Monday, November 14, 2011: 05:55:15 PM



Mayur Shah highlights the growing need for township development in India, and highlights Panvel in particular as an area with immense potential

Arecent study conducted by Cushman & Wakefield estimated that seven major cities in India will experience a shortage of 1.3 mn housing units in the next five years. The report Embracing Change—Scripting the Future of Indian Real Estate comprises data based on National Capital Region (NCR), Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata for 2011–15. As per the report, in the same period, the total demand of residential property will be 2.3 mn units, of which, a mere 1 mn will be supplied.

Town Talks
Taking into consideration the inevitable need for better housing, developers have begun to explore township development with a new fervour. Townships are settlements that are located in the extended parts of a city and feature excellent facilities, amenities and infrastructure. Considering the present demand of real estate and soaring property prices, townships are the answer to luxurious living at an affordable price. Locations such as Panvel and Badlapur in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) have emerged as hot destinations in order to meet residential housing demand. The property rates offered here are lower than those in the main city.

Recognising the market potential in this area and in a bid to cater to the growing demand for housing, Marathon Group has launched ‘Marathon Nexzone’—a township project in the emerging business district of Panvel. Sprawled over 26 acres, the township is well-connected by various modes of transportation. It is located at a mere 3 km from Panvel Railway station, 4 km from Panvel bus terminus and 7 km from the proposed Navi Mumbai International Airport. The project is also in close proximity with schools, colleges, hospitals, shopping and recreation areas.

Far from the Crowd
With current infrastructure and improved lifestyle, Panvel has become the fastest-growing destination in MMR and is located not very far from the metro. Many major infrastructure developments are planned and have been initiated in Panvel. Riding on the wave of massive infrastructure development, Panvel— the gateway to the Konkan region—has emerged as one of the most preferred real estate destinations, both for residential and commercial properties. Property rates are in the vicinity of `4,000 per sq.ft, and this number is expected to rise by at least 50–60 percent once the airport is operational. In fact, land prices have already tripled within the past year since the cabinet approval for the airport was announced. The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Ltd (CIDCO) is also planning a new parallel road bridge over the sea to the Chembur-Vashi road bridge, which will almost exclusively cater to airport traffic. Additionally, two major railway links are planned between the existing Santacruz airport and the proposed Navi Mumbai airport through a metro (being built by Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ) and a new ring rail network linking Panvel and Vashi. Other developments such as the proposed mono and metro rail project, Navi Mumbai SEZ, the proposed international airport near Panvel promises to change the skyline of Panvel as a location in the near future. Developments in Panvel are not limited to improvements in terms of infrastructure or connectivity; the area is also gearing up to offer an array of recreational centres. There has been a noteworthy spurt in the number of departmental stores in the area, and a few malls are expected to be built soon. The picturesque hills of Panvel have been an all-time attraction for home-seekers, and developers are fast waking up to this, as well as the plus points of this region.

The Nex(t) Zone
Marathon Nexzone is a strategically-located and thoughtfully-planned township project. The Marathon Group has developed this area as a mixed-use township development, which is master-planned and divided into residential and commercial-cum-retail zones. The residential zone will come with 2BHK houses and differentsized apartments. The flats will be furnished with French windows, modular kitchen and designer bathrooms. The multi-storied tower will have 25+ floors, with about eight flats on each floor.

The building will also include landscaped areas, a state-of-the-art gym, exclusive children’s play area, tennis and squash court, swimming pool, a decorative entrance lobby, safety and security facilities, and a proposed private club for the residents. The township is well-equipped with ample car parking space, and the apartments are designed to use area optimally, with lots of light, ventilation and breathtaking scenic views of the hills. The commercial-cum-retail zone is proposed to house the shopping and entertainment areas, and will include multiplexes, hypermarket and a convenience store.

Marathon has been instrumental in introducing the most advanced technologies in India, such as MIVAN, PERI and STEN in commercial and residential buildings. These technologies have helped the company to maintain and upgrade its quality standards and speed of construction. The Nexzone project will feature a sewage treatment plant and rain water harvesting, in a bid to conserve natural resources and recycle materials as far as possible.

The company also works to provide quality construction through innovative technologies for its customers—a good example is the 36-storey Marathon NextGen Era in Lower Parel. Marathon Nexzone will be another step towards bringing in new innovations in construction to Panvel.

The author is the Managing Director of Marathon Group

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