Jumabhoy family developing luxury villas in Bangalore

The Jumabhoy family, once the richest Indian family in Singapore, is developing luxury villas in the Indian city of Bangalore, and the units will be made available to investors in Singapore in a private preview this Saturday.

This is the first property development under the Jumabhoy family name in more than a decade.

The Jumabhoy family migrated from western India to Singapore in 1916, and made a name for themselves in real estate, developing Scotts Shopping Centre and the Ascott.

At its peak, their listed Scotts Holdings had assets worth almost S$750 million and a presence in Southeast Asia, the UK and Australia.

But a split among family members led to a sale of its main property assets in the late nineties.

Now, members of the family’s third generation – Iqbal, Asad and Mimi Somjee – are engineering a comeback through a real estate vehicle, Raffles Residency.

Its first project, Raffles Park, consists of 61 villas spread over 15 acres of land in Bangalore.

The first phase, comprising 10 villas, was only marketed in India and has been fully sold.

Phase 2, comprising 15 villas, will now be open to non-resident Indians – referring to persons of Indian origin and overseas citizens of India – and India-incorporated companies in Singapore.

With an average plot area of 4,500 square feet, each unit will sell for around S$1.32 million.

Mr Iqbal Jumabhoy is upbeat about the project he has undertaken with his siblings Asad and Mimi Somjee.

He said: “Interestingly, we have not even launched it. We have had a preview in Bangalore, and on the back of that preview, we actually sold 20 per cent of the houses pretty much without a launch. And in Singapore too, we are doing very targeted meetings with people. And we are showing it for the first time here.”

Commenting on what gave him and his siblings the idea to enter the Indian property market, Mr Iqbal Jumabhoy said: “To start with, we had the land. The second part of it, was therefore, what to do with it.

“The easiest thing would be to sell it or team up with another developer. But the fact that we had an existing team of people within The WIRE Group – which is another company that I formed some years ago – gave us the courage to work on this together.

“The second is that Bangalore is the IT hub of India, and the consequence of that is that you have got a large number of senior professionals who have lived or worked abroad, and they come back with expectations and needs, which perhaps (are) not easily served by the existing products.”

When asked what is next after Raffles Park, Mr Iqbal Jumabhoy said: “We are currently in discussion on a couple of other projects. One of them is an extension to the existing Raffles Park, and we are in discussions with surrounding landowners.

“The second is a much larger project. That project, if it comes through, is with a landowner who owns between 150 to 200 acres of land. So that would be a slightly different kind of project.”

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 4 Mar 2014

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