“Location, chemistry, and trust are the keys to our success,” says Irfan Razack, Chairman, Prestige Group. He seems to have the right keys as nothing seems to faze the growth of its flagship real estate business – not the RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Authority) Act, not demonetisation. Sales keep improving and rentals on income keep going up substantially. The Group’s diverse portfolio includes retail, leisure, hospitality, property management, amongst others.
The story of Prestige is the stuff of legends and locals never tire of, proudly pointing to the local boy, Irfan Razack, whose uncanny ability with numbers with the solidarity of brothers Rezwan and Noaman, has helped helm the rise from a maker of bespoke suits to a company with a net worth of Rs. 4.16 thousand crore.
Prominent landmarks across Bengaluru, and increasingly so in major cities across India, flaunt the logo of the falcon.
With over 150 landmark developments across Bengaluru, Prestige has extended its expertise to major cities across South India, building malls, large townships, tech parks, hotels, luxury villas, and SEZs.
When the IT boom happened in Bengaluru in the late 90’s, Prestige was amongst the first to cater to IT companies, though says Razack, “When we started building office spaces, there was no such thing as the IT boom. It was very different from today when customers are gobbling up hundreds of thousands of square feet. The need then was for smaller spaces for the smaller businesses and companies. The rent in the late 80’s and early 90’s was a mere 6 or 7 rupees in the CBZ. Today, it is Rs.175 per square foot in a Grade A building. There is a steep change, the capital values and rents have changed, and most importantly, the volumes have changed. Each company comes in with a requirement of at least 40-50 thousand and 100 thousand square feet, sometimes even a million square feet. And we have been able to cash in on this. I feel proud that we have been associated with some of the best companies.”
These include Cisco whose largest innovation centre outside the US in Bengaluru occupies 2.8 million sq ft of space in the Prestige Cessna Business Park. Razack estimates that approximately 100 or 150 square feet of workspace is equivalent to one job, and by that measure, taking into account the 105 million sq ft of properties that it has built, Prestige has helped create a sizeable number of jobs.
“Location, chemistry and trust are the keys to our success.”- Irfan Razack, Chairman, Prestige Group
Prominent properties that Prestige has built have pedigreed occupants; in Bengaluru, apart from Cisco, HCL, Cargill, Micron Technologies and Sixt are based in Prestige Cessna Business Park, (4mn sqft), JP Morgan, Western Digital, Adobe, Oracle, Amadeus, Juniper, IQVIA, Bosch, Aricent, Mylan, 7 at Prestige Tech Park (6mn sq ft), and HUL, Exxon Mobil, Caterpillar, Baxter, VMWare,TCS, GE, Britannia, Rockstar at Prestige Shantiniketan (3.6mn sqft).
Outside Bengaluru, the Prestige Polygon in Chennai (5,00,000sft) hosts the offices of RR Donnelley, Microsoft, Kellogg Brown & Root Engineering, Grant Thornton, Durr, Walker Chandiok & Co, Toray Industries (India) Pvt. Ltd., Aruba Network India Private Limited, Kotak Mahindra Bank Limited, Hewlett Packard India and the TMS Square in Kochi (2,17,000 sqft) hosts IQVIA, Samsung, Deloitte and Blue Star.
Constant reinvention and evolution is fuelled by “innovations in the way we manage our company and the way we construct our buildings. We adapt new technologies to get speedier and better construction”, says Razack. A recent technology that Prestige uses is aluminium shuttering which eliminates the need for concrete walls and the attendant procedures of block work, plastering and curing. This helps build high rise buildings faster.
He’s also acutely aware of the need to use technology to connect with millennial customers who demand instant resolution of issues. And soon, all its new homes will be ‘connected’ homes that the owners can monitor with their smartphones. As construction becomes more reliant on technology, he also wants to ensure that automation does not lead to job losses. “We have to balance both and make sure that innovations and technology go hand in hand with the human side”, he says.
Prestige’s USP lies in choosing the type of development that is appropriate to the environment and making it relevant to the target audience. At the heart of this success is amazing goodwill that Razack, a local boy, enjoys in the city, and the popularity has paid off handsomely. From Richie Rich businessmen to the average joe, they view Prestige with rose-tinted glasses.
“Trust is the answer to why our sales are more than anybody else’s. Over a period of years, we have built not just buildings but the confidence of our customers. People are putting their life savings and getting themselves into debt to buy a home that will be an asset. We have an edge over other builders as people prefer to buy a Prestige property if there is one available within their budget and in the location of their choice”, says Razack.