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The Commune @ 19 lacs onwards - is it worth investing into this apartment complex

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

/ by Srikanth Eswaran

If you have been going around Bangalore watching the billboards at major traffic junctions, you would not have missed out seeing this advertisement about the commune apartments from golden gate properties. Their unique selling proposition is apartments at 19 lacs onwards as the pricing. There are a few things that I wanted to voice about this project which I will do here for the benefit of those wanting to invest in it. Firstly it is close to the NICE Corridor done by Ashok Kheny and company. They go on to say on their website that there would be a road leading to their apartment from the clover leaf junction that NICE has constructed in Somapura Village halfway between Kanakapura Road and Mysore Road. More details about this so called road or roads are present in their own website.

What I like about this project is that the apartments look nice for that price range of 19 lakhs and up. Golden Gate properties have been consistently improving on their designs ever since their first few projects in Begur (near Bommanahalli) almost 7-8 yrs back. That is good news. The Commune does have its own share of issues as well which are evident from the above photo (again taken from their website, with due credits to them). The main cluster of apartments have a region on the inside which would have dimly lit areas thanks to minimum sunlight penetration. Elevationally the apartments look good at present, but the free areas surrounding them are surely going to be occupied slowly by all other apartment builders, making life hell around that area sooner than later. Already Kanakapura road is a good example of civilization improving day by day so much so that they had to do double laning of that road upto Konankunte junction.

As far as the plans are concerned, they offer three types of flats, two of 900+ dimension and one of 1100+ dimension. After checking out top views of each of these I found only the Plan 1 reasonably okay in terms of spacing of rooms and privacy. The rest were a bit unimpressive but hey then that is what low cost housing is all about! I did not like the fact that other than the hall, no other room had a balcony provided which is bad. Also the specifications are not so impressive as I have seen in certain other apartments of course at higher costs. Also to be noted is that only 50% of the car parks would be concealed while the rest would be open to the elements, and god save your vehicle in such a case.

According to their own costing sheet the prices for the starting at 19 lacs apartments would now end up to be either 25 lacs or 30 lacs for the bigger one. So is it affordable living? Think again, I sold my apartment at HSR layout for just a thirds more than this.

Two other things really bother me about the Commune. One is that in their walkthrough they show a road from the clover leaf junction all the way upto their apartment complex which in my opinion would never exist. NICE company is smart enough not to provide entry and exit at the clover leaf junction for every tom, dick and harry. Why for that matter I would be surprised if Banashankari 6th Stage BDA layout manages to secure one exit and one entry point into the clover leaf. And in the case that this entry and exit are not provided, the Communists if I may call them so :) would then have to either reach Ravi Shankars ashram or Mysore Road to secure an entry into the NICE BMIC-Peripheral Ring Road linking Tumkur Road with Electronics City. So I would take this road approach statements and plans with a pinch of salt.

The second most irritating thing is that the compound wall of the Commune directly abuts or is adjancent to Vrishabavathi Valley or river. For those who do not know what this river is all about, dont have your hopes high, here is the wikipedia description of the river - The Vrishabhavathi River is a minor river that flows north of the Indian city of Bangalore. The Vrishabhavathi is a tributary of the Arkavathy River. The majority of the sewage emanating from Bangalore is carried by these two rivers. Click here for more information. If you want to see a map of how the river flows until it reaches a sewage treatment plant on Mysore Road, see the figure below. (note that the blue river flowing behind the apartments in the figure above is the one being spoken about)

So with this said, how would you like to live bang next to a sewage river? My guesses are as good as yours. There are positives with Commune in trying to provide low cost housing in these troubled times, and there are cons of living next to the NICE clover leaf and the VV Valley/River. Once the mysore bangalore corridor is operational the noise levels in the corridor are expected to go up manifold disturbing peace and harmony all around given the fact that we Indians are fond of honking our vehicles even when there is no necessity for doing it.

This review is not about deciding whether the Commune indeed is the next wave of low cost housing and whether it is the best project till date in town as far as low cost housing is concerned. But it does touch upon the projects highlights to meritoriously put forth a few points to note before investing into it.

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