Demand for office space up around Whitefield in Bangalore

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The landscape of Bangalore east has been transformed from housing quiet, suburban neighborhoods with more trees than people to a commercial belt along with hectic residential development. Commercial development in Bangalore east is attributed to the establishment of Electronics City and the Whitefield EPIP zone. This belt, running from the south to east, promoted the emergence of Bangalore east as a commercial hotbed.

Catalysts for commercial growth
According to Shrinivas Rao, CEO – Asia Pacific, Vestian Global Workplace Services, these factors played a vital role in escalating infrastructure and business in this region. “The Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) scheme, the EPIP Zone in Whitefield to promote export related industries, development of ITPB that directly launched Whitefield on the global map and led to companies expanding in this region are some of the key initiatives that catalysed economic development in this region. The announcement of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Policy in 2005 leveraged the export-oriented IT/ITeS sector to focus their growth on upcoming SEZ parks due to expiry of the incentive structure under the STPI scheme.”

With the completion of the Outer Ring Road (ORR) in 2002, a new growth corridor opened up for IT development in Bangalore east.

Satish B N, Executive Director (South), Knight Frank India, says, “Factors such as availability of land, connectivity to city center and proximity to the old airport led to the establishment of the EPIP Zone in Whitefield. This initiative was mainly responsible for catalyzing commercial development in Bangalore east. Reliable and ample power is added advantage to an extent in this region as well. Whitefield further received a boost with the establishment of the International Technology Park Bangalore, which houses over 145 companies.”

Commercial hotbeds in east
Whitefield has remained the commercial stronghold of the eastern region since it came into prominence in the 1990s. Of late, adjacent areas such as Brookfield and Hoodi as well as K R Puram have also emerged as commercial destinations.

Satish explains, “These office markets are favored by occupiers, primarily due to the more economical rentals prevalent as well as the presence of residential realty projects, schools, malls, hotels and other social amenities. Additionally, growth in these markets has been enhanced due to their connectivity to the city through two major roads – Old Madras Road and Old Airport Road. Metro Rail connectivity once completed will be one of the other major advantages for this region.”

While the Whitefield-EPIP Zone and ORR (Hebbal to Sarjapur Road junction) have emerged as commercial hotbeds, completion of the ORR enhanced connectivity to the central business district (CBD) as well as key residential catchments of Indiranagar, Koramangala, Banaswadi, Ramamurthy Nagar, HSR Layout and HBR Layout. The availability of large land parcels and zoning regulations conducive to commercial expansion as per revised Master Plan 2007-15 has fueled the growth and development of this region.

“The southern and eastern quadrants have become thriving residential zones owing to the presence of a substantially large high-income IT workforce. Post commissioning of the international airport in 2008, the ORR stretch has also gained importance as it acts as the main connection between the airport and major IT hubs,” Rao says.

Commercial landscape
According to Vestian Global’s research, Whitefield largely comprises captive office campuses and IT Parks with around 22 million sq ft of operational Grade A stock and close to seven million sqft operational Grade B stock. The geography of the ORR supports large IT/ITeS SEZ and non-SEZ business parks.

A Knight Frank study indicates that approximately around 6.60 million sqft of office space is under development, which is scheduled to be completed by end-2015. Satish says, “Presently, the east comprises 27 percent of the total commercial development in Bangalore. This office market has been primarily dominated by the IT/ITeS sector, which prefers to be located in quality office projects with large floor plates. Around 80 percent of the operational office space in the region is occupied by the IT/ITeS sector while other sectors like biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, FMCG and multi-disciplinary R&D organizations have their offices in the area as well.”

Potential for development
Rao says, “Companies with large space requirements and SEZ space requirements continue to prefer the ORR belt in the east and Whitefield. In addition, Whitefield houses numerous standalone IT buildings and is a popular choice for most IT companies with smaller space requirements.”

Satish adds, “Whitefield will continue to hold potential as future commercial hotspot in the east. This can be attributed to the fact that there is land still available for commercial development in the area. Besides, there is considerable supply in the pipeline to cater to potential demand in the future.”

Source: Times Property, The Times of India, Bangalore