The loud whirring of machines and generators from nearby industrial premises is cut off as one enters a soundproofed glass building at the site of Omkar 1973 in Worli. This is one of the few recently-launched super-luxury projects, where some homes will claim an astounding Rs 100 crore and where outrageously rich buyers are being courted. Six months after sales opened, three of the seven premium flats have been booked, says Babulal Varma, managing director of Omkar Realtors.
As one might expect in a Rs 100-crore home, everything gleams gracefully. The supple rugs are cut out for John Lobbs or Jimmy Choos .
Each adornment is picked after careful deliberation and sourced mainly from foreign countries, the developers declare. Lodha tied up with Armani/Casa, the luxury interiors division of Giorgio Armani, for its World Towers, with mansions set at 1,000 feet above the city. At the Omkar project, in the living room decorated by Hirsch Bedner Associates, the chandelier with leaves fashioned from crystal and silver came from the Czech Republic. The furniture - velvety sofas and swanky wooden tables - was imported from Spain and Germany.
These homes are palatial flats or duplexes, spread across 13,000-18,000 square feet, with ceilings that are 14 feet high. "In Delhi, you have the concept of farmhouses, which are often worth hundreds of crores. There is a similar clientele in Mumbai but geographic restrictions don't allow us to build farmhouses," says Varma. "So we wanted to create that kind of luxury in an apartment."
The Rs 100-crore apartments have 360-degree views and because they are landscaped and dramatically elevated, the temperature is (according to brochures) at least 5 degrees cooler even without air conditioning. The living room has a sit-out deck with informal furniture while the bathroom leads to a deck with an open-air jacuzzi. A number of buyers are said to prefer gardens to jacuzzis on the deck. Not entirely surprising in a city starved of green spaces.
Habitation often starts around the 10th or 15th floor, the lower levels being reserved for parking and common entertainment areas. For exclusivity, there is a dedicated concierge service, personal lifts that open into the living room and a separate entry and staying area for the household help.But many developers also make bare-shell home that buyers can decorate according to their desires. "The buyer has his or her own thought process and expectations are sky high," says Mudassir Zaidi, national director, residential services at Knight Frank. Also, since the core and key beams on the exterior walls bear all the weight of the structure, the inner walls can be demolished and remodelled as buyers please.
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Big businessmen and industrialists are willing to part with enormous premiums to minimise the commute, prompting plush residential projects to emerge around commercial hubs such as Worli, Lower Parel and Bandra-Kurla Complex. ICICI Bank CEO & MD Chanda Kocchar and a top cricketer are rumoured to have scouted for such apartments in central Mumbai. A few super-luxury properties are located in old, celebrated parts of south Mumbai, including Altamount Road and Nepean Sea Road. All homes are sold "by invitation only", which means buyers will share an address only with fellow members of the swish set. Developers reach out to the high-net-worth individuals or request those interested in buying these flats to send them a profile. Appointments are given after a thorough screening. Besides Omkar, Lodha Developers, Avighna Group and Sunteck Realty are some other developers in the space.