Twenty-five years ago, Powai was a sleepy Mumbai suburb, known only for the Indian Institute of Technology. Today, it is among the most coveted residential and commercial addresses in the city. Here is a glimpse into the life of Surendra Hiranandani, who, along with his brother, engineered this transformation.
Surendra Hiranandani’s father, Dr. L.H. Hiranandani, is a renowned ENT surgeon. But Surendra and his brother Niranjan realized early in life that their hearts lay in engineering, and specifically, in construction. The brothers went on to launch the Hiranandani Group in the early 1980s with a residential project in Versova. Hiranandani’s first flagship project was the sprawling Hiranandani Gardens in Powai – an integrated residential cum commercial township. The complex combines the elements of Greek, Italian, and Indian architecture, and hosts several corporate offices, shopping complexes, food courts, a hotel, and entertainment centers in verdant settings. The latest additions to the complex from the Hiranandani Group include Loft, one of the largest shoe stores in India, and Culture Shop – the brainchild of Surendra’s wife Priti – an 8,000 sq. ft. store that houses handicrafts and textiles from all over India.
In 2004, the Hiranandani brothers established the Hiranandani Hospital in Powai as a tribute to their father. The hospital has state-of-the-art facilities and highly specialized professionals in almost all branches of medicine. In 1996, the Hiranandani Group set up its new township in Thane, modeled on the Powai complex. Today, the township has all facilities, including a hospital and school.
In April, 2007 Surendra Hiranandani launched his first major solo venture, Upscale, at Mahabalipuram Road, Chennai. The 500 million dollar integrated township targets corporates and the upper middle class. Mr. Hiranandani has announced his intention to launch another Chennai-based project which will be more affordable and suited to the lifestyle of the lower-income brackets. The ambitious builder has envisaged villa-style projects in Bangalore and aspires to expand his empire to include Tier-II and Tier-III cities like Nagpur, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Hosur.
While Hiranandani has won praise and recognition for his work, he has also been criticized for contributing to over-crowding and pollution – especially in Powai. What is your take on the issue?