With the commissioning of Rajiv Gandhi Salai, the travel time from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri has been reduced by half an hour

How much can a 35-km long stretch take into its confines? If the stretch is OMR, then the answer could be “25,000 residences and upwards,” according to builders there.

So, what has kept this stretch from Adyar and to Siruseri selling at breakneck pace, despite the economic slowdown?

Proximity to the city is something every suburban builder emphasises. But, that proximity is more real to projects on OMR, where development has stretched right up to Thoraipakkam.

“No other area but OMR has better prospects for infrastructural development, as of today,” says Prem Mehtaram, Managing Director of PP Gemma Habitats.

His project is coming up behind the Siruseri SIPCOT IT Park. From Siruseri, one only has to go up to Thoraipakkam to get a whiff of the city life. Retail and recreation are two things that are coming up in a big way on OMR, he adds.

With several IT giants setting up home within the SIPCOT IT Park, it is only a natural follow-up that people working in them would want to move in nearby. Capitalising on the various state-driven development initiatives, are the builders who see this is as their perfect opportunity to set up large scale projects like integrated townships and gated communities.

The fact that the land in the area is still viable for such conversion is central to the development of housing on OMR.

“The SIPCOT IT Park has been a catalyst for the rapid growth of the trunk infrastructure in the areas surrounding it. The roads are wider, the water undergrund is ample and more accessible nowadays and in all the years that it took us to complete Phase I of our Eden Park project, we never experienced water logging problems,” says G Venkat Prasad, Chief Operating Officer, L&T South City Projects. Pointing out how this development has saved time, he said that with the commissioning of Rajiv Gandhi Salai, the travel time from Madhya Kailash to Siruseri has been reduced by half an hour.

Residential properties on OMR were earlier part of the luxury bracket, with square feet rates being as high as rupees 4000 and above. Today, after surviving the global meltdown, the real estate industry in the city has emerged stronger and now toes the more affordable line.

Builders on the stretch have pegged their rates between Rs. 2500 and Rs. 4000, in response to the change in buyers' sentiments. “Widespread speculation when this stretch was still new on the dock meant that buyers were keen on immediate resale values of their properties. Today, people are looking for affordable homes, to settle down with,” says Mr. Prem.

Though most buyers purchase houses with the idea of settling down in them, concerns over the rates of appreciation continue to be a deciding factor in making the final choice. Builders project that property in OMR will appreciate by almost 25-30% in the next one year.

“By the time we were through with the first phase of our Siruseri project, we saw the rates go up to Rs. 3550 from Rs. 3350 per square feet. We are considering an increase in the rates when we start selling Phase II of Eden Park,” said H Suresh Kumar, Head Marketing, L&T South City Projects.

Self-sufficient townships and neighbourhoods seem to be the catch phrase with several builders offering a host of facilities that make going to the main city a choice rather than a necessity. DABC, another builder whose integrated township Acacia (part of Arboretum) plans to provide its residents with a number of amenities like medical facility centres, eateries, club, bank counters & ATMs.

“Also on anvil is an international style mall and an amphitheatre which will take care of the entertainment needs of all our residents,” said R S Narayanaan, General Manager, DABC.

L&T is bringing into its premises the third branch of Padma Seshadhri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School. Admissions from KG up to standard five are open for now, with residents of Eden Park being given first preference.

Also within the walls are a supermarket, polyclinic and swimming pool among other facilities. Giving importance to security, Gemma Habitats is providing every house with security alarms that have sensors.

Most builders deny feeling threatened by the various new suburbs that are mushrooming around the city. The houses and the prices on OMR are structured to meet the IT professional's demand for a good life.

Whereas, in suburbs like Sriperumbudur and Oragadam the population there majorly works in the manufacturing and automobile sectors making their demands different from those wanting to invest on OMR.

For many builders OMR investments promise good returns and they want to look no further.

- Aruna V. Iyer,

Asha Sridhar