Earlier this year, when Aruna and Ganesan Raghuram moved out of their apartment in Ahmedabad’s Vastrapur area to a retirement community in Bangalore, it made for a big change in their lifestyle. Their 3 BHK apartment in Serene Urbana, near the Bangalore airport, is smaller than their 4 BHK flat in Ahmedabad, but it has features that suit the couple. The residents of their building in Ahmedabad belonged to the younger set, whereas everyone in their retirement community (consisting of 320 apartments spread over eight towers) is 50-plus. The complex offers up numerous activities that help its residents socialise and it has a Wellness Centre, with a resident nurse and visiting doctor, to address their health concerns. For Aruna, 58, the best thing is the cafeteria. “Not having to cook is such a luxury,” she says. “I love the lifestyle here.”
Aruna’s husband, Professor Raghuram, 68, spent most of his career at IIM-Ahmedabad till he was appointed Director of IIM-Bangalore from 2017 till 2022. But even before that, he had decided he wanted to move, post-retirement, to Bangalore, where most of his close relatives lived. “When I told friends in Ahmedabad that I planned to move to a retirement community, they were surprised,” he says. “The concept is popular in the South, but it is still new to Ahmedabad.”
That seems to be changing, with several developers now getting into the game. One such developer is Collated Ventures, which has formed a joint venture with Adani Realty to launch Ikaria, a 14-storey building with 140 apartments, located within Adani Shantigram on the SG Highway. Shaan Zaveri, founding partner of Collated Ventures, studied several similar projects, including Antara Dehradun, the high-end project from Delhi’s Max Group and the Prarambh Township in nearby Bavla, before making the plan for Ikaria. “There is a whole spectrum of choices. We decided to do something that offers value and is not too opulent. And we wanted it to be located close to the city, not a retreat in the outskirts,” he says.
Ikaria offers one and two BHK apartments priced between Rs 85 lakh and Rs 1.2 crore and possession likely to start by end-2024. Like Serene Urbana, it has a cut-off age of 55. While the children of the seniors may inherit the flat, they cannot live there until they have reached the cut-off age. Both communities are part of a larger township, which gives residents access to more facilities.
According to Ashish Gargi, vice president, sales & marketing at Adani Realty, Ikaria has sold 30 units since bookings opened six months ago. “We are selling a concept, since elderly parents living independently from their children is still something of a taboo in Ahmedabad,” he says. “So far, 70% of the flats have been bought by seniors, while 30% are bought by their children. One client currently lives alone in 4 BHK flat and he wants to move into a smaller place that will be easier to manage.”
Social interaction is important for retirement communities and the kind of people who might choose to live there are a big selling point. “They would not be from a class where there is a social stigma attached to this. They would be more Westernised, well-off, open-minded,” says Zaveri. Indeed, seniors often buy into retirement communities in groups. “I’ve seen groups of friends and relatives come together to buy apartments,” says Raghuram.
In the West, where the market is more structured, there are separate realty offerings for different segments of seniors, based on the state of their health. Serene Urbana in Bangalore and Ikaria in Ahmedabad are best suited for those who are relatively fit and can take care of themselves. “Ikaria would not be suitable for those who are ill and need constant care,” says Zaveri. “In such cases, there are assisted living facilities for seniors in the West, which offer rooms rather than apartments and there are nurses and doctors on call.”