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Corporate Report

Published on: Aug. 31, 2023, noon
Ferns Estates explores newer avenues
  • Rosetta by Ferns Sakleshpur near Bengaluru

By Arbind Gupta. Assistant Editor, Business India

Ferns Estates & Developers is a pioneer in premium gated communities and villas in the Bengaluru market. Having started its journey in 1988, Bengaluru-headquartered Ferns Estates has built a portfolio of 14 million sq feet across gated communities, villas, row houses, apartments and IT complexes in the IT capital of India. In 2017, it successfully completed one of its finest commercial projects till date, Ferns Galaxy. Spread over one million sq ft, the project is proud to host Microsoft as its tenant.

Currently, Ferns Estates has a pipeline of 4 million sq feet under development which includes gated communities like the 50-acre Ferns Forest View located near Vijayapura in north Bengaluru; Ferns Residency, another 50-acre project off Hennur main road in Bengaluru; the 30-acre Ferns Gardenia off Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru and Ferns Manor, 21 acres, on Doddabalapur Road, Bengaluru.

“In a city like Bengaluru that is inclined towards apartments and independent homes only, the concept of ‘Gated Communities’ has opened new avenues for home buyers. The most discerning home seekers are welcoming this innovative concept that offers paradise abodes. We intend to locate our developments at balanced locales. Since the very beginning, all the establishments have been giving appreciable returns. It has been a highly profitable investment and looks even brighter in the future. Not just Bengaluru residents, a substantial number of NRIs and other city residents have benefitted by investing in Ferns Estates,” says Errol Fernandes, 50, chairman & managing director, Ferns Estates & Developers.

Experts are of the opinion that Indian cities, especially the metropolitan ones, have been witnessing a substantial rise in gated communities. A leading management consulting firm predicts that in the next 5 years, there will be a minimum of 24 million households living in gated communities. However, this phenomenon is not restricted to India. It has emerged as a global experience witnessed in almost all cities worldwide. The desire of the urban rich and upper-middle classes to have a higher quality of life, access to superior services, heightened safety and exclusiveness of interaction among socio-economic equals is a standard refrain globally.

A game changer 

“Plotted developments have emerged as a game changer in the Indian real estate market, offering homebuyers a unique opportunity to craft their dream homes. It gives me immense pleasure to announce our entry into this new category for Mahindra Lifespaces, with the launch of Lakefront Estates by Mahindra. As the markets in the South witness a healthy surge in demand for plotted developments, we are proud to offer a project that seamlessly blends picturesque landscapes, superior connectivity, and a vibrant community, thereby offering a truly unparalleled lifestyle. With this project, we are confident of offering our customers an opportunity to build not just homes, but a legacy that they can cherish for generations to come,” says Amit Kumar Sinha, MD & CEO, Mahindra Lifespaces Developers Ltd.

Mahindra Lifespaces, the real estate and infrastructure development arm of the Mahindra Group, also recently forayed into plotted developments. The brand unveiled its first plotted development project ‘Lakefront Estates by Mahindra’ at Mahindra World City, Chennai. Spread over 19 acres, the project will offer a wide range of plots meeting customers’ needs and aspirations, with sizes up to 5,000 sq ft, designed to provide a customised living experience with green open spaces and access to excellent infrastructure and facilities.

  • Fernandes: creating exclusive spaces

    Fernandes: creating exclusive spaces

While many corporate and large builders are currently venturing into plotted developments, Ferns Estates forayed into gated communities more than three decades ago when the concept was still in its infancy. Having proved its mettle in this segment of real estate with over 12,000 customers, the promoters of Ferns Estates have recently entered into luxury resorts and holiday homes under a separate entity – Rosetta Resorts & Holiday Homes (RRHH).

Conceived in 2017, Rosetta by Ferns is the brand under which the company has built its first luxury resort – Rosetta by Ferns Sakleshpur. The five-star resort in Sakleshpur (Hassan district), a three-hour drive from Bengaluru, is built meticulously amidst 100 acres of a lush green coffee plantation. Opened in 2021, the resort delicately interposes within its natural habitat 126 expansive luxurious accommodations, all carefully designed and discreetly situated to harmonise with the outstanding natural beauty of the environmentally sustainable coffee plantation. 

Amenities galore

The resort also boasts an array of amenities including three themed restaurants (Teatro - The Estate Kitchen (all-day dining restaurant); Amish - The Botanical Kitchen (pure-vegetarian restaurant) and Merchants of Spice (Indian speciality restaurant). Besides, there is an infinity swimming pool and poolside bar named Ouzo by Fire and one of the largest banqueting spaces in the leisure segment in South India coupled with an expansive activity centre and a spa. Buoyed by the response, the chain, currently enjoying 55 per cent occupancy, is looking to add another 75-odd keys, going forward, to the Sakleshpur property. For FY23, the resort has achieved a GOP of Rs14.7 crore and for FY24 it is aiming to achieve a GOP of Rs21.6 crore.

While Rosetta by Ferns is a luxury chain of resorts, RRHH has also added a boutique lifestyle brand to its resort portfolio – Elements by Rosetta. The first resort under this new brand is scheduled to open in November 2023 at Varca, Goa. The first phase spread across 1.5 acres will have 70 rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, a poolside bar, banquet hall, lawn, spa, swimming pool, kids’ play area and fitness centre. The second phase, spanning another 1.5 acres, will have another 80 rooms. The total project size is 3 acres.

“We, at Ferns Estates and Developers, have constantly challenged ourselves to create spaces that blend comfort, style and eco-friendly design, keeping alive the very essence of Bengaluru. We are known as a premium real estate brand and today we are considered the most trusted pioneers of gated communities, having delivered returns that have repeatedly outperformed the market. So it is with great pride that we now unveil our foray into hospitality with brand like Rosetta by Ferns and Elements by Rosetta. This is an extension of Ferns’ philosophy of creating personalised spaces within larger communities.

Merging real estate with hospitality, we have reached a new milestone, one that will embellish the history of real estate in the country. Maintaining Ferns’ environment-friendly values, Rosetta by Ferns provides sustainable living spaces with world-class amenities,” says Fernandes who is also the managing director of RRHH. A first-generation entrepreneur, he began his entrepreneurial journey in 1986 with a start-up in the software industry. He attended St Joseph’s Boys High School, Bengaluru and went on to study at the Manipal Institute of Technology, graduating with a distinction in BTech in Electronics and Telecommunication. 

  • Sreedhar: expanding leisure options

    Sreedhar: expanding leisure options

As Bengaluru started emerging as an IT hub, the demand for real estate increased and he realised the immense potential this sector would have in and around the city. In 1988 he started Ferns Estates and Developers, pioneers of the gated community concept. A globetrotter, philanthropist, and fitness enthusiast, Fernandes, presently the Secretary of CREDAI Bengaluru, has also played an integral role in incubating and mentoring new businesses, where he has participated as an angel investor as well as a key investor.

“We are quite happy with the way our hospitality foray is shaping up. Having conceived RRHH in 2017 and thereafter meticulously put up our anchor project in 2021 at Sakleshpur we are now fully geared up to expand our hospitality portfolio to select destinations across the country,” says Jai Sreedhar, 44, joint managing director & CEO, RRHH, who along with Fernandes co-founded the hospitality chain.

Sreedhar’s journey in hospitality started with the luxury hotel chain, The Leela Palace, Hotels and Resorts. As the Head of Leisure for the chain, he was closely involved with the launch and overall revenues of some of Leela’s marquee assets like The Leela Goa, The Leela Kovalam, The Leela Palace Udaipur, The Leela Palace New Delhi, and The Leela Palace Chennai.

Sreedhar’s expertise and passion for the intricacies of leisure hospitality and lifestyle real estate helped him in co-founding Rosetta by Ferns. Currently, in his present role, he oversees the daily operations of the company which include design, projects, finance, operations, and most critically, the strategy and operations of Club Rosetta, a one-of-a-kind premium holiday vacation club which he is personally most passionate about. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration along with postgraduate qualification in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, New York, as well as an Honour’s diploma from the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

Club Rosetta is India’s most exclusive luxury hospitality club. It is a vacation ownership program that offers one week of holiday (four weekdays + three weekends) every year for a period of 10 or 20 years, with a refundable deposit.

“The idea is to only onboard 1,000 members every year with on average about Rs8.5 lakh membership charge. The program offers a world of exclusivity, privilege, and superlative quality, expanding leisure choices with a portfolio of many of the finest vacation properties and services around the world. Our exclusive exchange partner – The Registry Collection – allows one to expand the travel option to 240 resorts around the world,” explains Sreedhar.

Future plans 

Buoyed by the initial response, RRHH is now ready to expand its portfolio in a big way. As per the plan, RRHH, backed by 500-odd employees, will be adding 100 keys each year over the next 5 years. While a resort in Wayanad is expected by the end of 2024, Ooty will be operational by FY25. The company is planning to put up a 60-key resort at Kalyapura village in Chikkaballapura district of Karnataka by December 2024. Apart from the resort project spread over 50 acres, it will also host Rosetta Branded Residences. RRHH has also acquired another land parcel of 20 acres in Saklespur for the second property to house 90 villas. 

  • Rosetta by Ferns: blending comfort, style and eco-friendly design

The hospitality chain is also scouting for land in Bandipur, Coorg, Kabini (Karnataka), and Mahabalipuram, either for outright purchase, lease, or management. The chain is also getting into setting up beach shacks in Goa where it is already coming up with a resort project. “Going forward, we would like to follow an asset-light model. At the end of the day, it will be 25 per cent our property and 75 per cent leased or managed by us,” says Sreedhar.

Since RRHH has received a lot of accolades for its F&B outlets in Rosetta by Ferns Sakleshpur, it has also decided to bring the same fine dining experience to cities. The first one it is opening is Ouzo at Indiranagar, Bangalore, in October 2023. In fact, the hospitality chain is planning to open at least two restaurants every year and to start with, these will be located in southern cities like Bengaluru Chennai and Hyderabad.

With all these developments in place, Ferns Estates under the banner, RRHH has put up a well-designed roadmap to replicate its real estate success story in the hospitality space as well. Like its realty business, the company has also positioned itself uniquely in the premium segment of the hospitality market. In a short span of time, its flagship venture, Rosetta by Ferns, has drawn a good deal of attention due to its quality offering and the awesome location amidst coffee plantations, and it is expected to maintain its momentum going ahead as well.

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