Founded in 1987 by first generation entrepreneur Rohtas Goel, Omaxe used to undertake construction contracts. After proving its prowess, the company diversified in the real estate sector in 2001 with path breaking projects that set the trend for future developments in NCR in luxury housing and integrated township projects.
Foreseeing the potential of state capitals and Tier II & III cities as future engines of growth, the company made inroads into cities like Lucknow, New Chandigarh, Indore, Ludhiana etc. in 2005. It created several lifestyle and landscape transforming projects that are not just landmarks but are setting new benchmarks in project innovation.
Omaxe has delivered approx. 127 million sq. ft. and is currently undertaking 21 real estate projects across 27 cities and 8 states.
What, in your opinion, is the current state of the real estate industry in India, focusing on the lockdown and unlock phase?
The overhang of subdued demand from last quarter of 2019 continued into fiscal year 2020 and with the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown in March, the real estate sector went from bad to worse. The migration of labours and disruption in supply of raw materials saw a stoppage in construction activities. Rent negotiations by retailers amidst no/low footfall in malls and WFH adversely affected the retail and office segments. On the back of government stimulus and RBI’s liquidity measures, there was some uptick in housing demand post the partial opening of the economy.
The positives that have emerged from the COVID-19 crisis, namely homebuyers’ inclination towards State Capitals and Tier II/III cities, preference for integrated townships which provide open, green and hygienic spaces besides large sized homes, increased preference for organised retail spaces etc will form the cornerstone of the coming decades of growth in the real estate sector and overall Indian economy.
How has this current state impacted the progress of upcoming malls in India? Kindly elaborate from your brand’s perspective.
The rental income due to the pandemic has dropped by as high as 25 percent in some cases. While some retailers shut stores, others operated with renegotiated rentals. The past few weeks have seen increased footfall in malls and the immunization efforts of the Government will determine how quickly the situation returns to pre-COVID levels. Real estate companies have been cautious in the announcement of new malls with focus being entirely on regaining the lost footfalls and rentals in their existing malls.
We have started offering fit outs in our O&M mall in Amritsar and have recently opened a new supply of office space in Novelty Mall in Amritsar. In our malls in Greater Noida, Ludhiana, Patiala and Amritsar, footfall is gradually returning and we take it as a positive step towards normalcy.
How are you dealing with construction, leasing, revenue, and manpower wrt the current crisis situation? (Explain all three points separately)
We are committed to the delivery timelines of our residential and commercial properties. A developer’s ability to sell reflects their ability to deliver and the past few months, despite the pandemic, have shown how Omaxe has been an outlier in the real estate market.
As for construction, use of advanced construction technologies in Omaxe Chowk will help meet the committed delivery timeline of July 2022. Similarly, construction of malls, high street and office spaces in World Street, Faridabad is also progressing briskly.
Leasing efforts are on in our other operational and upcoming malls and high streets across India. Common grounds and joint efforts with retailers are being done to ensure a win-win for all – devising new ways to enhance revenue and footfall.
How do you plan to prepare yourself from a similar situation in coming times?
We do realise that such “act of god” events occur once in a century. Even as malls and contact services will be adversely affected again, but we are prepared to deal with any other eventuality that may arise due to changes in policy or macro-economic environment in the country.