With India becoming globally integrated and executives of multinational companies frequently travelling to business hubs in the country, there is a huge demand for high-end serviced apartments. The serviced apartment concept, started a decade ago in India, witnessed the establishment of many apartments initially in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and later in Chennai and other metros and smaller cities.

There is growing demand for serviced apartments, now called serviced residences, in Chennai as several multinational companies have established their operations here.

With some corporates already operating such residences, the latest to enter the Chennai city is the Singapore-headquartered ‘Ascott' with its Somerset-branded serviced residence. Globally, the company is operating three brands, namely, Ascott, Citadines and Somerset.

Addressing visiting presspersons to the Somerset Greenways Chennai, located at MRC Nagar, Ajit Koushik, General Manager, Ascott International Management (India), said the serviced residence with a range of spacious and stylish apartments would offer extensive lifestyle and recreational facilities for business travellers and their families. It has 187 units of which 48 are operational. This would be the first Somerset-branded service residence in India.

The company is also establishing Citadines-branded apartment hotel, Citadines OMR Gateway, on the Old Mahabalipuram Road with 96 units catering to savvy and vibrant executives on the go. This is scheduled to be operational by 2015. It has already set up a Citadines-branded apartment at Richmand Road, Bangalore. Another one, Citadines Galleria, is expected to be operational in 2014. Besides, a Somerset-branded residence in Whitefield is coming up which is scheduled to open for public by 2015. In Hyderabad an apartment hotel — Citadines Hitec City — will be established by 2015.

Potential for growth

According to Harshan Thomson, Director, Business Development and Asset Management, Ascott was operating 22,000 apartment units in 70 cities across the globe at present with more than 6,000 units under development. It was targeting to grow its global portfolio to 40,000 apartment units by 2015, he said.

Amit Mitra, Director, Sales and Marketing (India), said the Chennai facility was ideally located to suit the needs of executives of companies located on the ECR (East Coast Road) and OMR. Being the global hub for automobile and IT majors, Chennai would provide immense opportunity for growth, he said. Already, executives of multinational companies such as Ford and Daimler were staying in the Chennai facility, he said. Ascott started its operations in Singapore in 1984 when serviced residences concept was new in the region. Thereafter, it took control of Citadines, a pan-European service residence chain. In 2008, Ascott became a wholly-owned subsidiary of CapitaLand, one of Asia's largest real estate companies.