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Pune, India's next boom town

By Ravi Teja Sharma
February 10, 2007 13:54 IST
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Pune has been the hotbed of engineering activity for many years now, with the likes of Tata, Bajaj, Bharat Forge and several others based in the city. In recent times though, IT, ITeS and a lot of R&D work has considerably upped the ante of real estate development within the city. The pace of development is unprecedented here and those who visit the city after a long time may find it unrecognisable.

There is a spurt in all three segments  --  commercial, residential and retail. Over the last 2-3 years the Pune residential market has seen huge appreciation in terms of its capital values.

According to Cushman & Wakefield research, certain premium projects in established residential markets like Kalyani Nagar which were launched and started selling in 2003-04 at Rs 1,500-1,700 per sq ft are presently estimate-valued at Rs 4,000-5,000 per sq ft. Land prices too have doubled in most areas over the last year-and-a-half, according to Aditi Watve, senior executive, CMIS, at real estate consultancy Trammell Crow Meghraj.

Development in Pune today is bipolar. The north western side on the road towards Mumbai as well as the eastern side are seeing a lot of IT-driven development.

The high-end residential development is happening at Koregaon Park, Hadapsar, Kalyani Nagar, Boat Club Road, Bund Garden Road, Shivaji Nagar and Law College Road. Places like Deccan Gymkhana, Bhandarkar Road, Model Colony, Kothrud, Senapati Bapat Road and Camp are old posh areas of the city, where generous new developments are taking place today.

According to some estimates, there are 20-25 malls being planned in Pune. As per Cushman & Wakefield estimates, there are 14 upcoming malls in the city that are in different stages of development  --  under construction and in the planning stages.

These upcoming malls are located in the micro-markets of Aundh, Kharadi, Bund Garden Road, Hadapsar, Shastri Nagar, Kalyani Nagar, Karve Road, Raja Bahadur Road, Warje, Wakad, Ganeshkhind Road and Pimpri. Cushman & Wakefield says approximately 4.7 million sq ft of retail (mall) space will come up by the first quarter of 2009.

Commercial office space coming up in different parts of the city, such as Hinjewadi on the western side and Kharadi and Hadapsar on the eastern side, is reserved for mostly the IT sector.

Originally commercial space in the city was in the central business districts (CBD) at Camp, Bund Garden Road and Dhole Patil Road as well as off-CBD areas like Deccan Gymkhana, Senapati Bapat Road and Wakdewadi. According to an estimate by Trammell Crow Meghraj, there is about 20 million sq ft of office space being developed across the city.

Some of the bigger national developers are showing an interest in the city. DLF has taken some land near Hinjewadi on the western side; Unitech has been reported to be looking for land; Reliance is planning a mall close to the Armed Forces Medical College in the Turf Club area. K Raheja Corp is looking at a 1 million sq ft development at Yerawada near Lohegaon airport. This might be a mall-cum-hotel development.

National developers might be here but the flavour of this market is local, says Watve. There are over 300 local builders, some of the more prominent ones being Panchshil Realty, Gera Developments, Paranjape Schemes, Kumar Builders, Kolte Patil and DS Kulkarni Developers.

In Kharadi, Panchshil Realty is building a 4.5 million sq ft IT/ITes SEZ called EON. The first phase at EON with 1 million sq ft of space will be fully operational by July 2007, says Atul Chordia, managing director of Panchshil Realty. Corporates like Honeywell and VSNL have already got space here.

On Senapati Bapat Road, the company is developing 2.2 million sq ft of space which would include an international convention centre, a 430-room Marriott hotel, half a million sq ft of family entertainment centre, a mall, art gallery, high street retail, IT park and a trade tower.

In the residential space, high-end projects are aplenty. Gera Developments are developing 3- and 4-bedroom Sky Villas at Kharadi. "These villas combine the feel and privacy of independent villas with the security and conveniences of apartments," says Sujeet Modak, general manger (product development), Gera Developments.

In addition to 600 Sky Villas, this project will also include a full-fledged country club and a hotel on a total of 25 acres. They also have Gera's GreensVille, with 89 luxury Garden Villas on 13 acres, again at Kharadi.

At Baner, they are developing the Regent Park which incorporates special environment friendly measures like solar water heaters, water recycling plant, motion sensor lights, rain water harvesting, use of efficient building material, along with high-end luxury.

Paranjape Schemes have a township project near Hinjewadi with 150 villas and high-end apartment towers. Shashank Paranjape, managing director, Paranjape Schemes, informs that the 4,000 sq ft villas here would cost over Rs 1.5 crore (Rs 15 million). A five-bedroom 2,500-3,000 sq ft apartment here would cost over Rs 1 crore (Rs 10 million).

Panchshil Realty has residential developments like the Waterfront at Kalyani Nagar and 1 North at Hadapsar.

1 North is a 1.5 million sq ft residential development with seven towers and a total of 400 apartments, which could cost anything between Rs 1.5-5 crore (Rs 15-50 million). The 14 penthouses here cost Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) each and have a private swimming pool, an island kitchen and an elevator that zips you straight into your living room!

With such a strong realty buzz, Pune's real estate action has only just begun.

Hospitality boom in Pune

Let's not forget the hospitality segment here in Pune, which is an essential part of the development process. At the moment, there are only three decent hotels in the city including Sun & Sand, Blue Diamond (now a Taj property) and Le Meridien.

This scenario is about to change soon. According to Siddharth Thaker, associate director  --  consulting and valuation at HVS International, there are 30-odd hotels being planned in the city at the moment. We hear that in a couple of years there might be three Marriott properties, a Hyatt Regency, Radisson, Novotel, Traders Hotel, Royal Orchid and Lemon Tree (the list is very long. . .  and still incomplete) in the city.

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Ravi Teja Sharma
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