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At the helm of K Raheja Corp is a man known to be a visionary. Under the leadership of Neel Raheja, Group President, the company has developed several large-scale hospitality, real estate and commercial projects. Raheja and his team have also contributed towards creating an environment friendly society by ensuring that their hotels follow U.S. Green Building Council’s Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design norms.
Alumnus of Harvard Business School, Boston, Raheja – son of real estate tycoon Chandru Raheja — also holds a degree in law from the Mumbai University. He chairs several committees that shape key industry developments and is the Co-Chair of CII-National Committee on Real Estate and Housing.
Over the years, he has worked with his father to steer the diversification of the group’s businesses from real estate to retail brands and world-class hospitality projects, such as Renaissance Mumbai Hotel and Convention Centre, JW Marriott, Juhu (co-owned), JW Marriott Sahar, Mumbai, Westin Hyderabad, Marriott Whitefield, Bengaluru, The Resort—Madh Marve, and Lakeside Chalet—Marriott Executive Apartments. Today, besides the hospitality projects, the company has executed several malls, luxury residential landmarks and commercial business parks such as Mindspace and Commerzone.
Raheja credits his father for his ability to think long-term. “His farsightedness and best-in-class practices helped steer the K Raheja Corp from a real estate company to well-diversified corporate entity. It is his vision that helped us to take the group to the next level.”
The hospitality sector is booming, Raheja adds, and they have ambitious expansion plans.“We have a strong understanding of industry and market trends, which we leverage to identify suitable locations and opportunities. We further leverage the experience and relationships of the K Raheja Corp Group to develop hotels at optimal cost and quality,” he says.
The sector has also gone through several stresses such as considerable debt-related stressed assets, including projects that are left incomplete or whose completion has been prolonged due to lack of funding. “This offers immense acquisition opportunities, too. We will continue to explore avenues to acquire operating hotel assets.” Raheja is keen to continue with the asset-ownership model that allows “us the flexibility to acquire a variety of existing branded hotels.”
According to the recent India Hotel Review Report by Horwath HTL Corporate, luxury/upper upscale hotel segment is expected to witness a growth in the MICE segment and that is a segment he is keen to explore further. “A critical part of our growth strategy is to focus on maximizing the cost-efficiency of our portfolio by following a disciplined approach to asset management and a collaborative working arrangement with our hotel operators to drive profitability.”
In the long-term, Raheja’s plans include branding his hotels with leading global hospitality brands that are well-matched to the location, size and target customer base. “This allows us to save on time and the cost required to build, develop and maintain our ‘own hotel brand’,” he says.