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Jumabhoys' villa project in India off to a good start

SINGAPORE'S well-known Jumabhoy family may dramatically lift its land holdings in India's Silicon Valley after the early success of a villa project there.

Posted on 06-Mar-2014
By: Rachel Scully

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Jumabhoys' villa project in India off to a good start

SINGAPORE'S well-known Jumabhoy family may dramatically lift its land holdings in India's Silicon Valley after the early success of a villa project there.

Mr Iqbal Jumabhoy, 56, and two of his siblings started an Indian real estate firm, Raffles Residency, and rolled out a 61-private villa project late last year.

The proposed Raffles Park estate occupies 15 acres in the Whitefield area of Bangalore - a precinct popular with non-resident Indians and well-heeled locals.

It is a gated community akin to cluster housing projects in Singapore, Mr Jumabhoy told The Straits Times.

It is less than a 10-minute drive from IT firms in the area, and 3km from a new train line that will be ready in 2017.

The Jumabhoys are behind iconic property developments such as Scotts Shopping Centre, and were considered one of South-east Asia's wealthiest non-Chinese families at their peak.

Each of the three-storey villas will have a built-up area of 6,000 sq ft and and cost between $1.2 million and $1.3 million. The project is expected to be completed late next year or early 2016.

Even before its official launch, 10 units were sold to executives and businessmen after its first preview in Bangalore last October. "On average, one or two villas are sold a month in Bangalore, but we have exceeded that because of the user-centric design and concept," he said.

For instance, all villas come with a private lift and a bedroom on the ground floor to cater to multi-generational families.

Mr Jumabhoy was one of the 10 buyers.

A second preview will be held in Singapore this weekend at The Regent Hotel.

Persons-of-Indian origin (PIOs) or holders of an Overseas Citizenship of India card are eligible to buy the property. An estimated 217,000 PIOs live in Singapore, based on data captured by the Indian government.

"The project should appeal to those living here and in the region that understand the quality offering we are proposing," he said.

The going rental rates for villas in the area is about 300,000 rupees (S$6,000) a month, which translates to a 6 per cent yield, he added.

The success of Raffles Park has prompted Mr Jumabhoy and his siblings to start talks with owners of surrounding land plots. Preliminary discussions have also commenced to purchase at least 150 acres of land in the area for another residential development.

When asked if the Jumabhoys will venture into retirement villages or homes with more elder-friendly facilities, he said that is an option they would consider.

"But we are still in the very early stages of negotiations and want the Raffles Park project to take off first," Mr Jumabhoy said.

The project's official launch is expected to be held in Bangalore in the next few months.

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