Jumabhoys to launch villa project in India

PHOTO: Jumabhoys to launch villa project in India

A Singapore family that has been doing business here for almost a century will launch an ambitious villa project in Bangalore, India, on Tuesday.

The Jumabhoy family is still remembered locally for landmark property developments such as Scotts Shopping Centre along Scotts Road. Opened in 1982, the mall featured Singapore's first air-conditioned food court.

At its peak, the family's property development business, Scotts Holdings, had assets exceeding US$600 million (about S$748 million), according to Forbes magazine. It was considered one of South-east Asia's wealthiest non-Chinese families.

In 1998, the Jumabhoys sold Scotts Holdings to DBS Land, a predecessor of CapitaLand. Scotts Shopping Centre has since been torn down and replaced by a new mall, Scotts Square.

That temporarily ended the Jumabhoys' property development dealings - until now.

Mr Iqbal Jumabhoy, 56, and two of his siblings - Asad, 54, and Mimi, 60 - have set up an Indian real estate firm, Raffles Residency, with Mr Iqbal as chief executive. They are developing a residential estate in India's Silicon Valley - Whitefield in Bangalore - on a 6ha site bought by their father.

The proposed Raffles Park estate will be a gated community located less than 10 minutes' drive from IT firms in the area. Each of the 61 private villas will be about 6,800 sq ft in size and cost about $1.2 million, or 8,683 rupees (S$176) per sq ft (psf).

That price puts them in the upper range of villas in Bangalore, which tend to go for 4,000 rupees to 12,000 rupees psf, said Mr Iqbal.

"You could liken Raffles Park to a condominium project here - with green spaces and a clubhouse facility - but the residents will live in three-storey bungalows," he said.

The project is due to be completed in 2015, when the Jumabhoys will mark 100 years in business.

Mr Iqbal's late grandfather Rajabali was a spice trader who migrated to Singapore from Western India in 1915. His eldest son Ameerali was key in leading the family into the real estate and hospitality sector, launching the Ascott, Singapore's first branded serviced apartments.

The property bug bit Mr Iqbal during his stint with Scotts Holdings in the 1980s and early 1990s.

"I really enjoy the property business and how it challenges me intellectually," he said.

Raffles Park was launched on Tuesday in Bangalore and then elsewhere, including in Singapore.


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