Sourcing

New Surat Diamond Bourse To Be World’s Largest Office Complex

SourcingSep 20, 2023

New Surat Diamond Bourse To Be World’s Largest Office Complex

The massive space spans 7.1 million square feet with more than 4,000 offices and 131 elevators.

The new Surat Diamond Bourse
The new, $385 million Surat Diamond Bourse is scheduled to officially open in mid-December and will become the largest office building the world, surpassing the Pentagon.
Surat, India—Later this year, Surat, the undisputed diamond manufacturing capital of the world, will take its next big step.  
On Dec. 17, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is among those scheduled to be on hand to inaugurate the new complex that will house the Surat Diamond Bourse (SDB), said bourse CEO Mahesh Gadhavi.  

The opening will usher in a new era for the city’s diamond industry, one where an ultra-modern trading eco-system will complement the world-class manufacturing infrastructure India’s developed over the past two and a half decades. 
 
Though its high-profile inaugural event is still a few months off, the bourse already has been making headlines.  
 
In July, CNN reported that the Surat Diamond Bourse will be the largest office building in the world, surpassing the Pentagon in size with its 7.1 million square feet of floor space. 
 
Taking over this mantle was not the aim of the project when it was conceived; its sheer size is reflective of demand from the industry, SDB officials have pointed out. 
 
Spread out among nine 15-story office towers connected by a central corridor, the complex will have 4,700 office spaces ranging in size from 300 square feet to more than 1 million square feet, 131 elevators, and “ample” open spaces for more informal networking. 
 
Surat Diamond Bourse at night
20230920_Surat Diamond Bourse night: A nighttime shot of the new Surat Diamond Bourse

It is designed to accommodate 67,000 professionals related to diamond trading and ancillary services and cost about $385 million to build.  
 
Despite its mega proportions, SDB has been planned so as to minimize environmental impact.  
 
It has achieved compliance with the Platinum Standard laid out by the World Green Building Council with features such as rainwater harvesting, solar power generation, recycled water systems, and ample use of local construction materials. 
 
The architecture firm that designed the bourse, Morphogenesis, describes it as a structure that integrates high-density commercial architecture with efficient climate-responsive design. 
 
Gadhavi said the bourse follows the principles of Panchtattva, aligning with the five elements of nature: air, water, fire, earth and sky. 
 
The consultants said these design principles ensure that nearly 50 percent of the structure is cooled using natural ventilation due to the directional axis along which the structure is aligned as well as the separation of towers for greater circulation.  
 
Documents also show that solar power will be utilized in common areas and a radiant cooling system, among other innovations, will enable the building to remain cool even during the hottest summer months. 
 
SDB will be one of the landmarks of a new business district called DREAM (the Diamond Research and Mercantile City), envisioned by Indian planners to be a “smart city,” one of a few being developed in Gujarat.  
 
Gadhavi said the bourse will be fully focused on trading activities and will be center like no other.  
 
Work on the interiors is progressing rapidly, and he said by the time the bourse officially opens its doors in December, more than 1,000 offices are expected to be fully functional. 
 
 Related stories will be right here … 
 
So, what impact will the new bourse have on India’s diamond industry? There are no easy answers. 
 
Diamantaires leading the new bourse project believe it is an idea whose time has come.  
 
They stress that a second diamond trading hub in Surat, one that brings manufacturing and trading activity together in close proximity, will promote efficiency and save costs for many players, especially smaller companies.  
 
It also will improve the quality of life for those who either have long daily commutes from the distant suburbs of Mumbai to their jobs or have to spend four to five hours traveling between Mumbai and Surat multiple times a week, they say. 
 
There are others, however, who point out that Mumbai did not emerge as a trading hub for diamonds by sheer chance. When the industry began to take important strides in the global arena, it offered all the advantages of a modern, international city.  
 
Moreover, Mumbai is the country’s de facto financial center.  
 
Infrastructure that facilitated global trade in diamonds already was in place, with a well-connected airport, a network of banks that offered trade financing and emerging integrated business hubs like the Bandra Kurla Complex, which is home to Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB).  
 
These factors will impact relocation decisions, in their view. 
A few leading companies have gone on record stating that they will be shifting their entire operations to Surat but not many diamantaires are willing to publicly commit to which is their preferred option.  
 
More than a few have acquired space in SDB in addition to BDB and say they will run operations across both locations.  
 
Observers point to structures that families, especially those heading the industry’s largest diamond companies, have evolved over the past two decades as Surat emerged as a mega-manufacturing center.  
 
These families divided responsibilities among their members, with one or more focusing on Surat-based manufacturing operations while others looked after Mumbai-based trading activity. Such arrangements are likely to continue, they say.  
 
For some of the smaller and mid-sized companies, this option may not be economically viable.  
 
A third school of thought opines that India has consolidated its position in the natural diamond industry and is now an emerging power in lab-grown diamonds as well.  

Given the sheer size of the former product segment, which it is expected to maintain for the next decade or more at least, and the estimated potential of the sunrise lab-grown diamond sector, there may come a time when the combined space of the two bourses won’t even be enough to handle the volume of diamonds being traded.  
 
Only time will tell which viewpoint will prove to be correct.  
 
Stephen Regois a senior journalist from India with extensive experience writing about the gem and jewelry industry.

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