Anil Pharande, CMD – Pharande Spaces
In Pune, property and quality of life were once synonymous, but that can no longer be taken as a given. In earlier years, it did not really matter much where one chose to buy property in Pune – all locations were more or less supportive of peaceful family life in their own right.
Today, while considering flats for sale in Pune, one has to consider a number of variables – among them the levels of traffic congestion and pollution, the availability of basic facilities such as water and, of course, quality of the neighborhood.
Let us take Kothrud, for example. This once charming area was one of the first suburbs to be developed after the old city. Even today, it is considered a desirable core area due to its strong connection with the city centre via Karve Road. However, for better or for worse, Kothrud is also mentioned in the Guinness Book of World Records as the suburb with the fastest urban growth in the world.
Kothrud started developing in late 90s. Back then, Pune City was truly a Pensioner’s Paradise, with little economic activity. People from Mumbai looking to buy property in Pune preferred Kothrud, naturally leading to an accelerated rate of development.
By the time the IT/ITES boom began in 2000-02, Kothrud was a full-fledged residential destination. Because of this, it fortunately did not go the way of suburbs like Aundh and Baner in the West or Viman Nagar in the East as they joined the IT/ITES bandwagon.
Over the past decade-and-a-half, Kothrud has evolved as one of the most densely populated residential destination in Pune. Residential projects are very scarce and the demand is enormous. However, because of the manner in which it grew, Kothrud was not developed holistically in terms of social infrastructure.
Many other areas in Pune developed on similar lines, and the old Pensioner’s Paradise charm soon gave way to massive, relentless development. This began the hunt for less cluttered and more lifestyle-supportive residential locations.
Fortunately, Pune is not a sea-locked city like Mumbai, and there was scope for looking further ahead. One of the first areas to emerge as a preferred area to settle down was Wakad – a once-nondescript village with 5000 locals who farmed sugarcane, onion and groundnut in its rich, black, fertile soil.
In 1983, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) acquired 50% of this virgin location. By 1998, PCMC counted Wakad as one of its areas. Today, Wakad has emerged as the focus of younger, financially fit families that are looking to upgrade their lifestyle by moving to larger, more nature-endowed homes on the outskirts of Pune City.
With the increasing congestion of the previously preferred area of Aundh, neighboring Wakad was seen as the perfect location, with close proximity to the Infotech and Biotech Parks at Hinjewadi, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Industrial area, the Mumbai-Bangalore Bypass, the Super Express Highway to Mumbai and the Balewadi National Sports complex. Thanks to the Expressway, Wakad is only about 80 to 90 minutes away from Mumbai, and Mumbaikars looking to buy property in Pune saw it as an excellent value proposition.
Of course, Wakad is just one of the chapters that the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has in its book of Pune real estate successes. Today, Ravet and other sectors of Pradhikaran in the PCMC have become the new residential real estate watchwords in Pune. These areas are developing fast and are even now venues of extremely modern integrated residential projects.
However, the development of Wakad marked the beginning of a new residential real estate trend in Pune – the quest for better environments to settle down in and recapture some of Pune’s erstwhile glory as Queen of the Deccan.
Anil Pharande is Vice President of CREDAI Pune Metro and Chairman of Pharande Spaces, a leading construction and development firm that develops township properties in the PCMC area of Pune, India.