Monday, 15 February 2016


From a real estate perspective, there are changes in Thane’s skyline which are apparent: it is now bigger, better and beautiful. Where will Thane’s real estate reach, as 2016 moves into high gear?
From stand-alone, plain vanilla structures to lifestyle-plus homes in exclusive complexes that offer amenities on par with international trends – Thane has evolved in the last couple of decades. Across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), it is among the fastest growing urban conglomerations, if not the one clocking the fastest growth. As towering structure soar into the sky, Thane’s homes offer decks where residents can commune with nature: when it comes to leveraging the positives of nature and environment, Thane’s developers have been ‘on target, every time’.

As projects continue to draw residents from across Mumbai and the suburbs, Thane’s real estate needs to chart out its future. True, it has grown from a multi-dimensional residential location which had the promise of becoming a self-sufficient city. It has been true to its potential, and then some more, and going into the future, will we see it fulfilling the potential of becoming a truly Global City?
There is one aspect of being ‘blessed by nature’ in form of an ideal environment - consider the Ulhas River and the Yeoor Hills and the awesome views they offer – and then, look at the sort of real estate product which is required to match these.

Being in close proximity to nature requires ushering in a new level of residential realty, one which can provide all this, and then, ‘convenient living’ for residents. In that sense, when we look at Thane’s skyline and consider the projects and what they offer, one might say the city has more than fulfilled the potential it showed in the late 1990s. The question is, what potential does Thane have for the 2020s and 2030s?

As a Global City in the making, Thane has one advantage: the existing Mumbai airport and the new (Navi Mumbai) airport which is coming up are both situated in neighbouring cities, so the negatives will not accrue to the city – but, thanks to excellent connectivity, the advantages will. It does make for an accurate assumption that Thane’s future will probably be written on linkages that enhance connectivity and in effect, bring in ‘speed’ to linkages with neighbouring cities. Flyovers which will provide expressways with quicker access, Metro and Mono Rail linkages which will supplement the existing suburban railway network to make Thane well networked – all things better will happen once these speedier linkages become a reality.

So, what sort of homes will be required, for the home seekers who will come on the ‘fast track’? For one, it will not be ‘affordable living’ alone. From a time when real estate in Thane was seen, from a developer’s perspective as having ‘triple potential’ – affordability, accessibility and ambience – now it seems all set to morph to luxury, life-style and leisure.

The new wave of residential real estate in thane spells ‘luxury’ with a capital ‘L’, and projects that offer all the amenities that one expected in high-end projects in Mumbai are being not just matched, but bettered. Thane residential realty has gone one-up on whatever Mumbai could offer in terms of amenities and facilities, it has already encompassed larger sized apartments which essentially, are ‘palaces in the sky’.

Let us look back, at the period gone by - in terms of ‘affordability’ Thane’s residential real estate has delivered to its potential  – it offers homes to suit all. In terms of accessibility, it is probably the most centrally located residential conglomeration, easily accessible from South Mumbai, Western Suburbs, Navi Mumbai, Bhiwandi and Panvel – Thane is also the nodal point for neighbouring cities like Nasik, Pune or Surat. Coming to ‘ambience’, it has all aspects of urban living while not compromising on space, quality of life and culture. And all this is backed by vision of Local Authorities -- Thane has more than stood up to the expectations of developers and also the common man – and, it has a bright future as well. Developers look forward to working to the city’s potential and planning projects that will meet the expectations of home seekers in 2020 and 2030. Thane has excellent development in certain pockets and locations - Pokharan and Ghodbunder Road are examples. And, there is a vast land bank yet to be developed, which offers immense scope for future development. The need is to plan Thane’s skyline in a manner that is ‘future perfect’.

Present-day, we see that Thane’s skyline is undergoing a paradigm shift – from a time when projects offered homes that were ‘value for money’, now it is a race to provide the best. Thane projects are being considered as the ‘next home’ by home seekers from south Mumbai as also NRIs returning to India, and the residential realty offerings are keeping pace with what a Global city should offer.
 Residential projects in Thane now offer ‘global themes’ which is touted as being a logical sequence in the evolution of Thane’s residential real estate. From the time when Hiranandani Meadows offered global design and architecture which made Thane go ‘wow!’ to developments like Neelkanth Project in Pokharan II which offered a swimming pool in its club house which looked like an extension of the Upvan Lake or the Neelkanth Villa project which offered the type of homes that hadn’t been seen before, each phase has spelt, ‘evolution’. Present day, Thane projects offer themes that are global in nature – which most real estate experts say is ‘logical’. Home seekers in 2016 want something beyond four walls and a ceiling with a floor – they want a theme, and in the high-end segment, this is something that Thane’s developers are only too happy to provide.

In 2016, Thane’s themed projects incorporate an interesting interplay of high and mid-rise towers that weave in the elements of nature. In these new global themed projects, towers are planned so that they have cool air funnelled to homes, east - west orientation to maximize light and energy, verdant landscaped gardens, sun shading to keep the heat out, azure blue swimming pools and lots more. These projects offer ‘luxe’ apartments with globally themed amenities such as fully air-conditioned homes, agglomerated marble, club houses, and so on. The global aspect is best underscored by themed landscape that underscores the elements.

Theme based projects are becoming a new trend in Thane, and that is helping the city to create an identity on a global platform. As an example, consider the project Rumah Bali, which is conceptualized on Balinese theme which is targeted at the fastest growing number of discerning home buyers, who seek best of international class concept and construction.
Thane projects have taken to global themes, given that home seekers want something new and different from what is been provided by Thane’s developers presently.
Thane has performed to its potential, but what of its future? One looks forward to the skyline of 2020 an 2030 – and, considering that it has fulfilled potential so far, it will definitely continue to do so.

Friday, 29 January 2016


With three real estate exhibitions lined up across the first month of 2016, January offers a lot of promise for real estate development and growth in Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). Regardless of how good the number of walk-ins are at the real estate expos – (i) BANM, (ii) MCHI-CREDAI Thane and (iii) MCHI-CREDAI Kalyan – Dombivali, the one aspect which will have a positive impact on residential real estate across Mumbai and the MMR has to do with commercial real estate.

In a trend that has been growing across 2015, across Mumbai and the MMR, “consolidation” and “relocation” have been the buzz words when it comes to commercial real estate. Companies which had more than one office, housed in different locations, are now looking at consolidating the same into one campus. Since existing work spaces do not offer availability of large spaces to house such consolidated spaces, the only solution is to relocate. In this quest for the ideal location to consolidate and relocate, Thane seems to have become the present-day preferred choice for such transactions, with Ghodbunder Road (GB Road) and Wagle Estate leading the ‘preferred list’. Effectively, this has resulted in increased demand for homes in Thane – and this is just the beginning. The spill-over effect will be felt in Kalyan – Dombivali as also in Navi Mumbai, but the present-day ‘centre of action’ remains Thane.

This movement in commercial real estate across Mumbai and the MMR is also in sync with the positive sentiments in Indian commercial real estate, reflected by similar trends across India: with increase in demand for commercial real estate pointing to signs of visible recovery over 2015, going into a even better 2016.

The ‘Sentiment Index’ from Knight Frank India, for July to September 2015, shows the supply side stakeholders as being ‘reasonably optimistic’ about the office spaces market, there is an expectation  that leasing volumes will improve at the back of limited supply.

What makes Thane important in present-day for corporate relocation? The location is important to Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR). It is an ideal place for residential real estate and an ideal location for office spaces. This aspect dove-tails perfectly with the increased demand for residential real estate in Thane. This ‘being in sync’ aspect of corporate moving into Thane and residential real estate registering increase in enquiries and serious site visits have proved to be the latest trend in real estate. The demand for homes in Thane is being driven by a work-force that is re-settling in Thane, be they from work-spaces in BFSI or IT & ITeS sectors.

Thane has emerged as one of key office markets in Mumbai with various companies setting up or moving their operations there. Various infrastructure developments over the last few years have been responsible for the growth of Thane as a prominent business hub, and within Thane, Ghodbunder Road is by far, the mixed-use realty hot-spot in a win-win situation, being the linkage that offers excellent connectivity, linking Mumbai’s central and western express highways. Ghodbunder Road also links Thane to commercial cities like Pune, Nashik, Vapi, Surat and beyond. In terms of suburban travel, for work-force of companies which relocate to Thane, suburban train connectivity to Mumbai CST, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan-Karjat-Kasara is a given. Ghodbunder Road’s western end connects through Mira Road and Bhayandar stations to the Western Railway’s suburban network. Effectively, the workforce of any corporate, residing in the MMR, will have smooth and easy access to Thane.

Thane offers the integrated  townships, which as a model, has been a success. Thane’s real estate will witness development including residential and commercial realty with social infrastructure in sync with the mixed-use development. It offers work spaces as also residential real estate. For the corporate entities who set up work spaces here as also the families which make Thane ‘home’, this mixed-use, integrated township projects offer all major lifestyle amenities and facilities, including academics, healthcare, retail and entertainment facilities.

As the current-day ideal location to consolidate and relocate, Thane seems to have become the preferred choice. The future growth potential, however, points to Navi Mumbai’s Panvel region.

Panvel has the advantage of being located between two IT and ITeS hubs, Mumbai and Pune, which makes it the future ‘corporate relocation and consolidation’ location in the MMR. Panvel has the potential to become the ‘next big happening location’ in MMR. It is positioned ‘just right’, when  one looks at not just commercial as also a residential real estate destination. It offers the potential of planned connectivity linkages, which include the Sewree Nhava trans harbour link; the railway passenger terminus at Panvel station; starting of passenger traffic on the Karjat – Panvel section of the Central Railway as also the Navi Mumbai international airport,  these make  Panvel, as part of the Navi Mumbai region, a ‘future perfect’ real estate destination.

In the Navi Mumbai region, Panvel seems to be the ideal, the future for corporate relocation and consolidation across the MMR. The planned work space options in Navi Mumbai’s Panvel region will be best suited to the new age Indian, one who has a global perspective and aspires to work and live a truly global life in a real estate location with fantastic growth potential. Gardens, play areas, entertainment clusters which will include schools, food and beverage options, convenience stores and health centres will offer in Panvel, within the Navi Mumbai region, a stress-busting environment for those who will, in the near future, work and reside in this region. Present-day, corporate relocations and consolidation of different office spaces is a growing trend within the MMR, with ‘advantage Thane’ while the near future would seems to point towards Panvel in the Navi Mumbai region all set to be ‘the relocation and consolidation space of the future’.