India: Mohandas Pai, Ranjan Pai acquire minority stake in realty startup Maia Estates

Manipal Global Education Services Pvt. Ltd chairman T.V. Mohandas Pai, Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) CEO Ranjan Pai, and group corporate affairs advisor Abhay Jain have jointly acquired a minority stake in Maia Estates LLP, a new real estate development firm based in Bengaluru. The value of the transaction was not disclosed.

Led by Mayank Ruia, part of the Ruia family that promotes The Phoenix Mills Ltd, Maia Estates will launch its first high-end residential project by March-end. Apart from investing in Maia, the three investors have also extended project-level funding.

Phoenix Mills focuses on mixed-use development projects, and is known for its shopping malls across various cities. Ruia stepped down as group director-residential at Phoenix to start his own company.

“We have seen Mayank’s earlier work (in Phoenix Mills) in Bengaluru and he brings high quality and great design to a project. As an entrepreneur, he will set a high benchmark in the city in terms of a good product at a reasonable price,” said Mohandas Pai, also a former chief financial officer at Infosys Ltd.

Mohandas Pai was referring to One Bangalore West by Phoenix Mills, a luxury residential project that Ruia oversaw as part of the firm’s residential portfolio.

Besides Maia Estates, Mohandas Pai and Ranjan Pai have also backed Neev Asset Advisors LLP, which invests in small residential projects through its fund, Neev Capital Fund.

Maia Estates’ first project, Pelican Grove, is planned on a two-acre parcel near Jakkur lake in north Bengaluru, and will have 36 apartments and 65,000 sq. ft of open landscaping. The land is being developed through a joint development agreement.

“We wanted long-term partners who would be with us in this journey. As a developer, we would like to be known as someone who brings efficiency into the project (specifications) with extremely well planned spaces and attention to detail,” Ruia said in an interview.

The four-bedroom apartments in the project are of 5,000 sq. ft saleable area.

Efficiency of size and its positioning to be at the top of the market are two key aspects of the project, said Ruia, who spends most of his time in Bengaluru.

Ruia’s entry into real estate comes at a time when India’s property sector, particularly in the residential space, has been suffering from a four-year slowdown.

“Over the next two years, we hope to manage at least three projects of around 2 million sq. ft. We will be actively looking at developing the best possible product in the middle-income category as well but whatever we do will have to make financial sense to us and our shareholders. We are also open to doing mixed-use, integrated projects as well,” Ruia said.

A 12 March report by property advisory JLL India said the last quarter of 2017 saw a surge in new launches on account of the stabilizing influence of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA) mechanism.

“This is a good time for end users, investors and fence-sitters to consider their entry into the residential market, given that prices have been stable for a sustained period. With lending rates from banks having significantly reduced since 2015, the situation provides residential buyers a most opportune moment to purchase properties,” said Ramesh Nair, CEO and country head, JLL India.

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