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How Ahmedabad is changing
Ravi Teja Sharma in New Delhi
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January 06, 2007

There is a huge rush of activity in the area between the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway (SG Highway) and SP Ring Road in Ahmedabad. This area has been notified as the R3 zone. This zone is only for bungalows with a minimum plot size of 1,200 sq yard. Only 15 per cent of the area is allowed to be built upon, so what we will see here soon will be sprawling state-of-the-art bungalows.

Many people who had large bungalows on 1,500 sq yards of land on CG Road and the area around it are raking it in today. The land price on CG Road right now is between Rs 60,000-70,000 per sq yard.

From here, most are moving to places like Prahlad Nagar on SG Highway or just beyond to areas like Bopal, Ambli, Shilaj, Bodakdev, Khoraj, Rancharda and Thaltej. There, at a fraction of the cost (compared to CG Road), they can get a four-bedroom high-end apartment or a five-bedroom independent bungalow.

Everyone who is looking for a quieter area is running out of the city, but the good part about Ahmedabad is its well-planned structure.

Newer residential areas in the R2 and R3 zones are very close to SG Highway, which is the main commercial hub at the moment. There are supermarkets and big malls on SG Road already, and more are being planned.

The residential development is mainly happening towards the west and some in the north side of the city. Though only a few townships have been announced as yet, what is catching up in Ahmedabad are small residential developments with bungalows or apartment complexes.

Architect Hiren Patel is doing a project called Vraj gardens in the R3 zone. Housed here will be private farm houses and bungalows. The large area available for construction means most people come to him for customised designs.

The houses include landscaped gardens, extensive water features, gazebo seating outside, glass corridors between rooms (giving a feeling of walking through the garden).

"Some of the houses are even modern glass buildings sheilded by greenery for privacy (which is not an issue anyway because the houses are so far apart)," says Patel. Such bungalows, including the land, could cost Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million).

The Heritage Group has projects spread out around the city. They are planning a 200-bungalow scheme at Sola near the science city. These will be four-bedroom twin bungalows which will cost Rs 40 lakh (Rs 4 million) and above. On 40 acres at Koba on the way to Gandhinagar, Heritage has a farmhouse scheme with houses on 4,000 sq yard plots (Rs 1.5-1.75 crore -- Rs 15-17.5 million).

"Close to the same location, we have a plan for service apartments as well, to cater to the IT parks coming up on that stretch," informs Utkarsh Shah, CMD, Heritage Group.

Famous architect Hafeez Contractor is also doing a project in Ahmedabad for the Heritage Group called the Heritage Skies.

"There has not been much high-end development in Ahmedabad till now. We are trying to set new standards for Ahmedabad," says Rajeev Trehan, senior associate, Architect Hafeez Contractor.

In their bungalow design at Heritage Skies, they are looking at doing something different (at least for the Ahmedabad market) -- double-height entrance, quality driveway, better detailing, basement for parking. A club with a fitness centre is also planned.

Sarthav Infrastructure is another developer building 43 bungalows at Ambali near SG Highway. Sanjay Sutaria, MD, Sarthav Infrastructure ,  informs that the bungalows can cost anywhere between Rs 1.5-2.5 crore (Rs 15-25 million). He is planning a club house, a health club and a swimming pool too, around the bungalows.

A lifestyle community is being developed on 78 acres by Navratna with 300 bungalows, which as Pranav Shah, MD, Navratna Organisers and Developers puts it, can be categorised as villas as well.

The community is at Shilaj beyond SG Highway on the western outskirts of Ahmedabad. It's only seven kms from the city. Intrestingly, Navratna is offers prospective buyers about 50 different designs to choose from to build their 2-3-5 bedroom bungalows. Called Kalhaar Bungalows, the range here starts from Rs 40 lakh and goes up to Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million)-plus.

Besides two club houses, a swimming pool, the community will also have a temple and a shopping complex along with 40 common open spaces.

Large townships have also been planned. Adani, for instance, has partnered with Ahmedabad-based Ashima group's Saumya Constructions to develop a 200-hectare integrated township called Shantigram.

The township will include apartments, individual bungalows, shopping malls, offices and entertainment complexes.

"It will be a totally self-sustained township, with its own civic centre, golf course, cricket ground, a recreation club with all the facilities, hotels, restaurants, hospitals," says Chintan Parikh, CEO, Adani Townships & Real Estate Company (ATRECO).

The township, which is just eight kms from Ahmedabad on SG Road, will also include a 20-hectare IT/ITes SEZ. There will be two schools and a couple of higher education institutions also located in the township. The total investment in the project is expected to cross Rs 4,500 crore (Rs 45 billion).

Venus Projects is also doing an integrated township for which they are roping in a foreign architect. The 350-acre integrated township called Venus Metropolis is close to SP Ring Road and will have condominiums, twin bungalows and apartments in the range of Rs 20 lakh (Rs 2 million) and Rs 1 crore.

Apart from a hospital, schools and a college, the township is expected to get two hotels too.

With so many townships being planned, realty's the new face of Ahmedabad.

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