Shridhar Narayan, Group Director and CEO – Hiranandani Group Infrastructure

With more than 1.42 billion people – an increase of one billion in less than 60 years – India will overtake China to become the most populous country on the planet in less than two years. World Bank projections predict that number will rise to 1.64 billion by 2050.

And, despite the tragic devastation of COVID-19, the economy is expected to grow by more than 4% over the next four years as the government scrambles to implement infrastructure projects in major cities to cope with demand for housing.

It has pledged to build an astounding 20 million affordable homes by next year and is investing billions in its Smart City project, a colossal initiative to build 100 high-tech communities with the help of the industry. private.

No wonder then that the real estate market is expected to be worth more than $ 1 trillion by the end of the decade and account for more than 13% of the country’s total gross domestic product.

And at the forefront of the investment boom is the Hiranandani Group, one of the subcontinent’s biggest developers. Group Director and CEO – Infrastructure Shridhar Narayan argues that it’s not just the number of people that is changing. “India is getting more and more ambitious,” he says The CEO magazine.

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“More than 50% of the population is under 25, so everything changes culturally. COVID-19 has tarnished some progress, but it has also accentuated the shift to new technologies. Seniors are getting used to digital transformation. I even see middle-aged women, who went to stores, clicking to order groceries.

The opportunities have led to an increase in private real estate investment, peaking at US $ 8.8 billion in 2018, according to real estate research firm Knight Frank. But Indian companies are not being beefed up by multinationals, in part because of another government program. “The manufacturing sector has seen tremendous growth thanks to the Make in India movement,” says Shridhar.

“This has led to an increase in indigenous technology and real estate infrastructure, and it will make India a place of excellence in the coming years, where local businesses thrive and internationals realize that we are a place. very competitive to set up factories.

Hiranandani was co-founded in 1978 by self-made billionaire Niranjan Hiranandani and his brother Surendra. The duo bought 101 hectares of land in the Mumbai region from Powai to turn it into a township. Since then, the company has become renowned for building high quality residential and industrial communities, winning numerous architectural awards.

The most famous is the Hiranandani Gardens in Powai, an upscale collection of condominiums, penthouses, a shopping mall, schools, and offices amid thousands of trees and lush lawns. “We’ve built an entire township and no one who lives there wants to leave because they love it so much,” Shridhar beams.

Create communities

One of the company’s crown jewels is the exclusive township of Thane, northeast of Mumbai, a vibrant art deco and neoclassical smart city of 7,000 people overlooking the beautiful Yeoor Hills and the Ulhas River. Its 120 residential blocks, shops, business parks, swimming pools and schools are set in the middle of landscaped gardens. Many see him as a model for the hundreds of housing projects currently being planned across India.

“It is also the most sustainable in the entire Mumbai region with beautiful gardens, walking distance to offices, green energy and environmentally friendly building materials. “We are always striving to shape people’s aspirations, to improve lives through innovation, by providing world-class infrastructure and smart public services. The reason for our success is that we create homes, industrial premises and educational institutions that have lasting value and are loved by residents.

Indeed, it is this customer satisfaction that Shridhar values ​​the most and that she has enshrined in the values ​​of the company. “We pursue a philosophy of customer enjoyment in all aspects. They will be delighted with the cost, the design, the engineering and the fact that it is delivered on time and on budget, ”he says.

“We always achieve long-term value for all of our stakeholders in the businesses we operate. From the start, we established ourselves as developers of high quality infrastructure.

It was in Powai in 2016 that Shridhar oversaw India’s largest real estate private equity deal, a deal with Brookfield Asset Management of Canada to sell 42 hectares of office and retail space for US $ 1 billion. . The offices are fully let by tenants including Deloitte, Tata Consultancy Services and Nomura Group.

India is getting more and more ambitious.

Today, one of Hiranandani’s main focus is high-end offices with cutting-edge technology. “We plan to build on nearly 140 hectares of portfolio assets over the next five to seven years, with a focus on innovation and excellence in design. This means logistics based on sensors, biometrics and touch screens, but always optimized for profitability, ”he shares.

“We use smart technology to identify subtle nuances that enhance the customer experience that customers themselves wouldn’t even see. We could just make simple deals, build each building exactly as it’s on the plan, but we use our experience and know-how to make them so much better for the same price.

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Shridhar joined the company in 2015 with a clear mandate to accelerate major acquisitions and to reorganize and structure the growth of the real estate platform. He incubated and created a pan-Indian platform called GreenBase for industrial and logistics infrastructure activities, a major diversification strategy for the group.

The plan is to attract new investors to build 112 hectares of factories, warehouses and offices. “The main driver of our success is our people. They really are like family to us, and we make sure that we always have a great working environment where everyone feels responsible for every project, ”said Shridhar.

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“I created a rule that everyone, whether it’s the head of asset management, sales, leasing, operations or approvals, comes together to make it a success. We preach the acronym TEAM, which stands for “Together, Everyone Accomplishes More”.

And as the country expands its infrastructure to cope with an additional 200 million citizens, there is going to be a lot more to do.

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