Viewpoint

'Location – Location – Location!'

It is believed that in the year 1926, it was first mentioned. That "Location, Location and Location" is the most important attribute to a property. It still holds true in many ways. Who can deny the tony neighborhoods of Alipore with tree lined boulevards or central Kolkata's proximity to entertainment zones like clubs and popular food joints.

But today, it has lost a lot of relevance owing to factors like technology, population explosion and changing priorities. I disagree that central Kolkata or for that matter a Ballygunge or a Bhawanipore is unquestionably the best place to stay in Kolkata.

Let us take an example of an office space in Dalhousie. If you reach Dalhousie after 9am, you will not get a parking space, unless you are willing to pay a ransom. If your customer has to visit you, he/she might shy away from a Dalhousie address simply because of the chaos it has to offer. Of course if one has to they do, but they do so with a grudge. And that's not a very good thing for business. Multiply this effect on several thousand small office owners, and it can be empirically proved that it results in much business loss. Who is gaining from this? The guy who has an office, say in Sector V, which welcomes visitors to its expansive layout compared to the original business district. Mumbai's Nariman point is facing similar competition from Bandra Kurla complex. Gurgaon and Noida are the preferred destinations for MNCs setting up shops in India, not CP. The "Location" has changed.

Coming back to residential spaces in Kolkata, I believe that Central Kolkata is one of the most congested and polluted areas to live in. You have filth and squalor in your backyard. The air has the maximum amount of suspended air particles possible doing irreversible damage to your health. Your children do not have the freedom to enjoy the greens…perhaps that’s why vacations are much coveted.

The development of New Town and luxury residences along the EM Bypass have been nothing short of a miracle for Kolkata. Wide and sprawling roads, hundreds of acres of green zones, public wifi, entertainment hotspots, all add to making it the place of choice to stay as a family in neighborhoods that embrace you. You will find an eclectic mix of high ranking retired officers and young dynamic corporate honchos in residential complexes and look forward to meaningful and enjoyable interactions with them. Senior citizens find a renewed interest in life with the plethora of engagements they immerse themselves in. Children skate and cycle around fearlessly within the confines.

The development of organized residential complexes has changed and redefined the meaning of location. If you have convenient access to the property, don't think twice. Get a much bigger apartment for the price, buy a big fat SUV, and even save money doing all this. In Kolkata we need to spread out and eject from this culture of location obsession.

Samir Prasad (The author is also the founder of real estate marketing and consulting firm Primo Estates. You can write to him at samir@primoestates.com )