By Masoom Gupte & Raghavendra Kamath  www.business-standard.com

Almost a year after launching its ambitious project ‘World One’, touted as the world’s tallest residential tower, Mumbai’s Lodha Group is bringing iconic fashion designer Giorgio Armani’s interior design studio, Armani Casa, to India next month to design its apartments and villas.

Armani, which also designed residences in Burj Khalifa in Dubai is setting up its first-ever gallery in India on the World One premises in Lower Parel. And, to announce the studio’s impending arrival, the developer is offering a select group of potential buyers the opportunity to book flats and get furniture from the studio for a single room complimentary, up to September 15.

The total benefit would be in the range of Rs 50-75 lakh, possibly the equivalent of the cost of an apartment in some of the Mumbai suburbs.

Armani’s association with the project seems to have completed the circle of international names like US-based architecture firm Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and landscaping architect, Ken Smith, associated with the project.

But the apartments in the project that has three towers are expectedly for ones with deep pockets. Also, being moneyed is not enough; the apartments are being sold strictly “by invitation”.

The price of a basic three-bedroom, 3,000-sqft apartment in World Crest costs Rs 8.5 crore; in the main tower World One, apartment prices start from Rs 9.5 crore and a mansion (duplexes with a 360-degree view of the city) costs a whopping Rs 100 crore. There are only 11 such units and the developer has put in place even more stringent filters for ascertaining potential buyers. The company directly contacts the buyers who fit the ‘profile’ of a World One mansion resident and a representative is sent with a personalised presentation to pitch the project.

Also, being moneyed is not enough; the apartments are being sold strictly “by invitation”.

The price of a basic three-bedroom, 3,000-sqft apartment in World Crest is Rs 8.5 crore; in the main tower World One, apartment prices start from Rs 9.5 crore and a mansion (duplexes with a 360-degree view of the city) costs a whopping Rs 100 crore. There are only 11 such units and the developer has put in place even more stringent filters for ascertaining potential buyers. The company directly contacts the buyers who fit the ‘profile’ of a World One mansion resident and a representative is sent with a personalised presentation to pitch the project. Sources say the potential resident must have a minimum annual turnover of over Rs 2,000 crore. And, the developer has sold just a single mansion as yet. Otherwise, Lodha has sold over half of the 350 units in World One and nearly 40 per cent in World Crest, which has 240 units, they add.

The project, replete with envisaged high-end shopping boulevards, al fresco dining units and even a Mumbai museum dedicated to recounting the city’s past is expected to take six years for completion. The first two towers are expected to be completed by the end of 2014 and 2015, respectively. The third is expected to come up next year and bookings will open accordingly. Though the developer plans to build 117 floors, sources say it has approval for only 85 so far.

If you are still not sure about the project’s exclusivity, sample this: You have to call up at least 24 hours in advance for an ‘appointment’ to visit the site office, be prepared to field questions about your car, your favourite holiday spots and the newspapers you read, enabling the sales personnel to ‘understand’ your profile. And, as if to award you for jumping these hoops, after a 10-minute presentation, when you sit for discussion with the sales manager, take your pick from pastas, sandwiches and desserts, according to your preference.

LEAVE A REPLY