Sunday, August 29, 2010

Hiland Willows Explored !

Hiland Willows sits at the end of the road, preceded by Bengal DCL's Malancha, Bengal Shelter's Teen Kanya, Peerless's Anahita and Sunrise Symphony by the Bengal Sureka group (in this order).

All these projects are in Action Area II of New Town, and were all effected first by the slow down in the economy, later by the slow moving brain of the TMC Supremo the unchallenged, the one and only 'মহা ' Didi (The great sister). Some call her 'মহা ' Debi (The great Goddess).

The only silver lining on the cloud is that Hiland Willows in particular has been really sweetening the deal for people willing to buy an apartment at their project. Their tag-line has been for a while now - 'Get premium, semi-furnished, air-conditioned apartments at unbelievable prices'. So I guess one can say that Didi does have a positive effect on the economy, she has been able to drag the prices down, of these otherwise steeply priced projects.

But then, let us get serious. We surely hope that come 2011, and Didi has her throne, and throws a few bones towards her henchmen. Isn't that's what this is all about - 'Live and Let Live'. Let us pray, that some of  these projects could prosper, so an otherwise ghost town can get inhabited. I think I am now done with my daily prescription of sarcasm for our future CM. Moving on.

Visited Hiland Willows earlier today and found the security and support staff to be very forthcoming in showing us their sample flats. 2 thumbs up for Hiland Willows management on being customer friendly and delivering what so far seems to be a quality product.

* They are using a different kind of brick for this project, it is called fly ash brick, which is different from the red bricks made in a brick kiln. And is said to have pros and cons. Click on the link above to know more about Fly Ash Bricks.

At this point I will stop talking and let the pictures do the rest of it.

We were shown 2 sample flats, this one is - Cypress Premium (just over 2000 sq. ft.).

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And now Cypress Standard (Approximately 1900 sq. ft.)

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

Home Front, 2010

Saturday newspapers shouted from the roof-top, about Home Front 2010, at the Netaji Indoor Stadium. Previously known for concerts like Hope 86, and shooting of the Big B blockbuster Yaarana. 

CREDAI - Bengal the West Bengal chapter of the apex body of Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India  arrange a real estate road show once a year, every year.

A property fair such as this gives an ideal platform to the buyers, realtors, the marketing companies, and the home loan financiers to mingle. The admittance is reasonably priced at just Rs. 20.  Once inside the stadium arena you will witness the who's who of the real estate players. It was moderately crowded for a Saturday afternoon.

WTF ? Excuse my French.

The above signage with the fountain as the backdrop, was strategically placed at the entrance, suggested an antithesis of  sorts. Our respected Mayor, his highness Sovan Chatterjee was entrusted with the job of cutting the ribbon at this prestigious event. I hope to God the Mayor had Didi's blessing and approval to do this. The poor man has a new job and has a family to feed ;-) After all this was a showcase event for any and all real estate development in and around Kolkata. Including Rajarhat, New Town where Didi and her Didigiri enjoys a stronghold, and has been very successful in delaying if not complete stoppage of infrastructural development. Can this be construed as a softening of her stance or will Rajarhat continue to be her 'Bête Noire' ? Your guess is as good as mine. Moving on then.

Fair Overview

Kid Friendly Fair
A happy family turnstile @ the Urbana booth
Urbana's vision of tomorrow, too good to be true and unreal !
Touch Screen, Self Help Kiosks for Customers @ Pioneer's booth

If I were to guess, there were probably close to a 100 booths/stalls. Most of them were busy pitching their product to the visitors. The young and vibrant marketing executives were busy explaining how their product was the best on the market. They were selling dreams. Different modes of advertisement were at work from LCD displays looping through a/v presentations, to touch-screen, self help kiosks, to free Nano, to immediate discounts for spot booking. I can only imagine how the marketing wheels must have worked feverishly to come up with a plan for oneupmanship over the past few days to get that USP (Unique Selling Point), to be visible in a crowd.

Picture taken on 26th August, 2010

It is noteworthy to add that I chatted  up with a young exec named Nitin from the Pioneer booth. He was looking after Rajarhat/New Town projects being marketed by Pioneer. I almost grilled him, asking him some uncomfortable questions regarding projects such as Rosedale, which was very aggressively marketed by this firm back in 2006. His response was stereotypical apropos political situation, infrastructural road blocks. I did not mention this blog, but I did drop a hint that I follow New Town close enough to know what goes around in town. I was fishing for any more information over and above what we already know.  I told him during my recent visits to Rosedale NRI project, I was quite disappointed to see that there did not seem to be much activity going on, at the site. A project that is over 6-9 months delayed, should seem busy to say the least. On the contrary the scene at the construction site looks abysmally slow and the progress is lethargic. To this Nitin replied that work was surely underway and they are looking at handing over the ready units within about a year's time. I contradicted Nitin and argued that at this rate, even two year looks far fetched, leave alone a year. I certainly hope I am wrong and they deliver in a year from now. He also added that all projects in that zone including Uniworld City are hit badly due to the stiff opposition in laying sewer lines and erecting electric poles.

Where are you Didi, are you listening ? Your man Friday, your appointee Mr. 'Jol' Sovan Chatterjee is cutting ribbons, while you are busy cutting/shredding people's dreams into pieces !

I did mention to him that in my humble opinion, it does seem that the builders are using the infrastructural row to their advantage, and taking it easy on delivering a finish product. The interior finishing of the building has nothing to do with the infrastructural issues that are hurting New Town.

Hi-Land / Calcutta Riverside
Free Nano - Yeah Right !
 Now I am going to talk a little about two different projects that caught my attention and sounded somewhat interesting amidst the maze of high rises. A concept of second home is a novel one, for people who can afford to own more than one property.

One such project is called - আমার বাড়ি (My House). It is being developed by Bengal Greenfield Housing Development Co. Ltd. The same people behind Greenfield Heights, Greenfield  Ambition both in New Town. 

A Village Villa

What draws me to the this project: a. Heritage location - Santiniketan b. Own Bungalow c. Village styled villa d. Affordable pricing, starting at Rs. 11 Lacs, and going upto 21 Lacs. It will be difficult getting an apartment these days in the City of Joy at that price.

There are about 151 bungalows in all, and I think the customer executive from MMG (the company marketing this project) said that they have about 60 odd bungalows still available, which will be released in 2 subsequent phases. I don't have the money for this now, unless a wealthy reader of this blog is willing to make me a Pujo/Diwali or Christmas gift :)) I would still however be visiting Santiniketan and this project in short order. I am looking forward to it.

Next, this one is closer to the city and uses a term that I have heard for the first time in real estate retail. They call is plug and play apartments, that's an innovative adjective for a fully furnished apartment. Once again it this project is trying to cash in a growing segment of second home buyers. This one is called - Nirvana - studio apartments(552 sq. ft  studio/ 977 sq. ft. duplex apartments); supposedly 40 mins. from Alipore in a settlement called আমতলা - a town that sits on the Diamond Harbor Road, about 25 kms from Esplanade - the city center of Kolkata. So were now in the age of Plug-
and-Play Nirvana, huh ?

Enough said. It was an afternoon well spent and hopefully, some information in here could be useful to readers of this space.

Thanks and Cheers !

Good night and Good luck !

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sankalpa - Purposeful Unity

First of all I apologize to the readers of this blog for going amiss for the last two weeks. My work and some personal commitments had the better of me. But I am now back in action and you will hear more from me about other projects in New Town.

Now then, I would start off by borrowing a line from Swami Vivekananda's Chicago address:

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Sankalpa,

Time has come that we get together in the interest of the investment we have made in Sankalpa. As we know that there are four sites within the project - Site I, II, III and IV. Site I has barely taken off and was launched the last, so that might be outside our scope of present discussion.

Regarding Site II, III, IV - I have been following up on the construction progress closely, have been posting pictures and videos on a fairly regular basis. My last visit to Sankalpa was about 2 weeks back. I will be visiting the site at least every 4 weeks and hope to see reasonable progress during that time frame, since my last visit.

However we need to form a forum of flat owners at Sankalpa (across all the sites) and get together, so that we can take up various agenda with the developers. A reader of this blog, and a flat owner himself - Cdr. Ghatak seconds this opinion and suggests that it would be good start if at least some of us (let's pick a number, say 6 of us) who are locally based out of Calcutta can form a group, and meet in person and discuss issues concerning us.

A collective and purposeful unity will give us leverage with the developers. It is obvious that the possession of apartments, will be seemingly delayed. One such item on our agenda could be to make sure that the penalty clause be exercised, and we are financially compensated for the delay. In my previous casual meetings with the chief engineer I was told that the penalty clause, will most definitely be adhered to. We need to see that it actually is.

As allottees to this project, and future owners of our individual apartments - there could be a number of things that concern us, which need to be flagged, raised and discussed at this stage.

At this point I will humbly request all the readers of this blog, who are either themselves investors at Sankalpa or know someone who is, to simply drop in an email to :, with a subject line of - "Sankalpa Flat Owners Forum". Please introduce yourselves in the email, with your contact information and preferred mode of communication: Mobile, Email, etc.

You are welcome to send us an email, even if you are not residing in Calcutta. However at this point we are looking for people who are located in Calcutta, so that we can meet in person.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sankalpa - A view from the top

Site III & Site IV - Towers
Yesterday, we (myself and a co-blogger - who wishes to remain anonymous). For ease of reference we will call him Z.

So upon some insistence from Z and a desire to see the view from the top, we climbed all the way to the 13th floor of Tower 8, Site II of Sankalpa and boy was I not glad I did. It looks like a completely different world from up there.

It wasn't a particularly breezy day, but there was a pleasant breeze cutting across in the south easterly direction.

Tower 8 in Site II is a G+13 structure, the top 2 floors are pent houses with liberal floor plans for the people who can afford it. The pent houses feature wide balconies ideal for small open air BBQ parties. I realize I really need to befriend at least one of the people who own one or more of these pent houses. And if you are reading this blog and happen to own one of these pent houses, go on show me some love for providing you with the lovely pictures and the video !

Tower 8 in Site III was the focus of my visit to Sankalpa this time. It seems to be well on track. I will be visiting Sankalpa office today to find out what is their delivery schedule on Site II, Site III and Site IV. Will share the information as soon as I have it.

You may also visit the official website for Sankalp.

With that being said, I will let you enjoy the pictures in 2 different slide shows !

Your pictures and fotos in a slideshow on MySpace, eBay, Facebook or your website!view all pictures of this slideshow

And here is the video ...

And now the walk through of Flat Type A in Tower 8, Site II

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A thank you note

First of all I would like to thank the readers of this blog. I will need your help and support to spread the word around, so that we can build a community around this. I hope that you are finding the coverage of New Town projects useful. In the coming weeks and months, I would like to continue to provide complete coverage of most residential and commercial projects on a rotational basis.

I also thank you all for voting on the poll - "Which New Town project would you want me to cover in greater details". The poll received about 34 votes with Uniworld City, Rosedale NRI, and Sankalpa  taking the cake, with Uniworld City being the biggest of these, presumably so got the highest number of votes. That does not mean I am not going to cover the other projects, sure will. However would appreciate your consideration and patience while I get to the project of your choice.  I will also continue to revisit projects to track their progress and share it with the readers of this blog.

We have now set up an email link on the blog - so any comments (especially the good ones:), requests and notes could be sent to me directly. Also please feel free to post comments on the blog posts itself using the Post a comment option

With that being said, I will get back to work of providing more information each day.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Airforce Naval Housing Board (Jalvayu Vihar)

Following a request made by an avid reader of this blog, we visited Jalvayu Vihar in Action Area 1, New Town.

This project is under the purview of Air Force  and Naval Housing Board.

The allottees to this project have to be service men in either the Army or Navy. Both serving and retired personnel  were eligible to buy an apartment in this project @ subsidized rates.

The project seems to be progressing at a decent pace. They have had and are still having their share of problems owing to infrastructural issues.

 These towers sit right next to Greenfield Heights project (one of the first and only project to become inhabitable)

We met and interviewed Commander Nadeem the project director at the project. In many ways he is a frustrated man. Frustrated of incessant delays and the bureaucracy he has had to face dealing with the various government agencies responsible for development in New Town.

At this point his primary concern is that of powering up these apartment homes. He has been knocking the doors of WBSEDCL - West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited and several other allied agencies just to ensure electric supply can be provided at the project. He has been running around from pillar to post, just to have the government officials make empty promises. We all now by know government "babus" talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the talk, there aren't many takers !

We were told that the builders also have to be involved in the process of procuring transformers and related equipment, even though installation and maintenance of these transformers and related power equipment is essentially WBSEDCL's job.  Now then, apparently the officials at WBSEDCL have come to a decision about the specifications of necessary equipment and will be initiating the process to purchase it. Commander Nadeem  is hopeful that the project can be completed by the year end and the handover process can then be initiated, which may be spread over a period of 3 months. However he does add that this deadline hinges on the fact that promises that have been made to him by the government bodies are met promptly.

It is no longer news that several projects, almost all of them are delayed owing to infrastructural issues. Some of these brought upon themselves by inefficient government bodies with ineffective employees with little accountability or even lesser incentive to deliver on time. As if this were not enough the local folks are acting as politically charged ions !  
However there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel, as the project director is hopeful of meeting this deadline of year end 2010. He substantiated his estimates with real data - water supply has been arranged for, sewerage lines have been laid, internal finishing work has started. He added that they were doing everything in their capacity and are leaving no stone unturned to deliver the goods !  Let us hope so too.

Now then, here is the walk-through video !

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Swiss have arrived !

These pictures were taken @ Swissotel roof on 8th July, could not get around to upload it until now. Looks like they have done a decent job. Most of these pictures were taken from the roof-top. They are to have a open-air lounge bar and the swimming pool. It was really windy on the roof and the view from the top was quite astounding.

This luxury hotel is sure to drive up the prices of the nearby residential properties like Shrachi's Greenwood Sonata, Bengal DCL's Uttara, and Ujala by Bengal Ambuja.

Enjoy the pictures !

More Shukhobrishti

Cannot stop talking about how good a job the "Shapoorji Pallonji" guys have done. This site just does not look like an LIG complex, the finishing is real professional. I am sure this will be Neighbor's Envy, Owner's Pride.

 Here are some more pictures to prove a case in point ...

Unitech Vistas - Model Flat

Quite a few people replied to poll on this blog; asking for more information on Uniworld City project. So here it is have a blast! Courtesy a dear friend, below are the pictures of a Unitech Vistas model flat, taken just about 2 weeks back. Have a look and comment, please.

* Unitech Vistas is part of 'The Big Picture', and it is what they are promoting at this point. Please note that the model flat is "off-site" and located a couple of kms away from the main construction site for Uniworld City.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pictures tell a story

Miscellaneous images from New Town, captured yesterday.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Sad Trend

There has to be a way to resolve this apolitically directly with the landowners, some one in the administration has to come up with an Ace. This issue is now fast becoming like a plague and is catching on like wildfire, cannot be resolved with an iron fist any longer.

Read the story of another troubled Road to hell !

And here we go again, this to show - is in the interest of the opposing political party, that this issue is NEVER and gives them an agenda to rule for years to come. They will be pretty much jobless in case any "Carte blanche" settlement is arrived at !
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