It may be an unremarkable gate that receives one at the Epsilon gated community in Yemalur, off Old Airport Road, but it slides open to an experience of sorts. A plush driving range runs along a pebbled path to an assembly of mansions, each showing off luxurious designs, sprawling gardens, pools, tasteful decor and some of the city’s uber rich.
The by-invite project with a minimum buy of 10,000 square feet of land space is one of Bengaluru’s top addresses to own. With residents such as former Indian cricket team captain Rahul Dravid, Cisco India managing director Dinesh Malkani, Jockey India chairman Ashok Genomal and other newsmakers, Epsilon is nothing short of high-living. And the pioneer of a trend that has caught the city’s super rich by storm.
Gone are the days when independent bungalows signified social status in Bengaluru. Today, big ticket homes and by-invite abodes sell not only properties but also status, a snob value beyond wealth. The need to own “the address” has percolated into the pulse of the city, just as in Delhi and Mumbai that are known for their ostentatious real estate. Except that in Bengaluru, prices for luxury projects are tamer, ranging from Rs 2 crore to about Rs 30 crore, or Rs 8,000 to Rs 30,000 per square feet.
In just the first six months of this year, 1,058 luxury units were launched in Bengaluru, according to real estate consultant Knight Frank. “Residences that offer glamour and exclusivity along with the usual standard amenities have become increasingly fascinating to luxury home buyers as they want their homes to reflect their lifestyle,” said Satish BN, executive director (south) at Knight Frank India. Taking luxury to the next level are theme-based residential developments revolving around golf greens, sports village, or Mediterranean settings, he said.
By several expert accounts, the top five tony addresses to own in Bengaluru are: Epsilon in Yemalur, Mantri Altius on Cubbon Road, Embassy Boulevard in Yelahanka, Van Gogh’s Garden by Total Environment on Lavelle Road, and Prestige Golfshire in Devanahalli. What makes these addresses distinct is their exclusivity, affordable only to some of the country’s richest, whom the city has in significant numbers.
“Due to the presence of almost one third of the country’s high net-worth individuals here, the demand for luxury real estate is very high,” said Ashwinder Raj Singh, chief executive, residential services, at property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle, India.
Chaitanya Cotha, executive director of the 140-year-old jewellery retailer C Krishniah Chetty & Sons, admitted that the snob value these addresses afford is a major draw. “Primary location, proximity to my offices, large space and exclusivity are deal clinchers,” said Cotha, a resident of Mantri Altius.
Properties priced the north of Rs 18,000 per square feet are selling like hot cakes, said Swaroop Anish, executive director, business development at Prestige Group.
The drivers of this demand are the growing community of corporate and IT bigwigs as well as venture capitalists who are making India’s startup capital their home. This well-travelled crowd likes replicating their flamboyant lifestyle. Startup professionals like “to show off their new status,” said Amit Bagaria, chairman, luxury real estate consultancy Asipac. “There is a need to make their families part of elite social circles. This was never true for old Bengalureans.”