Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Trichy - Ready to hit boiling point

Tamil Nadu’s fourth largest city and India’s boiler capital, Tiruchirapalli (Trichy) is a fast growing tier II destination where realty scene has seen a gradual shift. Housing Asia’s largest boiler manufacturing facility, it has gained recognition as a hub for power equipment manufacturing, fabrication and ancillaries. Public sector heavyweight BHEL kickstarted the industrial growth and now several players like Ceethar Vessels, GB Engineering and Veesons Engineering have emerged on the national scene.
Recently, it saw the entry of tyre major MRF and auto component Rane Group’s decision to concentrate its activities in Trichy giving a further fillip to its growth momentum. Trichy has easy connectivity to Chennai, Tuticorin, Coimbatore, Kochi, Bangalore and Mangalore.
"The land is fertile. There is no water shortage. The presence of educational institutions has contributed immensely to the knowledge pool. Though IT penetration is gradual, the airport expansion activity has kindled the interest of investors," says Kaveri Medical Centre (KMC) ED S Manivannan.
While realty prices have soared in sparsely-populated areas like Thillai Nagar, Cantonment area and Thiruverumbur, temple town Srirangam is densely populated. The appreciation in this town has been phenomenal as the temple’s serene atmosphere has lured several top-level retirees, besides NRIs and ex-military officials.
Land prices have doubled in the last one year but are still affordable. An acre on the highway costs about Rs 25 lakh. Prices of plots in good location are doubling. For example, a five-acre plot, purchased by a hospital few years ago, has buyers offering 2.5 times than the original price, says a long-time resident. Now customers prefer apartments to independent bungalows. In Srirangam, the rates were ruling at Rs 500 per sq ft three years ago. Now, the prevailing rates are Rs 1,500 per sq ft, industry observers said.
Though Trichy has still not attracted major developers, a handful of recognised builders like Rohini, Mangalam Real Estates, Lavanya Properties, Vignesh and Ganesh Builders dominate the realty scene. Some of them execute the high-priced apartment projects, while others cater to the budget house segment.The development in the region would be more pronounced once the airport expansion project over 50 acres is completed. Salary levels have also been going up, observers said, adding Trichy does not have arterial roads. Even development is confined to some pockets with commercial activity concentrated in Thillai Nagar and Main Guard Gate.
When the Rs 15-crore Rohini group launched its Vaastugram (65 independent two and three-bedroom) housing project on Mellur Road in Srirangam, the rates were Rs 1,450 per sq ft (Rs 20 lakh). Of this, 40 houses were sold for Rs 30 lakh, when the prices touched Rs 2,000 per sq ft, says Rohini Group chief MV Maruthachalam, former head of Trichy Flat Promoters Association (TFPA). Since 1990, TFPA has 55 members in its fold and barring a few, rest have stayed in the realty business, he said.
Describing the Trichy property scene as encouraging and prosperous, he said unlike in other cities, it is recession-free. The growth has been slow, yet steady. Prices have escalated in the last year to touch Rs 4,000 per sq ft for apartments. Commercial rentals have also been going up backed up by a premium advance. Peak rates in NS Bose Road, Big Bazaar area have been Rs 100 to Rs 200 per sq ft, whereas in Thillai Nagar and Cantonment, it has been in the Rs 25 to Rs 75 per sq ft range.
Trichy’s retail landscape is changing with Reliance, More, Joyalukkas and Chennai Silks setting up shops there. Reliance and More have three outlets each, while Spencer’s hypermarket is coming in the Cantonment area on 25,000 sq ft. Apparently, the retail biggie has paid Rs 30 per sq ft.


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