International property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) has realigned its leadership team for Delhi-NCR and Chennai businesses with Badal Yagnik, who was heading operations in Chennai & Coimbatore unit, moving as managing director – Delhi NCR. Sarita Hunt has been elevated as the new managing director of Chennai & Coimbatore.
Based out of Gurgaon, Yagnik will be responsible for driving the firm’s transactions business in Delhi NCR and ensuring further growth in terms of revenue, product offerings and business scale.
Hunt has been working to increase JLL’s share of business in Chennai’s commercial office real estate domain. Her abilities in client relationship management and operational expertise within the Chennai market give her a strong footing, said the real estate consultant in a release.
Santhosh Kumar, CEO – Operations, JLL India said, “Their diverse experience and skill sets will go a long way in ramping up the firm’s established eminence in their respective geographies and businesses.”
Yagnik believes that the pent-up demand for office real estate in NCR is expected to pick up after the general elections and this will drive up rental levels. “Corporate houses, anticipating this development, are showing a lot of interest in acquiring space as well as renegotiating their real estate portfolios ahead of the lease tenure while the rentals are still stable,” he said.
The Delhi NCR commercial office space saw net absorption being at a nine-year low in 2013; however, the overall transaction volumes were higher compared with 2012, and this points towards increased leasing activity in the office market. While consolidations/relocations were the major demand drivers over the past year, improving global business sentiments are likely to enhance office space requirements for both expansion and consolidation needs going forward, according to JLL.
Commenting on the state of the southern market, Hunt said that with heightened competition for Grade A office space in the city’s preferred micro-markets and a decrease in vacancy across the secondary business districts, Chennai will witness a moderate increase in rentals.
“This represents a major opportunity for developers looking at new commercial real estate development there to take advantage of the inherent demand and capitalise on the lack of existing supply,” she said.
The average demand for office spaces in Chennai in 2014 stands at approximately 3.5 million sq ft. On the retail front, 2013 was one of the best years for Chennai, with two large malls with over 1.8 million sq ft becoming operational. However, in the near to mid-term, the lack of any new mall supply means that brands will need to start looking at high street locations. Standalone ‘Big Box’ formats and built-to-suit facilities will also start gaining traction because of the robust demand for quality retail space in the city, according to JLL.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)