A realty boom is underway in this temple town with a string of residential projects and gated communities coming up in the outskirts

Since the beginning of this millennium, Madurai residents have become comfortable with the residential apartment concept.

Next to Chennai, Coimbatore and Tiruchi, this ‘temple city' seems to be the most preferred destination for many reputed builders who are lining up to construct swanky homes. In the last 10 to 12 years, there has been a gradual but steady growth in this sector, irrespective of the on and off recession. Now, at this crucial juncture, the presence of one big ticket industry, say, for instance, an automobile giant like the Ford or Tata or Honda or an IT major, would accelerate the growth of the housing sector. Already, many in the industry feel that cities like Chennai are crowded and rates are pretty high.

From the builders' point of view, there is not much space in Chennai and some suburban locations. Even assuming that there is land available, the cost of land is exorbitant. Keeping this in mind, a majority of construction companies/builders in and around Madurai have started moving out of “Old Madurai” and are in the process of promoting a “New Madurai.”

With big support from the government, private builders feel that the temple city has all the potential to be a preferred destination to buy flats.

With tourist spots like Kodaikanal, Thekkadi, Munnar and heritage town Karaikudi close by and Rameswaram and Kanyakumari within reach, Madurai is an ideal location for property development.

K. Meenakshi Sundaram of Siva Shelters, Arun Vijaay Malli, Director of Sathyasree Developers Private Limited and among others visited The Hindu office on an invitation to share their views and suggestions for the Property Plus.

According to them, flats are hereto stay. People in different segments have understood the features offered/available in apartments than living in independent homes.

Gated community

The idea of gated community is also picking up gradually too. New look homes are coming up along Sivaganga Road, near Vilangudi, near Paravai, along the Ring Road, along the New Natham Road and so on.

The road leading to Alagarkoil too is being explored by some builders for promotion of residential apartments and gated community living.

With Old Madurai almost packed for different reasons, residents are prepared to move away by, say, five to six kilometres or even beyond existing city limits.

“We are able to offer spacious living, assure fresh air and pollution-free atmosphere…these are some of the highlights of moving out from congested locations.

The prices of the flats have a tag ranging from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 60 lakh. The rate per square foot begins from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,500. In the coming years, it may only go upwards,” they say.

In DRO Colony, Meenakshi Sundaram, who has recently promoted a residential apartment, has sold all the units. His next project is coming up closer to Maatuthavani bus stand and hopes to repeat the performance.

Similarly, Arun and his partners, who have built 92 luxury apartments in a sprawling two plus acre near Iyer Bungalow, a first of its kind in Madurai, have provided swimming pool, huge space for indoor games and community hall, besides good space for car parking on the basement - all in one campus ready for occupation shortly. According to Mr. Arun, the campus will be a major landmark on the stretch.

CREDAI

The CREDAI (Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India) is an apex body of organised real estate developers.

In Madurai, about 15 to 20 builders are its members, who adhere to the CREDAI norms strictly. This is again an advantage to the customers since there is transparency in transactions. To justify that Madurai is the cynosure of property developers, many top builders from Chennai are lining up here offering their flats to potential buyers. The banks also, on their part, organise “home loan melas” at periodic intervals in different locations, thus helping the builders identify new customers.

As a banker pointed out, “With in-principle sanction letters offered on the spot, the builders too feel pretty comfortable in getting their funds in stages.

The documents are thoroughly vetted by the panel members of financial institutions and hence there is no room for any apprehension about fake documents or impersonated properties.”

Shopping mall

Apart from new and high rise residential apartments, the Ghokale Road in the city would soon be the most favoured spot for many. A big shopping Mall – “Vishaal” -- is coming up over a two lakh square feet area, which would have five cinema houses in it, has provision to park over 100 cars and a range of shopping outlets. It would become operational by February, according to one of the tenants.

With so much development, Madurai is poised to hit a new high in the housing sector.

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