindspace Business Park REIT debut on the stock exchange, bang in the middle of the most severe wave of COVID-19 proved that India’s commercial real estate story is far from over, WFH notwithstanding. K Raheja, one of the most respected developers of Mumbai offered an investment opportunity into 29.5 million square feet of India’s grade A premium office assets to institutional and retail investors and it was simply lapped up. 

3. Bengaluru-headquartered RMZ Corp sold assets worth $2 billion to Brookfield

In the largest-ever deal in the Indian real estate industry, Bengaluru-headquartered privately-owned real estate investment, development and management firm, RMZ Corp announced the sale of 12.5 m sq ft of 67 m sq ft of their real estate assets to a fund managed by Brookfield Asset Management, for around Rs 14,680 crore ($2 billion). With this deal RMZ retired a susbtantial part of its debt and is set fuel the second round of its growth, targeting a real asset portfolio to 85 mn sq ft from the current 67 mn sq ft, over the next six years. The deal also included divestment of the group’s co-working business, CoWrks.

4. $1.5-billion deal of Blackstone-Prestige Estates was done and dusted.

The Competition Comm­ission of India (CCI) gave its nod to US equity major Blackstone Group buying certain commercial and retail properties from Bengaluru-based real estate player Prestige Estates. Valued at $1.5 billion, this deal again featured as one of the largest real estate deals in the country comprising the sale of 21 million square feet of assets. Assets included, five completed office assets, four under construction offices, 9 retail malls and two hotels.

5. Noida’s swanky new upcoming airport at Jewar drew in over Rs 7,600 crore of investments

The region surrounding the upcoming Noida International Airport managed to bag investments worth Rs 7,617 crore this ongoing fiscal including those from some ‘big ticket’ Fortune 500 firms, as per a top government official. From April till December, industrial plots were allotted to 911 companies which are expected to create 1.91 lakh jobs in this region in western Uttar Pradesh, Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority. It has also been asserted that the mega greenfield project has triggered massive infrastructure development, including road and rail connectivity, in Uttar Pradesh’s Jewar region.

6. Strong data on MNCs’ office space leasing and India as an R&D base, kept the market mood buoyant.

Gross office space leasing by multinational companies to set up R&D centres across major Indian cities stood at 14.13 million sq ft in 2019, a nearly five-fold jump from 2014, as the country remained an attractive destination for global outsourcing, according to Cushman & Wakefield. Bengaluru continued to hog the top spot as the ‘Silicon Valley’ of India and accounted for a major share of Indian tech business and GCCs. Interestingly, one fourth of global Fortune 500 companies have set up R&D bases in India.

7. India office markets’ fit-out costs most economical in Asia Pacific: Report

India’s top seven commercial real estate markets including Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune have emerged as the most economical office interior fit-out markets in the Asia Pacific region, showed a Cushman & Wakefield study. Mumbai remained the most expensive office market in the country with an average fit-out cost of $133 per sq ft. The average office interior fit-out cost in New Delhi stood at $126 per sq ft and $33 in Chennai.

8. Delhi Metro to offer 2 lakh sq ft commercial space at two stations

The Delhi Metro Rail corporation (DMRC) announced its intention to monetise about 2 lakh sq ft at Karkarduma and Anand Vihar metro stations in a bid to increase revenue. Having invited tenders for leasing of approximately 9563 sqm area at Karkarduma metro station of Pink line for commercial development, the successful bidder will be offered the space for 15 years. The project site has an excellent opportunity to become an important commercial hub in NCR.

9. Hotels check into co-working with Ibis Hotels announcing the first move

Ibis has introduced alternative working spaces for individuals and organisations in India. Available across all its properties in India, the new offering [email protected] provides a safe, alternative working space to individuals and organisations looking to work remotely in a healthy and reliable environment. With more large enterprise clients looking at flexibility and capital conservation, co-working has re-emerged as a sector to watch out for, in 2020 and 2021.

10. SEZ’s are back in action: Government approves DLF’s proposal to set up two SEZs

The government has approved the proposals of software firm TCS and realty major DLF to set up special economic zones (SEZs) for the IT sector in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. The approval was given by the Board of Approval, the highest decision-making body for SEZs, in its meeting on February 26. TCS has proposed to set up an IT/ITeS SEZ in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, on 19.9 hectares of land. The total proposed investment for the project is Rs 2,433.72 crore.

Read more on the significant developments of 2020:

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