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Premier office buildings in BKC filling-up fast. What should occupiers look for as an alternative?

Gautam Saraf • 11/07/2022

Being the most prime micro-market of Mumbai, Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) houses an illustrious list of office addresses or commercial real estate projects in the city. Erstwhile envisaged as the “premier finance district” of the city, today BKC not only hosts leading banking institutions such as ICICI Bank, Bank of America, Citibank, and Kotak, but also top-tier occupiers in the consulting, real estate, private equity, and technology sectors namely McKinsey, GIC and Meta to name a few. The superior connectivity that this micro-market offers to occupiers, both from the Western and Eastern corridors of the city, is a big plus for occupiers. Besides, the quality of Grade-A office supply offered in BKC is unparalleled compared to most other micro-markets.

The revival in office real estate markets post the pandemic has largely benefited the CBD micro-market such as BKC, as occupiers now demand a powerful tool to attract employees back to work – superior buildings with modern amenities, good connectivity, and quality social infrastructure.  At present, BKC is home to about 11 msf of office space, out of which nearly 55% is superior grade buildings that offer modern & discerning amenities to its occupiers. The BKC market on an average trades at around INR 260 psf per month whereas the superior buildings command 15-20% higher and this universe of buildings is soon heading towards low single-digit vacancy. The premier quotient enjoyed by BKC has even led to global investors such as Blackstone and Brookfield acquiring prominent assets over the years.

In the last five years, a mere 2.8 msf of new supply was added to the total inventory, and going forward, there is merely 0.2 msf supply anticipated in next two years. With an annual average gross leasing activity of nearly a million square feet witnessed over the last five years, the submarket has been an ‘option constraint’ market. The buoyancy witnessed in office leasing during the last 2-3 quarters has resulted in hardly any quality supply being available of larger floor plates (30,000 sf plus) with good amenities that top-tier occupiers’ demand. Leading multinational occupiers will soon have no choice but to look for micro-markets other than BKC. Other micro-markets in Mumbai that could potentially fill the gap in supply could be prime buildings in the Off-BKC (Kurla-Kalina) belt or the Worli-Lower Parel markets.

The Off-BKC and the Worli-Lower Parel micro-markets have witnessed an influx of quality Grade-A supply in recent years and has seen the participation of institutional capital as well. The level of professionalism in dealing with such landlords attracts many top-tier occupiers, and the quality of amenities in such buildings is more preferred. With several critical infrastructure projects on the anvil of completion, the connectivity in some of these markets will be comparable with the best in the city.

Off-BKC: Kalina, Kurla (West)

Located closest to the BKC micro-market, this is a great alternative for surplus demand to spill over from BKC. Quality commercial buildings such as Brookfield’s Equinox Business Park and likewise have seen good traction over the last 6-8 quarters with occupiers such as State Street Capital, Tata Communications, Magma Corp, and Nuvoco Vistas Corp. New supply of about 1.03 msf is anticipated over next few years in this market from prominent developers like Sunteck Realty and Piramal Developers through projects like Piramal Agastya-II, Sunteck Icon, and Sunteck Gateway 51.

This micro-market will soon enjoy improved accessibility with the upcoming Metro Line 2 (Dahisar-Bandra-Mandale) and Line 3 (SEEPZ-BKC-Colaba) expected to be operational by 2023 and 2024, respectively.

Lower Parel

Lower Parel is well-connected from the Southern, Central, and Western corridors of the city through the suburban rail network. Besides, the upcoming metro line 3 (SEEPZ-BKC-Colaba), expected to be operational by 2024, will further improve last-mile connectivity in many places. The existing Monorail Line 1 (Wadala-Jacob circle) has helped to establish good connectivity with the city’s harbor line areas (Chembur-Wadala). The micro-market fairs well in terms of social infrastructure aspects being a prominent city residential precinct.

Office spaces such as Lodha One Place, One International Centre, One World Centre etc are prominent alternatives offering quality Grade-A spaces with occupiers like Deloitte, Ernst & Young, RBL Bank, NDTV, and Aditya Birla. Also, close to 0.92 msf of additional supply is by end of next year.

Worli

The Bandra-Worli sea link connectivity has reinstated the significance of Worli as a preferred business destination with seamless connectivity from the Southern and Western corridors of the city. The upcoming Metro Line 3 is expected to be in operation by 2024, and the prestigious coastal road project will together boost its significance further. The real estate landscape of Worli has been changing with prominent CRE developers like K Raheja Corp and GIC-Provenance Land etc announcing their projects. Together, these projects would offer close to 4 msf of quality supply in the coming years.

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