Viceroy Savana: Will a new developer break into Mumbai’s real estate circuit?

Project Name: Savana

Location: Thakur Village, Kandivali East

Developer: Viceroy Properties

Offering: 2BHK/3BHK

Status: Under-construction

Il Palazzo at Malabar Hill is among the top 10 iconic projects of Mumbai. Flats in that project often quote at a price higher than INR 1 lakh per square feet. It houses wealthy individuals like Harsh Goenka and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala. Yet it’s unlikely that most people would know who the developer of that project is. The answer: BREDCO.

BREDCO is a company with a fine track record for projects aside of Il Palazzo as well. It is so low-profile that there are people even within the real estate community who have to think hard to recall it today. In recent decades, development activity from BREDCO has been muted. Now a member from the family in the form of Cyrus Mody has started out through a company called Viceroy Properties – separate from BREDCO. His first project is Savana in Thakur Village at Kandivali East.

I know Cyrus and we have spoken a few times – but have never met. As I never inform the promoter / CEO prior to my visit and primarily do walk-ins – in this visit as well I met only the sales staff to understand the project. The project was launched in January 2020 and activity has been limited for obvious reasons. Hence it is too early to form an opinion on how it will shape up or even give it a rating. Let me however give you the highlights of the project:

  • Two towers of 34 floors each on a freehold land parcel of 1.5 acres
  • 2BHK’s and 3BHK’s on offer
  • 2BHK of 764 sqft and 820 sqft. 3BHK of 1014 sqft and 1170 sqft
  • Agreement value for the smaller 2BHK in 1st to 5th floor at INR 1.80 crore. For the bigger one it is INR 2.02 crore
  • Proposed Date of completion: June 2025 (According to RERA)
  • Monthly Maintenance of INR 12 / sqft (carpet, obviously)

Things I like about the plan

  • Low density of the project
  • 2BHK’s of an honorable size with a good layout
  • Connectivity is convenient: Off the Western Express Highway
  • Location is in a buzzing hub with robust social infrastructure: Thakur Village
  • Floor to ceiling height is good. Makes the apartment appear spacious, allows more light, useful for things like a bunker bed concept in the smaller bedroom etc
  • Contractor is Arabian Construction Co (Lodha World One, Supertech Gurgaon project)
  • Commercial space on the ground floor – with a restriction that no restaurants (cafes ok) will be permitted

What I didn’t like

  • Like most others in Mumbai real estate, sales presentation can be more refined. I am often surprised as to how so few developers make their presentation about a story in their pitch. Every project has a story
  • Keeping in perspective the early stage of the project the price point is on the higher side
  • Lack of specifics on the amenities besides a swimming pool and gym. ‘Project will have all amenities’ is a statement I notice too many sales staff use across projects today
  • There is only a construction-linked payment plan. No bank or developer subvention available on the project
  • It has a cancellation fee of 10% – which is steep in my view
  • As a habit I tend to notice small things in a project – even something as basic as the type of pen given to a prospect for filling up the form. While the pen was alright here, I did feel that the site could have been maintained better. It lacked a signage outside to show that this was the Savana sales site. Secondly even at 12.30PM I could see mopping of the floor outside the sample flat being done.

How is it faring?

Residential: It has 127 apartments. 58 units have been booked. 3BHK’s have received a better response in comparison to the 2BHK’s. I am told that 3BHK inventory has seen good interest from residents within Thakur Village looking for an upgrade.

Conclusion: I have a general bias in favour of Parsi developers as although most of them don’t negotiate much on price and have a lazy approach to branding & marketing – they are superior executors and more quality conscious than most other real estate developers in Mumbai. Cyrus Mody has big shoes to fill. He has begun well. Savana has a meaningful number of bookings despite negligible marketing and the absence of easy payment plans that most developers are offering today. Eventually the test will be in the execution. If Viceroy Properties manages to show similar execution prowess to the type that BREDCO displayed with projects like Navroze (Breach Candy) & Amalfi (Malabar Hill) – Mumbai real estate would have found a new developer to look forward to.

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