Suraj Morajkar, Founder of Sun Estates, is on a mission to dominate the high-end luxury real estate market. Keeping Goan lineage in his heart and mind, Mr Suraj is building luxury boutique hotels such as the Hilton Goa resort and luxury homes for celebrities like Neha Dhupia, Chunky Pandey, Yuvraj Singh among many others. In a conversation with NewsX for its special series NewsX India A-List, Mr Suraj spoke about his journey, vision for Sun Estates and much more.
Reflecting on his journey so far, Mr Suraj said, “I think I was at the right place at the right time with right people. Goa is a fabulous state, which has the influence of Europe and India. If you put that together, there is so much that we get to see here. Our product was developed by keeping the ethos of Goa. Goa has so much architectural influence. It has been under the Portuguese rule for 150 years. Sun Estates has projects that are based on the surroundings of Goa. For us, it is more important to build homes, which has some kind of local language and our ideas of building the properties with the right kind of mindset so Goa adds a lot to the kind of work we do. It has helped us to build our brand from a small village entrepreneur to now building boutiques homes, so our work speaks for us more than anything else. “
When asked if he has any favourites among his various projects, he responded, “I don’t think there is any particular project. All are special for me. Every site and every project that we have built has lot of surrounding inputs. There are homes that have got river touch, some got a sea view, some got walking distance to the beach, and some have padifields. Everything that Goa has, we have been developing. Every project is designed by an international architect, we take our architect to different destinations of interiors of Goa and we show the language, how Goa has turned out over the years and every project turns out great.”
Mr Suraj further reflected upon how the ethos of Goa is so rooted in all his projects. He said, “Our Company has one agenda- we build for posterity. Each project gets a lot of time to get rolled out because we look at it like a movie. Once you develop a project, it remains for hundreds of years. For us, it is not about the hurry to build something because we love our state. My family is almost 500 years old and we know Goa more than anybody. Our idea is to build something new all the time, which remains for posterity and can also add to the profile of the new work. If people like us or the young entrepreneurs do not contribute to the state of Goa, I don’t think it has a great future so it is very important for us to keep the ethos of Goa alive so that the state also survives. “
Goan tourism and real estate sector have been deeply affected by the pandemic. Speaking about its impact on Sun Estates, Mr Suraj expressed, “Fortunately, most of our work is recession proof because our product has so much depth in creation. We have a constant interest in our work and since we are very limited in our inventory so we do not make too much of constructed areas. We have survived beautifully in this pandemic and we have also understood the interest of people. We have developed our product based on the request we have been getting from people over the years from different sectors of the society.”
On being asked how has the demand for real estate changed since Goa is the only place where people think they can have a beach holiday home, Mr Suraj responded, “We started our business when there were no flights coming to Goa, except Bombay and Bangalore. Over a period of time, we have developed the brand and tried to adapt to changing market trends and changing demands. We saw that what our past developers in Goa did, has not added any value to the state so we took a lesson from that. We started making something bigger, more liveable homes. Slowly, people started looking for slightly larger homes, now people are looking at interiors and even larger homes where they can feel part of Goa. We have been doing this for two and a half decade. For us, it is not a science. Only the demand has changed a little bit.”
Sharing his take on real estate sector in our country as a whole, he said, “There is a different segment that the country is currently developing. There is a section where people who do not have a house, people are building houses for them. People who have villas, for them people are building larger homes. I think the current scenario of the country is to ensure a house for everybody. In that segment, the country is doing very well. As far as other segments are concerned, which do not have any ethos attached to them, I don’t think they are having any fortunate buyers so far.”
Speaking about the faith of his clients on Sun Estates, Mr Suraj shared, “We are the only developers, which I can proudly say, that have had highest appreciation from any of our properties. If you look at any of our properties built in last 25 years, they tell our story. Our biggest ambassadors are our buyers; they are the ones who are selling our own homes for last two decades and swear by the brand. To convince any buyer, 80% of the work is done by our buyers. If I was not getting any recommendation, I don’t think people from different segments would have bought our homes.
On a parting note, Mr Suraj shared his vision of the company and expressed, “The vision is very different. I want to leave back a legacy. We as developers, especially our brand, do not have a mindset of accumulating capital. I believe our capital should be invested in architecture and areas where others are not looking to give back. We want to make sure that Sun Estates projects are in every village of Goa and people recognise the brand by the kind of work we have done in last century. I want to move into areas where there is a character, where there is a history. I want somebody to get inspired and move on the idea.”