If innovation is the name of the game, it has become a sure recipe for this entrepreneur to not just expand business but also win the goodwill of the middle-class. Landmark Construction, founded in 1996 by T. Udayakumar, has got into a hitherto unexplored territory in the real estate field.

With land becoming scarce in the city, Landmark has trained its eyes on the owners living in the dilapidated flats of Tamil Nadu Housing Board. It is now proposing to take up the re-development of the housing board flats by promising the flat owners brand new apartments with higher dwelling space in the same complex free of cost. According to Mr. Udayakumar, the generally low FSI (floor space index) usage in Housing Board-developed flats gives the re-development initiative a workable business model for Landmark.

Mr. Udayakumar said Landmark had already handed over a re-developed housing board-promoted property in K.K. Nagar to the original flat owners. The company, he said, constructed more flats in the original property by improving the FSI usage. For Landmark, the money came by selling the additional flats.

Alternative accommodation

Mr. Udayakumar told The Hindu that Landmark also provided alternative accommodation to the flat owners free of cost during the re-construction phase. “It (the re-development) is a win-win situation for all,” he said. For one, the flat owners got a brand new modern house with bigger space. For another, it fetched Landmark a new business opportunity.

According to Mr. Udayakumar, the city had over 100 acres of Housing Board-developed properties requiring re-development due to either their age or physical conditions. “There were lot of scepticism when we first mooted the idea,” he said. Landmark had to do a lot of convincing before the flat owners agreed to turn over their property for re-development, he added. The company, he said, was now working on to re-develop 10 Housing Board-promoted properties in places such as K.K. Nagar, Besant Nagar and Mogappair.

Since inception, Landmark had promoted 36 projects in the city, delivering around a million sq. ft. of constructed space, he said. “At present, we have another million sq. ft. under construction,” he added. According to Mr. Udayakumar, Landmark could rake in revenue of nearly Rs.200 crore through re-development of housing board properties alone in the next 30 months. Landmark's turnover last year was Rs.120 crore.