Realty Corner

HARI CHALLA  MD  Aliens Group

A pilot by profession, with a keen sense of direction and hands-on business acumen, HARI CHALLA, Managing Director, Aliens Group, emphasises on application of technological advancements and sophistications to urban living.


What was the factor that attracted you towards the business of real estate development, since you also have the professional tag of a pilot?

The real estate boom of 2004 in Hyderabad was the trigger that got us into this business. Combined with the data in the Tenth Five Year Plan which showed that there was a shortage of 22.4 million dwelling units in the country, we were presented with a big opportunity. Right from the beginning we aimed to do something different, something that had never been offered to Indian customers. Our focus was not just to provide living spaces but to offer a lifestyle solution to our key audience. We are proud to be an unconventional real estate developer and our concept of intelligent living has been so well received that other real estate companies are also trying to develop similar concepts. The adrenalin rush that I get from flying has now been replaced by the passion I feel for my company.


Tell us about the growth story of your company. What kind of driving force did you provide to push your company on the growth radar?

Aliens was founded in 2004 and while we have grown as a company in the ambitions of our projects, I believe that we have also evolved into a thought leader in the real estate space. We have foregone the run of the mill real estate project and built up a brand that offers customers Twenty First Century solutions utilising technology expertise sourced from every corner of the world. That, to me, is a crowning achievement as we are not just growing into a major real estate and infrastructure player but are also pushing the envelope to offer truly modern, sophisticated solutions to home buyers and infrastructure clients alike. We are today executing projects worth over Rs 2,000 crore in prime zones and we are confident that this is only bound to grow.

Our projects are at the cutting edge of technology and delivering them requires a culture of excellence and ownership which we have successfully built. We have a team that is from some of the most prestigious institutions in the country like the IITs and IIMs. It’s true what they say, investing in the right people is everything. The team and culture we have built at Aliens is a key factor in our rapid growth.


Your projects are concentrated in Hyderabad alone; are you planning for a pan-India presence?

We are definitely planning a pan India move with an initial focus on Delhi and Bangalore. Hyderabad is our home base and we thoroughly understand the market and the demographics. This has helped us connect with the growing numbers of young achievers, middle aged couples with an attractive mix of amenities, ROI and intelligent living. Now that we have perfected the Space Station model, we are keen on taking it national and emulating its success.


What are the technological innovations adopted by you in your development projects?

We have invested heavily in the concept of “Intelligent Living’ whereby the entire living space is designed around the needs of the residents. Technology and design have been two of our keystones in ensuring that we deliver on this promise. Space Station 1 is the herald of this concept and is one of the first Indian projects to incorporate technology so extensively. The entire project has been built using a raft foundation and transverse slabs, two concepts that speed up development while adding to the strength of the building. Space Station 1 also bears the unique S-shaped design which uniformly disperses sunlight, wind and ventilation across three sides, leaving each apartment fresh and airy. We have also integrated the green building concept extensively so that homes manage heating and cooling more efficiently, while the project optimizes sewage and water treatment for all 83 towers. Home automation is one of our greatest features, and this is also a key differentiator for Aliens. Space Station 1 allows homeowners to remotely manage their home and track maids, adjust lighting, call up the lift to avoid the wait and many more facilities that, simply put, make life much easier. If you have ever wondered how to keep an eye on your kids while you are at office, well, here’s your answer.


How much do you focus on adopting eco-friendly and sustainable measures? Have you implemented any innovative method recently? If yes, please discuss.

Aliens is firmly committed to providing living spaces that minimize energy expenditure. Space Station 1 is a Platinum Pre-Certified building project as awarded by the IGBC. We want our customers to indulge their conscience as much as they do their lives and so we’ve gone a few steps ahead to help them do so. We use advanced building materials and technology that reduces wastage and promotes cooling so that you don’t need to turn on the AC too often. Space Station 1 has over 80 per cent green cover and we are certain on making extensive landscaping a permanent fixture in our projects. We have also used design intelligently, using an S shape to promote cross ventilation and increase the reach of sunlight. We don’t want our customers to ever worry about their home’s carbon footprint because we have already thought ahead and reduced it significantly.


Your company is affiliated with many international architects? What kind of expertise do they bring in?

We want Aliens projects to become homes and offices people truly revel going back to, everyday. Through global design standards, insightful amenities and superb living environs, we want to inspire our residents. We rely on our international architects and other consultants, responsible for some of the world’s most famous architectural landmarks, to bring us the most useful solutions that would truly make the lives of residents a joy. Having an understanding of global trends, they would definitely help us create a product with the international appeal that our customers would appreciate.


What about your foray into infrastructure business? Have you launched any new project in that?

Aliens Infrastructure is a rapidly growing company. We have been working with partners on projects dealing with earthen work, engineering and complex construction. We are working on several large scale infrastructure projects that are essential to India’s overall progress. We have order book of over Rs 100 crore for the 2011-2012 period, of which projects worth Rs 40 crore are being executed presently. For the next fiscal, 2012-2013, we target an order book of Rs 500 crore and Rs 200 crore going to be executed. The demand for our expertise in this segment is strong and the future looks promising.


What sectors will drive real estate in 2012?

We are expecting commercial and retail real estate to be the bedrock of the realty market in 2012. Residential real estate is witnessing a sea change with the presence of genuine buyers and end users like families and young couples who are flocking to projects in large numbers and we think this trend is here to stay. We are hoping that India will pass legislation favourable to multi-brand retail which will definitely boost not just the realty sector but perhaps the whole Indian economy. We think IT companies will remain stable consumers of office space, seeing as they would like to take advantage of prevailing pre-lease rates.


Is there a dream project that excites you?

Aliens Hub is a project that is very close to my heart. It is a mega project spread over 1,500 acre on the outskirts of Hyderabad which will be a landmark in the history of Indian real estate. Hub will be a city set on the lines of highly advanced, global cities such as Singapore, incorporating a 27-hole Golf course, a resort operated by one of the leading international hospitality chains internationally, along with SEZs, international schools and aviation clubs. The focus is to offer a living experience far ahead of its time, incorporating the best in outdoor infrastructure such as an air strip with fly-in homes and a helipad, in home amenities that tie in seamlessly with your life, and an environment that is maximised to let you lead a peaceful life in a secure, clean, ecologically beneficial and stimulating environment. The scope of this project is huge and when it gets going in 2012, we expect to turn a lot of heads.


What would be the most determining factor in your company’s growth in the near future?

Aliens is a tightly knit company of people who share the same vision. We are all determined to develop real estate and infrastructure solutions that are intelligent in design, amenities and execution. We look to attract and retain the best talent that can help us deliver to our promises. We have made it successfully so far on the fantastic efforts put in by our team and our future success rests almost entirely on the level of their talent. Besides talent, the other factors would be availability of land in other metros such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai. The Space Station is our flagship product and we are keen on replicating it across India.  Infrastructure is also a growing area of our business and we will continue to scale up our projects and deliver infrastructure solutions across the country.