Anil Pharande on his vision and his expectations of the PCMC of the future
The Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation follows a real estate model that has proven to be the most progressive and sustainable all over the world. The essence of this model is ‘planned development’ or ‘controlled urbanization’. PCMC is a twin city to Pune, but in that respect is uniquely different. Pune’s real estate development has not followed any sort of plan, and it is not hard to see it as a smaller version of chaotic Mumbai in less than 25 years.
A HOMOGENEOUS, MULTI-FACETED MOSAIC
In the same time span, PCMC will have attained its fullest potential as a model city of the future. Obviously, it will look very different from what we see today. It will have grown exponentially, into a harmonized montage of large industrial units, IT Parks, hotels, shopping and entertainment plazas, educational institutes and healthcare facilities – towering above public parks and gardens and crisscrossed with multi-lane roads and flyovers.
Further, the additional 25,000 acres of land that have come within the PCMC jurisdiction by virtue of the last Development Plan will eventually result in the addition of at least 2 million new homes. These homes will cater to every social stratum of property buyers, from the lower to the high income segments.
HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL EXPANSION – CREATING A SPECTACULAR SKYLINE
In other words, there will be tremendous – yet controlled – horizontal real estate growth over the next 25 years. Most spaces allocated for residential use will have been utilized for that purpose. But this will not result in an urban jungle, since the PCMC planning blueprint will enforce the maintenance of vast green spaces at all stages of development.
Moreover, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation will at all times endorse self-sufficient real estate developments such as townships and other integrated residential projects. The authorities have long since recognized that these are the most sustainable and progressive models for optimum real estate growth. These projects will ensure a scientific uniformity to the horizontal growth.
However, even these 25,000 acres will not suffice, since PCMC will have to accommodate a massive demand for housing. The following graph illustrates this point – it charts the population growth in PCMC over the last 25 years, and clearly depicts that this growth has been almost ten-fold (from 200,000 to 2 million).
As the graph below indicates, there is reason to believe that population growth is likely to cross 50 lakhs (5 million) by 2035
This growth will be fuelled by several factors. On the one hand, there will be a huge requirement for homes from the rapidly growing manufacturing sectors of Pimpri-Chinchwad and the Chakan-Talegaon belt. Chakan itself, though a burgeoning industrial hub, has little to offer by ways of residential facilities. The onus naturally falls on PCMC, which will necessarily be the residential location of choice for the entrepreneurs and employees of these units.
Simultaneously, there will be the spill-over effect from Pune City (which will have reached complete saturation point in the next 25 years). We further have to factor in the ever-increasing migrant population from all over the country, attracted as much by the excellent education institutions as by the varied career opportunities.
The obvious solution lies in growing vertically as well as horizontally. More land will have to come within the purview of planned development, and building heights will need to increase from the currently permitted 70 metres – approximately 22 floors plus parking – to 100 metres or more. FSI, which still currently stagnates at 1, will need to be raised to at least 2, or even 2.5.
In 25 years, PCMC will be a skyscraper city on the lines of Gurgaon.
In most cities, such growth would mean serious infrastructure challenges. We have already seen what happens in a city like Mumbai, where skyscrapers are being built without sufficient parking, connectivity and municipal amenities to support them. However, thanks to the master plan that PCMC will always adhere to, the necessary infrastructure will precede the building of high-rises. I firmly believe that 25 years from now, the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation will serve as a national and even international benchmark for planned, scientific vertical real estate growth.
An essential pre-requisite to support this massive growth is an advanced public transport system. With an eye on this future requirement, PCMC has adopted a model similar to Ahmedabad’s Janmarg – a scientifically designed BRT-based public transport system spanning 130 km across 14 routes in PCMC. This system involves 4-lane wide, exclusive roads with grade separators that will reduce the dependence on private transport in favour of more efficient public transport. This, in turn, will result in smooth traffic flow, less road blocks, radically lower pollution levels and a healthier, energy-conserving environment. To ensure that there are no hitches in the development of this lifeline, the PCMC has established an Urban Transport Fund for its funding.
Another pre-requisite for efficient transport is more connecting roadways. A ring road is on the drawing boards, but that will become truly effective only with the implementation of a hub-and-spoke road network. To illustrate this point, there are currently only two arterial roads connecting Pune with Pimpri-Chinchwad, and only two connecting Pimpri-Chinchwad with Chakan. These cannot sustain the enormous increase in vehicular traffic that industrial and residential growth will generate.
Again, it is my opinion that this alone may not suffice to cater to the public transport needs that will emerge over the next two decades. I personally feel that an elevated skybus or monorail network or even an underground rail network will be called for.
THE ULTIMATE GAMECHANGERS
I cannot end these musings without mentioning the new international airport being planned near Rajgurunagar and the International Convention Centre at Moshi, which will cover a sprawling 200 acres. The Convention Centre alone will spawn a huge tourism, hospitality and retail boom which will convert PCMC into a major urban destination both within and outside Maharashtra, perhaps second only to Mumbai. Global hotel chains will have redefined the hospitality sector, and the shopping centres will be populated by marquee retail brands.
In fact, the next two decades are surely going to see PCMC being catapulted into the international Big League, giving it a distinct global identity in its own right.
Anil Pharande is President, CREDAI – PCMC and Chairman, Pharande Spaces, one of the most innovative developers in Pimpri-Chinchwad
PUNE: New constructions that have come up in villages situated in the 10 kilometre periphery of the Pimpri-Chinchwad township have collectively paid Rs 60 lakh in the last three months for obtaining a No Objection Certificate from the fire brigade.
Kiran Gawde, chief fire officer of PCMC, said the money was charged in accordance with the state government notification issued in May this year to ensure planned development in areas surrounding the Pimpri-Chinchwad township. So far NOCs have been issued to 20 new constructions in 77 villages of Khed and Maval talukas. Earlier, A similar notification was issued to villages lying close to the Pune Municipal Corporation limits.
Uday Wankhede, deputy chief fire officer of PCMC fire brigade said, “Developers of 20 new constructions had applied to obtain the NOC. Most of them were for residential use while others were for hotels and hospitals.”
The Sayaji Pune is the second property in India for the hotel representation company. The Mark Hotel in Bangalore became a Luxe Hotel member earlier this year.
In making the announcement, Efrem Harkham, Founder and CEO for Luxe Worldwide Hotels noted, “The Sayagi Hotel Pune is a great addition to our portfolio, and a natural complement to our first India hotel in Bangalore. These hotels are located in two of the fastest growing cities in the country and in major economic and cultural hubs, offering tremendous potential in terms of travelers to India.”
Pune is the second largest city in the state of Maharashtra and one of the leading centers for the IT and automotive industries, including many of the US companies doing business in India. The Sayaji Hotel offers the finest in luxury and services for business travelers to Pune. This stylish and comfortable hotel enjoys a quiet location in the middle of the IT Park.
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The last three years have seen hectic activity on the luxury hotel front in Pune, with several premium Indian and global brands opening up properties. The latest entrant in this space being The Westin from the Starwood Group.
The number of rooms in this segment, at around 1,500, has nearly trebled during this period, involving an estimated expenditure of Rs 3,000 crore. There are several more properties in various stages of construction, including a Hyatt due to open this month. In the next 2-3 years, another 2,000 five-star rooms are expected to hit the market.
For a city that primarily caters to the business traveller, and holds little potential for leisure tourism, industry observers aver that there are just too many rooms to make good business sense.
The recent slowdown has impacted the industry to such an extent that luxury rooms are on offer for 35-50 per cent of the rack rate, and can come for a package that could be as low as Rs 3,000 for a day, with breakfast thrown in.
As the situation stands today, room occupancy is at a low of 50-55 per cent and the discounted prices have led to poor recoveries.
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