NDIA-WATCHERS will tell you that the coun-
try’s economy is passing through a rough phase.
And its real estate market is not in top gear. But
a Singapore family, which has been in the property
business for a long, long time, is going ahead with its
first real estate venture in India.
The Jumabhoy siblings Iqbal, Asad and Mimi
Nassem are developing a 15-acre plot in Banga-
lore’s Whitefield, promising villas that match Singa-
pore standards. The land they are developing has
been with the family for several years. It was
bought by Mr Iqbal Jumabhoy’s father in the ’90s.
Said Mr Iqbal: “In the current state of the real es-
tate market in India, Bangalore is one of the bright
spots and Whitefield within Bangalore is an even
brighter spot. That is why we decided to go ahead
with this project at this time.”
The development named Raffles Park – consist-
ing of 61 villas – will be built in four phases. The
first phase of 20 villas was sold out even before the
project was launched.
“We are doing a preview this weekend here in
Singapore for the second phase,” said Mr Iqbal, 56.
The Jumabhoys anticipate strong demand for this
phase, which comprises 15 villas, from Indian na-
tionals and people of Indian origin living here –
quite a few of whom are among those who bought
villas from the first phase.
Mr Iqbal says Raffles Residency, which is build-
ing Raffles Park, will give people exactly what they
And what is it?
“What you are seeing perhaps is one of the few
projects where only 19 per cent of the land is cov-
ered. It is special in its design because it is consistent
all the way through. It is being put together by a de-
veloper they know. The project is being thought
about not just for the way its residents live today
but the way they will live in future,” said Mr Iqbal,
giving examples of how every villa will have a bed-
room on the ground floor that can be for aged par-
ents or for use by a guest. It will also have a lift.
The villas, consisting of a basement and three
floors, will have two family rooms. This is to ensure
that while some in the family may want to watch
TV, the children can do their own things in the other
Singapore architecture firm WOW Architects
and India’s Karan Grover, known for his green de-
signs, are the architects for the development.
Said Mr Iqbal: “It is usually expensive to do some
of the features we have put in and we have priced
the villas very competitively in the market probably
at the lower end of its scale for that quality and
that’s come out of our own margins. This will create
a name and a standard for what we are trying to
“I believe that the features we incorporate in the
villas should interest the NRI in Singapore the most
because the style is known and they can look up the
houses that WOW Architects have done here.”
The project’s green features include water recy-
cling, rainwater harvesting and the possible use of
According to the company’s head of sales and
marketing Jayendra Krishna, all villas will have
charging points for electric cars.
“For people who live here it is a Singapore home
back home,” he added.
The location of the development is one of the big
plus points. The International Tech Park, built and
managed by Ascendas and which is home to many
tech companies, is nearby and so are many tech
firms. Several senior executives working in these
companies would want to live in a residential com-
plex like Raffles Park, said Mr Iqbal, who holds a
master’s degree in ocean engineering and an MBA
He added that the outer Ring Road coming up in
the vicinity will give residents faster access to the in-
Elaborating on why the villas would find favour
with many, he said: “You find tastes are changing be-
cause so many Indians who have lived or studied
abroad now want to work in India but cannot get
the kind of housing they are used to and we are try-
ing to provide that.”
The villas – four to an acre – are priced at
Rs8,900 per sq ft. The price is marginally, about 10
per cent, more than it was in the first phase.
Each villa will have three carpark spaces, two
covered and one open and the total plot area will av-
erage 4,500 sq ft. The entire project will be complet-
ed by the end of next year.
Mr Iqbal and his siblings are third-generation Indi-
ans here. Their grandfather came from Kutch and
set up a trading and shipping business. Mr Iqbal’s fa-
ther turned the direction of the business to proper-
ty. His sister Mimi runs a furniture business and she
will look after the interior design aspect of the villas
while brother Asad helps in marketing the project.
Iqbal Jumabhoy and his
two siblings embark on
Green homes... the
Jumabhoy siblings (from
left) Iqbal, Mimi Nassem
and Asad are developing
a 15-acre plot in
promising villas (above)
that match Singapore
March 7, 2014