Antara - How Analjit Singh's Daughter is Building a New Address for Senior Citizens

The 20 acre complex will have 215 apartments ranging from 1,500 to 8,500 sq ft in size and apartment prices start from Rs 1.3 crore and goes up to Rs 8.3 crore. Construction work is currently in progress at the site

Shabana Hussain
Published: 27, Jun 2014

I have been writing on Indian real estate sector for a little over 7 years. For most part, real estate is a tough to beat to cover, since transparency is not something one associates with the Indian real estate sector. But that is what makes the beat so challenging and interesting. A couple of years back, the emergence of start ups caught my attention. Almost everyday, one hears of a new startup and most of them are based on unique concepts. I find start ups very intriguing and I love the enthusiasm of their founders. Not every startup ends up being a success and I look forward to tracking their growth in the future.

Antara2

The 30 km drive from the Dehradun airport to Antara Housing in Purukul, Dehradun is so picturesque that you don’t want it to end. It feels a little hot by the city’s standards but the heat isn’t half as bad as Delhi’s.

Purukul, a village on the outskirts of Dehradun is home to Antara Housing, a senior living community by Antara Senior Living, a fully owned subsidiary of Max India Group. The property is set against an expansive background of the Mussoorie hills. The silence of the hills is broken only by the noise of the construction equipment.

In a way, the location was chosen by the buyers. When Antara pitched the concept of a senior living community to potential buyers, the popular feedback was it would work well in a semi-urban location. Dehradun was the natural choice for Tara Singh Vachani, CEO of Antara Senior Living. “I can’t hide my emotional connect to Dehradun,” says the daughter of Max India founder Analjit Singh. “My mother and my grand parents are from here, so I have pretty much grown up in Dehradun.”

In the US, senior living communities grew in popularity in the 1980s and 1990s. Indian developers woke up late to the market potential of senior living homes but are catching up quickly. An estimate by real estate consultancy firm Jones Lang LaSalle suggests that there are about 30 senior living projects in India.

Antara which will be ready by March, 2016 is trying out something new. In the absence of trained senior care manpower, developers either outsource the management of the community or use people from the hospitality/healthcare sectors. Moving away from this model, Antara has decided to manage the entire community with an in-house staff trained by the company.

The 20 acre complex will have 215 apartments ranging from 1,500 to 8,500 sq ft in size and apartment prices start from Rs 1.3 crore and goes up to Rs 8.3 crore. Construction work is currently in progress at the site and the only ready structures are a reception area and a sample apartment. In the reception area, the company shows us a video clip about the project. It is the same clip they show to potential buyers. A typical video clip about a property will take you through the brick and mortar details of the project but Antara’s video was all about the living standards they would offer to senior citizens. That explains their decision to in-source services. “We have in-sourced everything because otherwise you can’t maintain the community the way you want to. For instance, we Indians hire help a lot. Where do you find good staff these days? It is a big hassle, We take care of that hassle for our residents with our services” says Tara.

A home in Antara comes with a bouquet of services such as daily housekeeping, laundry services, concierge services and life time maintenance of everything in the house be it the flooring, plumbing, lighting or electrical appliances. It is akin to a serviced apartment though Tara believes it goes beyond that. “If you were to take hospitality, serviced apartments, health and wellness, put it all together and shake it up you get Antara,” she says.

All these services come at a hefty maintenance charge of Rs 40,000 to Rs 1,20,000 a month. The maintenance charge also includes one meal a day, limited medical care which is a consultation with a specialist doctor every month and maintenance of the resident’s medical records.

When it becomes operational, Antara will employ a full time staff of 350 to manage these services and other facilities inside the community such as club house, restaurant, library, arts and craft club, indoor swimming pool, gym and business centre.

One of the reasons for choosing Purukul was because there is a Max super speciality hospital ten minutes away from the community. But, not every ailment requires a visit to the hospital. So, Antara is building a dedicated health and wellness centre on a six acre land diagonal from the community. The centre is accessible by walk or a golf cart. “This is for ailments such as a ear, eye or dental check up,” says Tara. “It will also be home for emergency care if someone needs it.”

Antara has hired international architecture firm Perkins Eastman which specialises in senior living communities in the US and Esteva & Esteva, a Spanish architecture firm for its design. Tara claims the design promotes physical and mental health, promotes social interaction and is considerate of physical frailities. “There will be a total of nine buildings in the community all of which will be connected by a basement,” she says. “Residents can walk from one building to the other through the basement. This is a way to make people walk and keep them fit.” Staircases have been done away with it wherever possible especially in the common areas such as the club house, restaurant etc.

A sample 2-bedroom flat is already ready for showcasing. Potential buyers walk around the apartment trying to make up their mind on buying into Antara. The apartments are custom designed for every buyer. “If you were to buy a home with us, we will sit down with you and decide the interiors,” says Tara.

I took a walk around the sample flat to get a feel of the design. I did feel the apartment had a lot of fine details but some of it is typical of senior living homes. A feature that stood out for me was the hand rail near the threshold of the apartment. I am told it is for support and particularly helps those on wheelchairs. That was a thoughtful detail. Pushing in the wheelchair shouldn’t be a problem because the front door is large enough to accommodate it. But this isn’t unique to Antara. The brochures of most senior living homes talk of doors large enough to accommodate a wheelchair.

Master bedroom at Antara apartment
Master bedroom at Antara apartment

The interior of the house is focused around a large hall leading to adjacent rooms. Since it is a sample apartment, the house is furnished. Antara will deliver a bare shell apartment though the option of a furnished home is offered to its buyers.

The apartment feels cosy because of the dim lights used. I walked around with shoe covers on, so I couldn’t feel the flooring, which has anti-skid tiles to avoid tripping. The hall is flanked by a kitchen and servant quarters on the left side and two bedrooms on the right. I loved that the modular kitchen was more spacious than usual. The kitchen sink, cabinets, cooking stove and other work surfaces have all been kept at the waist level to make it accessible for a person in a wheelchair.

I loved the fact that the apartment has large sliding doors everywhere to accommodate wheelchairs. A lot of thought has gone into building hand rails and grab bars wherever needed. A few features stand out. For instance, motion-sensor lights have been built between the bedroom and bathroom to avoid tripping in the dark. Now, this isn’t a common feature in senior living homes. Antara claims the apartments comply with some of the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This is a first for any senior living home in India.

The community is open to people above the age group of 55. Around 30-35% of the apartments have already been leased. Strangely enough, there is no sale option for buyers. Antara claims the 60-year lease option has the same benefits of a freehold and allows more control over the community. “We don’t want the Residents Welfare Association kind of hassle in our community,” says Tara.

If the sample apartment is anything to go by, the project does offer good quality senior living homes but only for the rich. The apartments are pricey and when you consider the maintenance fee charged every month, the homes become out of reach for most senior citizens. Antara doesn’t shy away from this fact. “We are targeting people who have had a great lifestyle and are now saying that we don’t want to live in a city,” says Tara.

  • Kala

    I Highly appreciate people who think about the seniors in our society. I am a clinical charge nurse for senior citizens and get a lot of opportunity to visit different Independent living for seniors and assisted living for seniors in the US. I totally support this idea of a boutique senior citizen resort like environment. ( you are Independent but are secure too) Would definitely visit your facility next time I am in Dehra Dun.

    on Nov 10, 2015
  • Sangeeta ray

    Would like to know do a get a lease there . Would look for a2 bed room space but with a lot of open space and hill view

    on Sep 27, 2015
    • Harkesh Kanwar

      Dear Ma'am Thank you for interest and kind words. For any further query, please let us know your details or contact us on Harkesh Kanwar Antara Senior Living Ltd, Max House, 1 Dr. Jha Marg, Okhla, New Delhi 110 020 M +91 9873906894 E harkesh.kanwar@antaraseniorliving.com | W www.antaraseniorliving.com

      on Nov 3, 2015
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    on Sep 15, 2015
  • sc passi

    Very expensive even for upper middle class/lower upper end seniors. However it is being planned with great commercial vision. Even if all the apartments are not sold, these can be used as 'pvt. wards/rooms ' of MAX Hospital which is planned /operating close by. Also, a good proposition for parents/relations of NRIs'

    on Aug 30, 2015
  • S.C.Bhasin

    A good project in present times. I am a retired executive from Ranbaxy.Not affordable for retired persons of fixed income. You may look into similar project which is affordable by middle class persons looking for good senior living

    on Aug 24, 2015
  • Jaswant Singh

    looks like I would fit into Antara. Awaiting for more details.Jaswant

    on Aug 10, 2015
    • Harkesh Kanwar

      Dear Sir Thank you for interest and kind words. For any further query, please let us know your details or contact us on Harkesh Kanwar Antara Senior Living Ltd, Max House, 1 Dr. Jha Marg, Okhla, New Delhi 110 020 M +91 9873906894 E harkesh.kanwar@antaraseniorliving.com | W www.antaraseniorliving.com

      on Nov 3, 2015
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  • Kiran Malhotra

    Great job, Tara. We need many more such living institutes for the seniors catering all economic levels. With the life span increasing great potential. Wish I was a doctor and could offer my services and enjoy the in house five star living too.!!! Very esthetically done. Congratulations. If you need volunteers I am there!! All the best for more such projects

    on Jul 15, 2015
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    on Jun 18, 2015
  • DR ATUL KUMAR

    I welcome the idea of developing such a nice project.What i feel personally it is more then an intelligent business project.it shows Antara's care and love for the elderly people.No doubts that when our elders need more care from us we become toooo busy in our work.Well done Antara for all you r doing for our elders.your project will surely get a huge success because you have blessings from our most senior citizens.

    on Jun 15, 2015
    • Harkesh Kanwar

      Dear Sir Thank you for interest and kind words. For any further query, please let us know your details or contact us on Harkesh Kanwar Antara Senior Living Ltd, M +91 9873906894 E harkesh.kanwar@antaraseniorliving.com W www.antaraseniorliving.com

      on Nov 3, 2015
  • debasish das

    If an emergency helipad is there to rescue INDIAN residents immediately after any severe disaster,like"HARPA BAN"&"BHUKAMP"-it's nice then.Another good thing is already there "NATURAL OXYGEN"for COPD patient."MONEY IS WHAT MONEY DOES"visualised at ANTARA.TARA MADAM'S dream project is splendid to every HINDUSTANI.REGARDS.

    on May 17, 2015
  • B s Khurana

    Considering the land area & poor connectivity with the city the cost is very high Rgds

    on May 3, 2015
  • Col (retd) Vijayveer Painoli

    Am a retired Army doctor specialized with Masters Degree in Hospital Administration with 36 years in the Army , and my wife a retd Army Gynaecologist, a Vishishth Seva Medal awardee by the President .Both in our 60's . Dr Parvez Ali Ahmed , my classmate at AFMC Poona was , I believe , with your Max Hospitals . That's our introduction. We live on our pensions of about 1 lac PM. What do you have to offer to us for , say next 20-30 years ?

    on Apr 22, 2015
  • C JAIN

    Real Good

    on Mar 15, 2015
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  • Atul

    Hi, Am Atul From Mumbai & Was Fascinated By Your Project, But It Seems Far Fetched For Common Middle Class Senior Citizens. I am Too Planning For This Kind Somewhere Inbetween Mumbai Pune Highway Away From Main Highway With All Modern Amenities & Trained Dedicated Staff. Kindly Guide Me How To Go About It. Regards--Atul T Kalvani.

    on Feb 2, 2015
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    on Dec 23, 2014
  • Col. GURNAM SINGH GUJRAL

    When will it be ready to move in?

    on Dec 12, 2014
  • Daljit singh

    I have retired as MD of Tata group company my wife was the senior economic adviser with. US consulate Kolkata we are over70 years I have rep Cricket team Bengal UP Bihar Indian teamEast zone etc I play golf at Delhi golf club Tollygolf club RCGC I am looking for some place for retirement Kindly send me the details of your venture I feel very good idea Regards Daljit singh

    on Dec 2, 2014
    • Harkesh Kanwar

      Dear Sir Thank you for interest and kind words. For any further query, please let us know your details or contact us on Harkesh Kanwar Antara Senior Living Ltd, M +91 9873906894 E harkesh.kanwar@antaraseniorliving.com W www.antaraseniorliving.com

      on Nov 3, 2015
  • Mamatha N

    Hi, You all are doing nice and great work.we are expecting all over India Antara branches.I am very much takecare of senior citizen.... Thanking you 07795712847

    on Nov 30, 2014
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    on Nov 27, 2014
  • Dr. PARAM HANS MISHRA

    Great Job Ms Antara. Pl keep it up. (Dr. PARAM HANS MISHRA) MBBS, PGDHHM, PGDIM, MHA (AIIMS), DNB (H & A H ) Medical Superintendent. Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi-110070 9313622552 ,42255242, 26898810 (F) Email-drphmishra@rediffmail.com, drphmishra08@gmail.com

    on Nov 27, 2014
  • Dr Sujit Thakur

    Hello, you all are doing job really nice but i want to put suggestion that the rehabilitation centre will help all those people as it becomes part of life at this age. I am working for senior citizen in NGO and i have concept which will help that people. Thanx and Regards, Dr.Sujit Thakur(PT) 09759741929

    on Oct 13, 2014
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