Creating an ideal eco-system for firms

Spread over 1,000 acres, Marg Swarnabhoomi contains Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that caters to the engineering industries as well as multi-services sectors. It also has a residential complex, shopping malls, recreation centres, sports facilities, educational institutions, wellness centres, a golf course and a theme park as well.

Autocar Pro News DeskBy Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 07 Feb 2011 Views icon2360 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Creating an ideal eco-system for firms
Real estate major Marg Ltd is creating a holistic atmosphere for business focussing on the engineering industries with special emphasis to the emerging automotive industry for its Marg Swarnabhoomi project, which is being set up at ECR, 80 lm southe of Chennai. The objective is to provide a conducive atmosphere that encompasses businesses, employees and their families and the society at large.

Spread over 1,000 acres, Marg Swarnabhoomi contains Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that caters to the engineering industries as well as multi-services sectors. It also has a residential complex, shopping malls, recreation centres, sports facilities, educational institutions, wellness centres, a golf course and a theme park as well.

The service SEZ has three broad components – a science park, Knowledge Park and innovation park. While the science park is meant for a research and incubation facility for bio-technology, agri-sciences, oncology and such faculties, the knowledge park has technical universities and other educational institutions that will serve as centres of excellence. The last component of the service SEZ is the innovation park, which will feature companies that plan to set up large innovation parks. Also, it will facilitate companies that are willing to collaborate with the universities and work on specific projects and set up innovation labs.

Oscar Braganza, executive director, told Autocar Professional, “We provide them (business community) with a way to be competitive as land costs and operating costs are lower. They also do not have to transport their staff over long distances. Employees can be put up in the houses available for lease or outright purchase. We also have educational institutions setting up shop there, for instance, Virginia Tech of the US will conduct classes on various disciplines of engineering like automobile engineering, bio-technology, and nano technology. What Marg wanst to create is a whole ecosystem for business, living and learning, which aims to make businesses more competitive and innovative.”

For the automotive industry, it makes sense as there is opportunity to have a number of component manufacturers in one place. Transportation costs could be contained as everything is in close proximity. It also lowers down the commuting time for employees from the current average of around two to three hours to around 10 minutes. Asked if the automobile manufacturers have expressed an interest in collaborating with Marg to co-develop or co-promote projects, Braganza said, “The signals are there but it will probably take six to seven months for active collaboration.”

Marg’s SEZ offers several advantages including tax and other benefits. Besides, it offers lower operational costs. Since the company has developed their own way of building sheds and other infrastructure, construction costs have dropped. “We have some interesting models where either the company can buy the land and we build their facility on a build-to-suit model or they can lease facilities. Both models are preferred equally by the automotive component manufacturers,” he said.

The biggest challenge is to reach, says Oscar, “a critical point, where the site is populated with operating units". The company will also expand its footprint in other locations. As regards whether Marg will replicate the SEZ model in other automotive hubs like Pune and NCR, he says, “it is a bit too early to say anything now. But if the Chennai project gets as successful as we expect, it will be huge and we still have 700 acres left for phase two.”

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