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Published on: May 16, 2024, 8:05 p.m.
Tribeca Developers: Delivering excellence
  • Tribeca is the largest developer of Trump properties in the world

By Arbind Gupta. Assistant Editor, Business India

Started its realty journey in 2012, Tribeca Developers, in a short span of time, has positioned itself quite strongly in the luxury residential market. The Mumbai-headquartered company has pioneered the concept of branded residences in India by bringing the Trump brand to the country where it is currently putting up two Trump branded luxury residential towers – one each in Gurgaon and Kolkata. 

Today, Tribeca is the largest developer of Trump properties in the world, second only to the Trump Organization. In India, apart from its ongoing two Trump-branded properties, the company previously also licensed Trump brand to the Lodha Group’s existing iconic residential project -- Trump Tower in Mumbai’s plush locality of Worli as also to Panchshil Realty for its Trump Towers project in Pune. This apart, the company is currently also developing a global YOO branded luxury residential project (YOO ONE) in Pune. 

Tribeca has recently tied up with the Tejukaya Group to build its first luxury residential project in Mumbai. The 400-odd unit project will come up in Mumbai’s Parel micro market with an estimated investment of around Rs1,000 crore. 

So far in most of these projects, Tribeca has followed an asset light Development Management model, where its partners bring in the land and bear the cost of construction, while Tribeca implement the entire project (design to construction) and takes care of sales & marketing for a share of revenue, share of profit or a management fee.

Following such a model has helped Tribeca expand its portfolio/business quickly and thus proved its mettle in the fast-growing Indian residential market. However, having revisited its strategy, the company in the changed market scenario, is now also looking at JVs and will even act as a full-stack developer, acquiring land. 

Currently, Tribeca, backed by HDFC Capital, Tata Capital, ICICI Bank and Aditya Birla Capital, is developing over 6 million square feet of branded residential projects in India with a sale value of Rs6,000 crores, and has a development pipeline of over 4 million square feet. Tibeca’s branded properties are commanding a premium ranging from 15 per cent to as high as 40 per cent in the luxury residential market. In 2019, Tribeca along with HDFC Capital formed a Rs500-crore residential investment platform which through a combination of debt and equity, invest in projects that Tribeca develops.

Scaling new heights

Buoyed by its recent success in the booming residential market, the company is aiming for sales revenue of Rs2,500-Rs3,000 crore in the next 3-4 years. This year the company is expected to clock a topline of around Rs1,500 crore, even as the luxury residential market has continued to maintain its momentum. 

“Over the years, the Indian realty market has undergone a big transition. Today’s aspirational buyers are more demanding than ever before and ready to pay any premium for good products. Adequately-designed good products have always in short supply in this evolving Indian market and that is where Tribaca intends to play its role. We aim to fill that void with our product-centric approach. In fact, we want to position ourselves as a good product developer which can serve the market with its world-class residences,” says Kalpesh Mehta, 46, founder, Tribeca Developers who would initially just license the Trump brand to local developers (Lodha Group and Panchchil) but later decided to develop these branded properties on its own. He realized that in India most of the developers were focusing on the land element not the product and hence there was a gap to be filled up.

  • Mehta:  product-centric approach

    Mehta: product-centric approach

“The seeds for Tribeca were sown during my time at Lehman as I was dealing with a lot of developers. I had just come back from New York and what I saw in India was that the products being delivered were actually terrible as compared to what I was used to in New York. We were paying the same price here but the quality was horrible. It was not that India was not capable of developing high quality products. We were developing 5-star hotels which were of quite good. That was when I decided to put up a development business which could be purely product centric. In New York all those years, while investing I could see how good quality products were easily commanding a much higher premium despite being in the same micro market,” recalls Mehta. 

He previously, as vice president of Lehman Brothers Real Estate Private Equity Fund, closed some of the largest transactions in the Indian real estate sector and managed a portfolio of over $400 million in equity, which was invested in assets valued at more than $3 billion. Before that, he worked with the Carlyle Group Real Estate Private Equity, NYC, where he invested and managed luxury residential developments in Manhattan worth over $3 billion, including one of the largest luxury development projects in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Mehta is an MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania (dual major in real estate & finance) and BA Computer Science from University of Texas. 

Moreover, Mehta belongs to a family of architects, where his father, uncle and cousins all are in the field of architecture. Their firm, J P Parekh and Son is a leading architectural design firm established in 1935. It provides comprehensive planning, architectural and project management services. The firm has been involved in several major projects like Peninsula Business Park, Godrej Platinum and Saifee Hospital in Mumbai. 

“So now you know that I come from a family of architects. I kind of grew up on construction sites so to speak and always had an affinity to build buildings. So, now you know why I have that fine taste in design,” explains Mehta.

Trump Tower Kolkata is the shimmering skyscraper with a strikingly elegant façade of black and silver glass, surrounded by lakes and greens in the heart of the city. The tower is located on EM Bypass, the city’s main arterial road and has some of the finest luxury hotels of Kolkata in its neighbourhood. The project hosts an exclusive collection of super luxury amenities including a private rooftop, fine dining space abutting a lavish infinity pool and outdoor deck for intimate gatherings, spa and fitness centre with sauna, steam and massage rooms, library, lounge, games room, children’s play area, and business centre. 

Reflecting the project’s location, at the intersection of old and new Kolkata, buyers in this project are able to customize their residences by picking between classic and contemporary styled interiors designed by Matteo Nunziati, an Italian interior designer who has previously worked with the Trump brand. 

Launched in 2017, the Trump Tower Kolkata project with around 135 apartments (current price: Rs10,000-12,000 per sq ft) is almost 80 per cent sold out. In fact, 70 per cent of the apartments were sold out in the very initial stage of development even as the overall market was subdued. Coming up at a project cost of around Rs500 crore, the project has a JV partner in Kolkata’s Unimark Group, owned by Harsh Patodia.

  • The developer has shown a fair degree of agility and adjusted to the different market conditions

In 2018, Tribeca launched Trump Towers Delhi NCR in Gurgaon in partnership with Gurgaon-based realty group M3M. This Rs1,400 crore project (all glass façade twin towers, 250, 3 & 4 bed luxury residences) is almost ready and the delivery will start in first quarter of next year. The project is a beautifully designed residency that spans over a prime land of sixty acres located at the Golf Course Extension Road in Gurgaon.

The breath-taking project (current price: Rs25,000-30,000 sq feet) is set out to be the most dominating premium residency standing over at a magnanimous height of two hundred metres that is determined to rule the skylines of the National Capital Region. 

Here, all apartments will have one family lounge and one private lounge in Master bedroom. There is 22 feet double height ceiling in living area in 4 BHK duplex apartments and every room features floor to ceiling windows. There are private elevators, a glass-enclosed infinity edge pool, multi-cuisine restaurant as also aerobics, yoga and dance studio as also a reflexology garden.

“Even in a sluggish market situation, both our Trump branded properties generated extra-ordinary response. In fact, we would command a good deal of premium due to our product quality and amenities. Now, post-Covid, the market for such luxury properties is booming and we at Tribeca is all geared up to monetise the condition,” says Mehta who is looking to expand its Trump branded properties to even cities like Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai going forward. 

Re-visiting strategy

These Trump Branded projects will be carried out in a partial stack format (partial DM) in partnership with strong local developers. Here, Tribeca will only bring in the brand, involve in designing and sales & marketing, without being involved in construction. However, as a full stack developer, the company will only focus on three geographies – NCR, Mumbai and Pune. In these, geographies, going forward, the company is now also looking for JVs (not just DM). In fact, Tribeca having revisited its strategy, is now also looking at acquiring land parcels. 

“Two things which have really worked for us in all these initial bad years, is first, Tribeca has been extremely financially prudent, and that has really paid off in good as well as bad times. Second, the tremendous amount of focus which is there on product and customer. Even in bad times, Tribeca was able to sell, when lot of other people were not able to sell. We try to do the best, when the markets are the worst. So, it hasn’t really mattered so far for Tribeca. Even in bad markets, we were able to sell. Customer had the faith in the product and it got sold off. It got sold off very well in the bad times in 2019, and it is selling off very well right now in this good market,” states Rajat Khandelwal, Group Chief Executive Officer, Tribeca Developer who joined the company last year. Khandelwal comes with 19 years of professional experience. Previously, he served as President – Central Park in Delhi NCR; CEO – West India of Ozone Group and COO of Omkar Developers. 

  • Tribeca is building aesthetically designed luxury residences

Tribeca’s The Ark, Pune is a luxury residential masterpiece, designed to be visually spectacular on the outside, and aesthetically appealing within. The Ark, an engineering marvel, promises tranquility and greenery for those who wish to escape the urban chaos. Located on NIBM Road spanning over a 12-acre expansive land and flanked by 200 acres of protected forest, the Rs600-crore project backed by ICICI Bank, offers Pune’s first terrace deck.

Launched in 2021, this JV project with Pune’s Acropolis Group, has five towers (240, 3&4 BHK residences; Rs6,000-8,000 per sq feet) of which, three towers have already been delivered, while the 4th & 5th towers will be delivered next year. Under this project Tribeca is also planning to launch one more tower soon.

YOO ONE is Pune’s most revered bespoke luxury residence. Located in NIBM Road, the Rs400-crore project is a joint creation by the pioneers of branded residence – Tribeca, Pune’s foremost new age developer – Tricon, and India’s top interior designer – Sussanne Khan. Launched in 2022, the project, funded by Aditya Birla Capital (294 residences; Rs6,000-8,000 per sq feet) comprises six magnificent towers and a 1.5-acre rooftop terrace that is distinctively designed for the connoisseurs of luxury. 

Besides, Tribeca’s portfolio also has Pune’s largest High street retail – Tribeca Highstreet. Located in the NIBM area, the Pune’s largest high street has developed into the city’s top destination for entertainment, dining, and shopping. Launched in September 2022, this 300,000 sq feet retail development is currently 70 per cent functional with 50+ brands (including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Westside) already leased out.

On being asked how he managed to convince his buyers despite being a new player, Mehta says: “Because we’ve delivered. Number one is delivery. We have two projects delivered in Pune, which are trading at big premiums to everyone else. We have some of the most conservative lenders, like HDFC and ICICI, who’ve taken a bet on us. We have an organization like Trump, taking a bet on us. Around five years ago, when we didn’t have any delivery, look who all have bet on us. So, you can trust us because as they trusted us. But now we’ve actually delivered.”

“The luxury residential market has flourished post-COVID due to the wealth effect and a shift in living preferences. As stock markets and asset values rose, high-net-worth individuals had more disposable income to invest in real estate. Additionally, the pandemic’s impact on remote work led people to seek larger homes with dedicated spaces for work and recreation,” says Ambar Maheshwari, CEO, Indiabulls Investment Management Ltd.

“Demand for both luxury and ultra-luxury properties has surged since the pandemic, with HNIs and ultra-HNIs buying such homes for investment, personal use, or both. The upsurge in demand for ultra-luxury homes can also be traced to the reshuffling of HNI investment portfolios amid the anticipated volatility in the stock market due to the existing geopolitical tensions. Not surprisingly, leading Grade A developers have also been scaling up their new supply in the ultra-luxury category. Among wealthy Indians, there is a very distinct FOMO aspect to securing the most desirable options before someone else does,” states Anuj Puri, Chairman, ANAROCK Group.

  • Tribeca has pioneered the concept of branded residences in India

According to the recent CBRE report, the luxury segment housing (units priced Rs4 crore and above) recorded a 10 per cent Y-o-Y sales growth during Jan-March 2024. The percentage share of the luxury segment in the overall residential unit sales stood at about 5 per cent during the quarter. The report further points to around 64 per cent Y-o-Y increase in new launches of luxury segment units during Jan-March 2024.

 Resurgence of demand

City-wise, the report states that Mumbai recorded the highest surge in unit sales during the review quarter, registering a 15 per cent Y-o-Y increase in luxury segment residences. This was followed by Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad and Pune. Hyderabad and Pune saw sales activity increasing by more than 2x and 4.7x Y-o-Y, respectively. The resurgence in India’s luxury residential real estate has spurred robust growth, as about 45 per cent of the overall luxury stock was injected in the last five years alone. The segment has also grown at a CAGR of over 9 per cent since 2019 across the gateway cities.

Anshuman Magazine, Chairman & CEO - India, South-East Asia, Middle East & Africa, CBRE, says, “The Indian luxury real estate sector demonstrates robust fundamentals for sustained expansion, underpinned by consistent increases in household income and consumer spending power. These factors are anticipated to cultivate a segment characterized by discerning buyers prioritizing quality, financial prudence, and a desire for an elevated living experience. Going forward, capitalizing on the positive sales trend, developers nationwide are ramping up activity and are expected to launch new units in the segment.”

With all these developments in place, Tribeca Developers is positioning itself strongly in the luxury residential market. In a short span of time, the developer has managed to win over the trust of buyers who in the last decade or so have become more discerning and demanding. The company has shown a fair degree of agility and adjusted to the different market conditions quite seamlessly.

During the initial years of its realty journey, it consciously decided to follow the asset-light model to expand its business in a subdued real estate market. However, now having established itself in the market with branded residences, the company is now revisiting its strategy and looking to explore the booming luxury residential market even as a full stack developer.

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