Mar 1 2018 | Realty Zone

Mayur Shah, Managing Director, Marathon Group and President CREDAI,MCHI

Demonetization has had a considerable impact on real estate sector. However, larger, organized players who conduct their business transparently like Marathon Group were less impacted. Demonetisation lead to a decrease in real estate demand overall with home buyers adopting a wait and watch mentality. However, this should be seen as a corrective measure that has brought some discipline to the sector that has remained unorganized to a major extent. Though the sector was facing some trying times in the early days of demonetization, however things are settling now.

Mayur Shah, Managing Director, Marathon Group and President CREDAI,MCHI shares insights with Sandeep Sharma about his Group’s contribution towards the real estate sector, prominent projects undertake, project execution challenges, latest realty trends, market scenario, green building development, impact of demonetization and RERA.

Could you brief us about your contribution to the real estate sector in India?
Over the last 49 years, Marathon Group has made its mark on the real estate sector in Mumbai. We are proud to have completed over 80 projects, providing homes for more than 5000 families, retail space for 400 retailers and offices for 350 businesses. Our projects are spread across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). The group is headquartered in Mulund, where we started operations in 1969. Our acquisition of mill land in Lower Parel was a game changer, and we developed several award winning projects including the mixed used Marathon Era campus, and several commercial projects like Marathon Futurex and Icon.

Marathon Group is a design driven company and some of our skyscrapers are iconic landmarks like Marathon Era and Marathon Vista with their pleasing curving façade. Our flagship green commercial tower at Parel, Marathon Futurex, houses some of the largest business houses like L’Oreal, Zee, Tata and more. With the leadership team comprising of seasoned technocrats, Marathon has always emphasised on construction quality and uses cutting edge construction technology and best practices. We were amongst the first groups to adopt the aluminium construction technology which has now become a norm and enables speedier and better quality construction. We also have a history of innovation – we built the first high rise in Mulund with an elevator, the first residential tower in Mumbai with a helipad and the first developer to offer our customers the convenience of e-registration of agreements for our Panvel project.

Brief us about your prominent projects?
Marathon has been present in residential as well as commercial projects in Mumbai, Thane and
Navi Mumbai. Marathon Group is developing ‘Marathon Nexzone’ a township project at one of the most promising locations in the country - Panvel. Located just 15 minutes from the upcoming international airport, ‘Marathon Nexzone’, spread over 25 plus acres of land is strategically located and a thoughtfully planned township project. The first phase of Nexzone features 12 skyscrapers with well planned 2BHK, 2.5 BHK and combination apartments with gorgeous views of the Matheran hills. Nexzone offers a host of world-class amenities including a large clubhouse, a swimming pool, a state of the art gymnasium, beautifully designed landscaped areas and more. The project effectively satisfies the criteria of modern day living, elegance and luxury at its best.

Marathon Nexworld is a revolutionary township located at Dombivli E. Nexworld is a proposed 25+ acre township, with Phase 1 featuring 2 stunning glass façade skyscrapers with 1 and 2 BHK homes.

Monte South is a luxury residential project at Byculla. It is a venture undertaken in partnership with India’s leading corporate house - Adani Realty, and offers 2.5 BHK, 3.5 BHK and combination apartments. The proposed 60 storey skyscrapers are designed by leading architect Hafeez Contractor.

What kind of challenges do you face in project execution?
Faster approvals on projects and environment clearances for the projects top the demands from the sector representatives. Although the Construction technology has progressed, but  the bottleneck is longer due to construction and procedural timelines.

Could you share with us latest real estate buying trends? Whether discount has become the norm?
In terms of projects, demand is been witnessed in the mid-segment housing sector. Township projects located in growth corridors are more in demand from the millennials. With property rates in the island city increasingly becoming unaffordable and with scarcity of space, more and more home buyers are looking to locations like Panvel and Dombivli, which offer the benefit of larger homes and great amenities with the promise of great connectivity that is set to further improve due to major infrastructure projects coming up in these regions.

Home buying does require a huge investment. Stamp duties, GST are additional cost that home buyers have to pay. Any relief in stamp duty, GST or any form of discount reduces the financial burden on the home buyer to some extent. These days home buyers do expect a relief in the form of discounts, however buyers are also increasingly well informed and assess projects holistically, therefore only discounting gimmicks will not work if your product does not back it up.

How the real estate market is shaping up in your strong hold?
Marathon group is present in all the growth corridors of the MMR like South Mumbai, Mulund, Kalyan-Shil road, Dombivli, Panvel. Real Estate in these locations is growing at a phenomenal rate due to its proximity to Mumbai city and infrastructure development in these locations. Locations like Dombivli, Badlapur, Panvel have residential townships in the affordable mid-segment category with latest lifestyle amenities. Infrastructure in all these locations is been developed to connect these locations with Mumbai and nearby cities. These locations are also at a close distance from business districts. Hence plenty of job opportunities are available for home buyers.

How far demonetization has affected the real estate sector?
Demonetization has had a considerable impact on real estate sector. However, larger, organized players who conduct their business transparently like Marathon Group were less impacted. Demonetisation lead to a decrease in real estate demand overall with home buyers adopting a wait and watch mentality. However, this should be seen as a corrective measure that has brought some discipline to the sector that has remained unorganized to a major extent. Though the sector was facing some trying times in the early days of demonetization, however things are settling now.

Are you into green building development?
Being a responsible corporate entity, Marathon Group does believe in contributing towards conserving energy and battling climate change. The group has developed a commercial building Marathon Futurex at Lower Parel which has earned it the coveted gold category LEEDS- precertification by implementing green building features. The green features include use of Low E-value glasses, energy efficient lifts, solar envelope study, low VoC materials. The Low E-value glass is an effective energy saving tool that allows maximum natural light to get in while keeping the heat out, thus enhancing efficiency of cooling units.

The 22 high speed elevators at Marathon Futurex are controlled by traffic management programs in a way, that they generate energy while they travel down and use the same energy while travelling up, thus saving power.
Marathon Futurex is one of the few projects in Mumbai for which a thorough study was conducted on Sun movement titled as solar envelope study, before embarking on a design that utilizes maximum natural resources and reduces energy consumption. This has resulted in energy savings of up to 20 percent.

Marathon Futurex is probably city’s first commercial building with over 15 sky gardens that enables the occupants to remain close to nature.

Eco friendly materials such as fly ash, micro silica and low volatile paints have been used in the building.
What can be the impact of Real Estate Regulatory Act, 2016 (RERA) on the real estate companies and the buyers at large?

RERA is a policy that gets the credit of bringing in discipline and making it an organized sector. The policy has mainly helped the sector to get rid of fly by night developers. Today consumers have greater confidence and transparency when they enter in to a real estate deal. We welcome the introduction of RERA which increases accountability on the part of developers and increases customer confidence. Marathon Group has always been committed to transparency and we view RERA as a significant boost to the industry.

Do you see a day when common man would be in a position to afford decent shelter?
This is the best time for a common man to buy a home in the affordable segment. The current government has come up with multiple initiatives to achieve its mission of ‘Housing for All by 2022’. Right from lowering rate of interest to maximizing the definition of carpet area under the affordable housing segment, to easy provision of home loan for houses under affordable segment, the government has done all for a common man to buy a home in this segment. Initiatives like the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana which provides credit linked subsidy to home buyers in economically weaker segments and middle and low income segments upto Rs. 2.67 lacs can help boost demand for affordable housing. Moreover the recent announcement to reduce effective GST rate to 8% for projects with an infrastructure status also increases affordability for the common man.

As the country gears up to develop 100 Smart Cities, what kind of opportunities do you see for your company?
Housing is an essential element of smart city. Provision of better infrastructure and jobs will provide us with more opportunities to develop housing infrastructure in these smart cities. Our townships like Nexzone at Panvel, Nextown and Nexworld at Dombivli are near proposed smart cities and stand to benefit from the civic amenities that the smart city initiatives are set to bring in.