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Pune Goes Global with Increasingly Taller Skyline

JLL

Transit-oriented development & changing homebuyer preferences propel the change

 Ashutosh Limaye, National Head – Research & REIS, JLL India

As cities mature, their skylines start growing vertically and horizontal expansion reduces. The preference of homebuyers to live in high-rises and luxury towers also increases as urban sprawls expand. Pune’s case is no different, as the city now sees more end users preferring to stay in high-rises over low-rises and bungalows as was evidenced in previous decades. The transition is slow but steady, and started with the state government giving its nod to 100 m tall buildings in Pune in November 2007.

Over the years, the maximum height limit was raised to 150 m, subject to certain approvals, and higher in special cases. The first 24 storeys residential tower – God’s Blessing by ABIL in Koregaon Park – was completed in 2011. Prominent completed projects apart from God’s Blessing include:

  • Some buildings in Amanora Park Town (2010 onwards)
  • Some buildings in One North, Hadapsar (2011)
  • Some buildings in Blue Ridge in Hinjewadi (2011 onwards)
  • Castle Royale in Bhosle Nagar (2014), and
  • Trump Tower in Kalyani Nagar (2016).

Some prominent under-construction high-rise projects in Pune currently include ‘45 Nirwana Hills’ on Karve Road, Panchshil Towers in Kharadi and Yoo Pune as well as Gateway Towers 1 & 2 in Hadapsar. Out of these, the Gateway Towers are the tallest in height at 45 storeys, while Yoo Pune is at 33 storeys and Castle Royale is at 29 storeys.

With the announcement of projects such as Keystone Altura, Prudentia Towers and Kalpataru Crescendo, Pune’s suburban skyline is reaching for the skies. The suburb of Wakad will see such projects soon. These projects will have 20 storeys or more; while the first two are likely to be about 69 meters tall, Kalpataru’s upcoming project is could be marginally taller in terms of total height of the building.

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Pune’s skyscraper trend kicked off in the prime areas of the city and is now moving to the suburbs, providing aspirational homebuyers in these areas a hitherto unavailable option. The suburbs also offer larger configurations at good locations, and the latest amenities in such towers. Certain precincts like Wakad have not seen any towers so far, but builders like Kalpataru have announced high-rise projects there now.

Some of the prominent areas where taller towers either already exist or are coming up include Kharadi, Hadapsar, Kalyani Nagar in east Pune and Hinjewadi as well as areas in and close to Wakad and Pimple Nilakh in west Pune. The eastern corridor has taken the lead in such developments, but the western corridor is catching up, led by Kalpataru, Paranjape Schemes, Kasturi Housing and Vilas Javdekar Group.

In the tower category of over 20 storeys tall, the active developers include Kalpataru, Panchshil and City Group, to name a few. However, the number of such builders is set to increase in the future, given that the state government has approved new development control (DC) rules for Pune recently.

Pune is also set to see more transit-oriented development going forward, as more high-rise buildings along the proposed metro and other mass rapid transport routes have been allowed to align with global urbanization trends. A maximum FSI (floor space index) of 4 is being given in such cases to encourage densification.

In cities around the world, buildings are getting taller and there is a competition to have formidable and awe-inspiring skylines. Moreover, there is a premium attached to living in high-rises and ‘super-talls’ that come attached with luxurious facilities and privacy. Both the bird’s eye view that living in skyscrapers offers and the possibility to ‘rise above’ the noise pollution on the lower floors act as powerful draw factors.

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As the cost of constructing a high-rise is steeper than in other projects, developers see sense in embellishing such towers with higher specifications and targeting buyers who value exclusivity. Most developers also charge a ‘floor rise’ price, especially in newer projects. However, discerning buyers do not mind paying extra for exclusivity at a good address. Across India, high-rises predominately fall under the upper-mid and high-end housing category catering to an aspirational, young and cosmopolitan crowd.

Given the lesser land occupied by tall buildings, land available around these towers can be used more effectively. Amenities too are undergoing a change in newer projects coming up across Pune and its suburbs. Amenities can include a large clubhouse, gymnasium, a number of sports amenities, convenience retail, concierge services and semi-furnished flats. Certain projects like Kalpataru’s have proposed facilities such as apartments with built-in air conditioning, clubhouse, swimming pool, 84% open spaces at ground level, tree-lined internal roads, etc. Some other projects in the suburbs will also have similar offerings.

Aspirational Punekars are following in the footsteps of Mumbaikars, who have for long considered skyscrapers as a testament to their success and status in society, apart from the other inherent benefits. Developers are increasingly flaunting higher storeys in their marketing collaterals to target the aspirational homebuyer and stand apart from the competition.

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