Monday, August 9, 2010

Ammenities or Burden !


In my nearly 20 years of association with real estate industry, there are some standard questions a client asks to marketing staff or to any person when enquiring about the projects? What amenities you are giving? Is there swimming pool? Gym is there? Clubhouse? That's all! I never have stopped wondering that how many of them at the end of the day are using it actually? But then real estate industry has always been driven by sentiments than practicality.

The gimmicks of luring the customer with above mentioned amenities started in early 90's as most of the seeking client were middle class back ground & has fascination about such things. Swimming pools that to privately owned was a luxury affordable by only super riches & having an own pool in the society was like coming the dream true! Similar was with gym & club house as not many gyms like today was offering services at minimum monthly contribution & gym was more a fashion than actual physical health keeping. Similarly the Club house was shown only in movies were upper cut of the society was shown playing card or billiard type game & the average middle class could just imagine themselves in those roles as not many private such places were there & not knowing also what’s exact use of such places in other time of the day except evenings!

Also the city's social infrastructure on this front was very poor, people wasn’t having places to make good time pass. Multiplex concept was no were on horizon were you can watch a movie, shop, play pool table & video games, eat & socialize with your family as well friends. No hangouts like Mc D, Pizza hut were there were you can entertain your guests & spend some extra buck u you hard earn. After all what’s the use of the money which you cant show off to your social circle! And joints like Turf club, PYC, Boat Club, Poona club were restricted for members & again at hefty fees which are out of the way to the most. The suburbs were not having gyms or pools open for all at minimum charges & all these made the Developers to use for the marketing of the project. Soon every middle & big size project was being advertised as lace with Spacious swimming pool, then baby pool came in then warm water pools & even covered swimming pools come in picture. The club houses were having right from carom to billiard tables to lounges within though hardly any one ever used to touch the tables except the younger generation for the fun part of it & the gyms however well equipped were rarely houseful as the equipments fast become outdated & no training facility!
Nothing wrong against the ammentites, what was wrong is the attitude of the customers about such amenities. Only the pool, clubhouse & landscaped gardens don’t make a home! One has to understand the real need from the house or else in later years the amenities become burden. Consider the day to increasing cost of living & whether its worth to spend much on maintenance on such amenities? Are we really using them at fullest? When water is such a scarce thing how many swimming pools we can afford! Also the safety factors & the incidences of kids sustain fatal accidents in pool in societies has made many of the complexes to shut down there pool. As the cost of having full time life guard & maintain the pool is enormous & many a mid sized societies can’t afford it. The gym is for fitness & the equipments need to be in proper condition as well the exercise has to be done under trained supervision which the society gyms lack.

Slowly people started realizing fancy pool tables & card tables are waste of space & what the society really needs is just a good place for socializing & arranging there small family functions which they cant accommodate in the flat. Similar is about cafeteria, as one needs to feel away from the home at a times & that’s why people goes to joints like Vaishali/Roopali after there game or gym for a cup of tea! As many times you will find you don’t want to see the similar faces around & that what happened in a complex cafeterias!

I am not against any such amentias or facilities but what I want to share is instead of going for these conventional amenities in the project look what’s the changing times needs! We need more & more open spaces around. We need the place to grow real big ever green trees like Neem, Jamun, Jackfruit, Mango etc where the birds can nestle & our kids can have feel of biodiversity. We need place which can be a simple big hall where we can arrange our family functions as well get together. The complex can have sleep over arrangements for the drivers as well their fresh up facilities. Also for bigger complexes we can consider having 3 to 4 self contend rooms for the guests. These the society can use for renting to the residents when they will be having some family function & earn some money too. Look out more for minute details such as displaying all the necessary phone numbers around at each lobby level so in emergency any one can be easily have access to such numbers. Think of the amenities like water recycling plants & separate arrangement to store as well pump such water. This can be used even for storing bore well water too. Have more open door sports activities as open play grounds are getting less & the kids of this genre needs to have that feel. (Mention sur parambya on trees). Also see that the developers have made adequate arrangements to maintain such amenities & at end they don’t become the burden on your pocket.

The times are changing & so we too need to realize what ultimately we want for our good living & not just the false world’s imitation around us. Ask for the amenities which will make our life real comfortable & so the environment around us & not just for the name sake of it! Or else at end like the marathi fraze              “ Nakapeksha moti jad whayacha”

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Sanjay