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Property Plus — Chennai

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FAIR deals

Living Spaces- 2005, the property fair organised by Property Plus, attracted quality visitors that helped a number of exhibitors sew up business deals on the spot. Here's a sum-up by N. Ravi Kumar and Ranjani Govind.



Living Spaces 2005 proved to be a one-stop-shop. -- Pics. By K.V. Srinivasan & S.R. Raghunathan.

PROPERTY FAIRS are not new in fast evolving and dynamic realty markets like those of Chennai. Within a short span, the city has evolved from the realms of conservatism for which it was well known until the last decade and got into the grooves of a cosmopolitan metro. Conducting a property fair in this milieu is not easy. Fortunately, everything fell in place for Living Spaces-2005, the property fair organised by Property Plus in association with Ramco Industries in Chennai from January 28-31. Beginning with the exhibition venue to the rich variety of projects and products showcased by the participants and the combination of programmes organised as part of the event.

Over 30 leading builders showcased their realty projects in locations spread across the city, at different prices to suit the needs of every customer segment. The first link to make the fair comprehensive for the visitors — entry was by tickets priced at Rs.20 each — was the participation by 20 banks and financial institutions, from HDFC, ICICI, UTI Bank, Sundaram Finance, Indian Bank to Karur Vysya Bank.

"The fair was unique as 90 per cent of the customers (in the realty market of Chennai) have a look at Property Plus to aid in their decision. So if such a publication organises a fair, people are confident," said V. Naresh, Executive Director of Vijay Shanthi Builders, which promoted 10 projects at the fair and concluded spot bookings of Rs.3 crores.

Several of the visitors to our stall, he added, told us that though they had taken a decision on the property about a month ago, they wanted to finalise only after visiting Living Spaces 2005, as it was the first time that The Hindu was organising such an event.

Be it from the perspective of those interested in buying property; the builder community; or the other participants, whose activities could broadly be divided into home finance and household accessories, a lot of planning went into the event in terms of evaluating each segment's requirements.

"Most of them had an intention of buying property ... it was one of the best fairs that we have seen ... a lot of visitors," according to V. Sriram, Vice-President of Heritage Properties, a company that sold eight flats at its Perungudi project in the fair. "We are also confident that the three-four bookings for apartments, each of which is in the price range of Rs.55 lakhs, at our Chetpet project will soon fructify into purchases."

"The turnout was very good," said Pratish Devadoss, director of VGN Enterprises, a company engaged in promoting plots in several locations including Mogappair East and West, Potheri, Mugalivakkam and Vellappanchavadi. According to him, the fair helped the company create awareness about itself and the projects. "It was nice ... the people got to see our brand, logo ... many have given request for site visits." According to D. Ramalakshmi, Manager-Marketing of Doshi Housing, the response was very good and there were actual buyers. The company sold four apartments at its projects Mogappair, Velachery and Srinagar Colony. The entry fee ensured that only the serious customers came visiting, she said.

Forum attracts visitors

Aiding the fair's conceptualisation was Property Plus itself. Several of the one-year-old supplement's regular and popular columns were replicated. The highlight was the stalls under the `Forum' banner, where experts in the fields of architecture, landscape, taxation, legal issues pertaining to property and officials of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) responded to the visitors' queries.

Since taxation and legal issues are priority areas for those purchasing properties, the response to the stalls was just overwhelming. "One young couple working in the IT industry had actually brought their Form-16 for the current financial year. They said they had requested their employer to provide them the document (it is normally given after the fiscal) to make use of the Living Spaces-2005 about which they came to know in advance through the media," a taxation expert at the Forum stall said.


People stood in queue to seek guidance from some of the experts, even while the officials at the CMDA stalls remained busy answering queries about the regulations, approved land and received written complaints about builders. They are expected to address the issues and contact the complainant after conducting their investigation.

BSNL's broadband demo

Living Spaces-2005 also turned out to be a platform for new launches and products. It came in handy for positioning the products like the BSNL Chennai Telephones `Data One' broadband services. Apart from putting up huge banners that highlighted the cost benefits of the service by comparing the tariff of two other operators, the BSNL stall also had live broadband demonstration. The visitors were encouraged to view the video streaming and surf the Net to get a feel of broadband connection speeds, which is always over 256 kilobytes per seconds (kbps). Needless to mention, the crowd lapped it up making the BSNL stall perhaps the busiest.

Colourful accessories

Every stall was abuzz was activity, colourful and offered something different, be it in terms of the projects, interest rates or simpler procedures on home loan or a range of varied products from exquisitely carved doors, artificial flowers and plants, kitchenware, aquariums and decorative lights. "We zeroed in on a Heritage Apartment and fixed a loan from HDFC in just four hours flat. But at the accessories division, even with our second visit we are confused seeing the variety offered," said Aparna, an engineering graduate from Velachery, who was helping her parents get the best deal for a three-bedroom apartment.

Aparna's confusion is understandable. Making up the insides of a bare brick and mortar dwelling, with choices that would make anyone feel dizzy, isn't going to be an easy exercise.

Says lecturer, Jayanthi Rangaswamy from Besant Nagar, "It's better to be bewildered amidst air-conditioned stalls like this offering everything under one roof."

While the floral motifs on the cylindrical marble piece at the Vignesha Marbles stall caught Jayanthi's eye, her son was on a bounce at the wide spread of bean bags at Lazy Bags stall.

Even as smart, sleek and shining name plates in gold-coated brass and curtain rods beckoned visitors to Smart Creations, it was the black metal (wrought and cast iron) artistically twisted in garden furniture, gate designs and spiral staircases by Metalcraft that was making a new statement with people who didn't prefer the staid wooden makes anymore.

However, at the Ramco Cements pavilion there was a special kind of a bond! Even builders were eager to know more about the latest introduction, Ramco Tile Fix.

The pre-packed tile adhesive, which has Portland cement and other value-added additives is said to be ideal for top-down tiling application with general tiles.

And it was difficult to see what was cooking at the Cookscape stall put up by Orchid Designs as their modular units and the ones at Interface Modular Furniture and Creativ Kitchens were crammed with discerning people, even while Cuicina Products pitched in for ladies who wanted mere extra storage units added to their kitchens - Pull out units, corner units or drip trays... they had them all. The walls and the doors had their statements too... Sterling Dιcor's Gripper Lotus paints spoke of water repellent and anti-algae properties in their radiant hues. Radha International's Mexin Doors made of 18-guage galvanised steel from China and Parv Venturs' Pune-based entasafe entrance doors helped usher in the world of steel for providing exciting entry and exit points.

Now, don't we understand, anyone could be in Aparna's shoes!

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