Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces
Pune property market is a lot more conservative than Mumbai, and there is certainly a market-dictated cut-off point for price escalations, says Anil Pharande, Vice-President of CREDAI Pune Metro and Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that concentrates on township properties in the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) area of Pune.
From technocrat to leading builder…. How did this transformation happen?
I was very interested in what was happening in Pimpri-Chinchwad back then. The idea of being involved in the raising of a planned city on the lines of Chandigarh, so close to Pune, was an exciting prospect. The Pimpri Chinchwad New Town Development Authority (PCNTDA) had taken on an ambitious and laudable task. My first objective was to help steer the path of this planned development, which is why I got involved with CREDAI. Getting into the creation of township properties that would take the best advantage of the benefits that the PCMC offered in terms of superior infrastructure and phased real estate growth was the next logical step.
Can you give us an overview of Pune’s reality market and its growth prospects?
Pune is a powerhouse of potential when it comes to real estate. It is a city of learning and entrepreneurship, and there is a distinctly progressive flavour to everything that happens there. Thanks to the fact that it has become a magnet for IT/ITES and manufacturing companies, the real estate market in Pune is not likely to lose its forward momentum. Having said that, I always had misgivings about the opportunistic manner in which property development was taking place within the PMC limits, and was far more interested in the holistic approach being adopted in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
What is the impact of the price upheavals of metropolis Mumbai on Pune’s realty market?
There is doubtlessly an impact, since a lot of cash-rich buyers from Pune are looking at Pune both as a property investment and retirement home option. The level of demand from Mumbai tends to exert a certain upward pressure on property prices in Pune. However, the Pune property market is still a lot more conservative than that of Mumbai, and there is certainly a market-dictated cut-off point for price escalations.
Do you think that the dismissal of a few big builders from CREDAI over non-compliance will affect the body’s advocacy on transparency?
Not at all. Every administrative body must experience occasional churn in order to maintain its vision and to stay flexible and open to new avenues of progress.
About your ongoing and upcoming residential projects…and future expansion plan?
Woodsville in Moshi is virtually a small town within PCMC, spread over 40 acres with vast tracts of open spaces and a very healthy environment. This hugely successful project, which is being developed phase-wise, has been and continues to be a primary focus for us. I’m also very excited about (L)-Axis, which we are launching along the PCNTDA Spine Road. In contrast to our other projects, which cater mainly to the middle-income group, this is a luxury apartments in pune which will have no rivals in Pimpri-Chinchwad.
Apart from (L)-Axis, Pharande Spaces is planning a residential/IT-ITES SEZ project at Punawale, near Hinjewadi/Wakad, Dehu Road-Katraj Expressway bypass. It will encompass 42 acres in the residential segment and 28 acres for the IT Park. The residential part will have apartments, row houses and bungalows.
What is your take on green building concept? Why is it not popular in India compared to West?
There is a lot of change-resistance and no end of misconceptions about green buildings in India. It is taking a long time for developers and buyers to understand the sound rationale behind them. However, I am seeing a definite awakening now, and I am confident that the next ten years will usher in a slow but steady green revolution in Indian real estate.
There is a general belief that affordable housing by private players is a non-starter in India, do you agree?
I completely disagree. A huge amount of affordable housing stock in our cities is created by small private developers who cannot imitate the scale of the larger players. Countless people would still be waiting in vain for the many Government-driven budget housing schemes that are yet to see the light of day if it were not for these private players. Many national players have also made their mark in this segment and consistently delivered.
(As told to KR Iyer (email@example.com)