When Delhi-based developer Omaxe Limited was looking for a name for a new group housing project in Gurgaon, it hit upon The Nile. Omaxe thought the name was perfect for a building that “merged ancient Egyptian architectural design with a contemporary western lifestyle”.
For their super-luxury residential project in Delhi’s Civil Lines, Parsvnath Developers wanted a name that would conjure up the image of expansive space amid lush green environment. La Tropicana was the name given to the 16.8-acre project which has over 78 per cent area reserved for lawns, parks and waterbodies.
Bengaluru-based Sobha Developers prefers to give all its residential projects English names. An upcoming luxury apartment project at Senneerkuppam, off Porur-Poonamallee High Road, Chennai is called Sobha Serene.
Godrej Properties, the real estate development arm of the Godrej Group, last week announced a housing project in Yeyyadi area of North Mangalore. Surrounded by hills, the project is called Alpine.
Serene, Capital, Westend, Birch Court, Lotus Panache, even Provence—they are all names of projects being executed by developers. The trend’s not restricted to the metros—Mohali, Kochi, Coimbatore, Bhiwadi, Panipat, Lucknow all have residential, commercial and retail projects named after Greek gods and goddesses or colours, flowers and foreign locations. The names vary; the foreignness doesn’t.
What’s in a name, said the bard? Plenty, when it comes to a project, say the realty companies. Call it the impact of globalization, the Indian consumer’s affinity for things from the West or the demands of the business, these companies are determined to meet all the aspirations of their knowledge-driven customers—be they CEOs looking for villas in the metros or families seeking to buy apartments in Tier II and III cities. Giving a project a foreign name is the easiest part of it.
“Real estate developers are vying with each other to give their projects foreign/Western names to attract customers. The right name can act as a huge inventive in an area with rapid growth such as the National Capital Region,” explains Brijesh Bhanote, director, sales and marketing, The 3C Company.
Most of Bhanote’s projects are in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi. The location may not be exactly cosmopolitan; the names definitely are. A new project that “blends flamboyance with sheer luxury and suburban lifestyle” is called the
Omaxe’s joint managing director Sunil Goel believes that giving projects international names creates a “visual persona in the minds of the customers and helps them imagine a life that is in the offing”. He explains: “When we conceptualize a project, we consider several factors, like geographical surroundings, the structure of the project, and the special features. We then work to find a name that embodies all of these.”
Developers Vakil and Hirco offer their own reasons. “A reason for the trend is that English sounding names have a pan-Indian appeal. The Indian market is heterogeneous in nature and people across the nation speak in diverse languages. Naming a project in the regional dialect would not be appealing for those who don’t speak the language,” says Mohammed Ali Vakil, chairman, Vakil Housing
For the Hirco Group, which is developing a 251-acre township project in suburban Chennai, named Hiranandani Palace Gardens, it is the theme that determines the name. “In our townships, the architecture has a European heritage. The buildings are neo-classical in their feel and theme. The names reflect that. The Chennai buildings, for instance, are named after London’s Squares,” says Aniruddha Joshi, executive director, Hirco Group.
All the companies take pains to explain along with the names, the facilities too reflect “the latest global developments”, be in terms of signature golf courses, the other recreational offerings and the eco-friendly and environmentally-sustainable facilities. “The advent of globalization, accompanied by an expanding middle class, has accentuated a form of ‘aspiration lifestyles’ which are increasingly defining the new preferences in housing. These do not align with preconceived notions of space, materials, built-form or even affordability. In keeping with these changes, developers are experimenting with a variety of new product offerings ranging from Singapore-style apartments to branded luxury residences,” says Sachin Sandhir, managing director, RICS South Asia.
Adds RK Arora, chairman and managing director, Supertech Limited: “In today’s changing lifestyle, people are constantly looking for something new. This has created a significant change in the way Indian customers choose to live. Giving a foreign name to a particular project not merely signifies the kind of changes taking place, it also reflects the kind of world-class features and facilities that a customer can expect to find at the project.”