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SmartCity sets an ambitious target of $2.40 billion

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Projects revenue of ₹281 crore for the current year

Kochi: SmartCity, the much vaunted global knowledge township project, may not have the most auspicious start in Kochi after a delay of almost a decade getting off the block, while the absence of marquee players did little for an image makeover when the first phase was eventually commissioned over a year ago.

But that has not stopped SmartCity Kochi from setting an ambitious revenue target of $2.40 billion to go along with direct and indirect tax revenue of $166 million for the government by 2021. For 2017, it has projected a revenue of ₹281 crore.

SmartCity Kochi is a joint venture formed by TECOM Investments and SAMA Dubai to develop a knowledge township modelled on the lines of Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, and Dubai Knowledge Village.

“More than 70% of the 6.50 lakh sq ft of the first IT building has been eased out. We have three more IT office spaces left for which discussions are on with multinational companies,” said Baju George, Interim CEO, SmartCity Kochi.

Ten out of the 22 IT companies leased space in the first phase have already started operations, and others are doing their fit out.

Global oil giant Baker Hughes, now controlled by GE, is one of the companies to set shop at SmartCity Kochi, apart from Aster Medcity Health Centre, ICICI Bank and GEMS Playschool as support facilities. “The first phase will generate over 5,500 jobs once it is fully occupied by the end of this year,” Mr. George added.

SmartCity Kochi now focuses on adding other retail elements, including a full-fledged international food court, to support the knowledge workforce in the first phase.

The entire 246 acres earmarked for the project has been divided into Zone A, which is the processing zone, and Zone B, which is the non-processing zone. More than 50% of the processing zone will be developed in the first and second phases.

SmartCity Kochi will be developed in three phases. The first phase development was in 11 acres, and in the second phase, SmartCity, through its co-developers, will develop 38.31 acres.

“In the third phase, we will be looking at developing supporting facilities like hotels, retail malls, hospitals, sport centre, residence, mobility hub, and convention centre,” Mr. George said.

The second phase of 90 lakh sq ft is in progress, and the first block of office space, including an international school for 3,500 students, is expected to be ready for occupation by the fourth quarter of 2018.

“The second phase, in which five co-developers are building their independent campuses, will be fully completed by 2020, and the construction of the third phase, which will also be the last, will start by 2018. It is expected to be completed by 2021-22,” Mr. George said.

The three phases will be completed at an estimated investment of over ₹8,000 crore with ₹1,000 crore invested so far on phases I and II.

The State government, on its part, has a stake of 16% in a special purpose vehicle created for the project.

Mr. Baju said when completed, SmartCity Kochi would generate more than 90,000 jobs as originally promised, besides three times more indirect jobs in near community, thus bolstering both local and State economy.

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