Aspirations are going sky high, quite literally. The trend of real estate developers getting their projects endorsed by local celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Deepika Padukone is passe. High-end properties now come with global branding.
Trump Towers may have an iconic presence on New York’s upscale Fifth Avenue, so why not transfer some of that to Kalyani Nagar in Pune? Armani’s global appeal as a luxury fashion brand finds a home, also quite literally, in Mumbai’s Global One apartment complex built by Lodha Group, as well as a Supertech complex in Noida, where Armani/Casa has lent its name. Another fast expanding real estate developer, Homestead, has roped in not one, but two global sporting celebrities—Maria Sharapova, the glamour queen of tennis, and Michael Schumacher, former F1 racing world champion. Sharapova was even flown down to India for a day to launch Ballet by Maria Sharapova in Gurgaon, which is in a sector adjoining Michael Schumacher World Tower. Elsewhere, there are similar tie-ups with Disney, Swarovski and celebrity designers Philippe Starck, Roberto Cavalli and Jade Jagger, while others believe that getting a badge like Lamborghini or Porsche, known for its automotive designs, can make it an address impressive enough for potential clients to have on their business cards.
The spread of the global signature tower, popularly known as branded luxury residences or branded realty, is an idea whose time has clearly come, thanks to the cut-throat competition in the real estate sector, the arrival of brash new players over the past few years, and the fact that most property developers are targeting the ultra-luxe, top end of the market. With premium-plus becoming the norm, it makes sense to paste a global signature for that added value. After all, an average escalation of 25% over normal luxury apartment rates can only be justified if an owner believes that his residence has been actually designed by Armani or Cavalli, or that the tennis court in the apartment complex has been okayed by Sharapova.
It’s certainly in line with the “by invitation only” strategy that some developers are adopting, where