By Akash Pharande, MD – Pharande Spaces
In 2018, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) had begun mulling the notion of, over a period of 9-10 years, selling or leasing out as much as 1,000 acres of highway-adjoining land along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. Back then, the value calculated for this land was close to INR 12,000 crore.
A private consultant had been engaged to study the feasibility of this plan. Among the many recommendations were entertainment centres, SEZs, educational institutions, truck terminals, and, logically given the size of these land parcels, also golf courses and townships.
This was how the location called Urse, which falls just beyond the PCMC borders along the Expressway, first came into the limelight. It topped the list of 23 sites recommended by the consultant. Urse has a unique locational advantage, since it is at the nexus of major infrastructural development projects nearby – such as the PMRDA Ring Road, the Expressway, Pune Metro and the Virgin Hyper Loop test station – all converge at Urse.
The Perfect Location
Urse also benefits from its proximity to the industrial belt of PCMC consisting of Maval and Chakan, as well as the IT/BT park of Hinjewadi. Urse is a short drive to all these business hubs, making it extremely feasible for daily travel. More than 2 lakh people are employed in the companies located in Hinjewadi and its surrounding areas.
Infotech, automobile, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and floriculture companies all have a strong presence in the vicinity of Urse. Phase 1 of adjoining Talegaon already hosts international giants like General Motors, Volkswagen, Land Rover and Siemens, along with strong national players like JCB, Finolex Cables, Bajaj and KPIT. Foxxcon, a leading contract electronic manufacturer and a key supplier to Apple Inc. has set up operations at Talegaon.
All these industries in just Phase 1 are generating spillover demand for all budget ranges of housing. The scenario when Phase 2 begins unfolding can well be imagined.
Urse is exactly at the midpoint between Pimpri-Chinchwad and Lonavala, with a short drive time of 20 minutes either way. Urse also serves as a connecting junction or bypass for the northeast-southeast corridors connecting the industrial areas of Chakan, Talegaon with Hinjawadi. The proposed Navi Mumbai International airport at Panvel is just 83 kms away from Urse.
A New Luxury Golf Destination
Give its massive potential, Urse is poised for an exponential growth in the future. However, while it will certainly become the next growth hub for mid-range and affordable housing in the future, perhaps its maximum potential is for golf-themed luxury townships. In post-COVID-19 times, the appetite for exclusive luxury townships has grown tremendously.
According to a recent report by real estate consultants ANAROCK, the average rentals for a house of minimum 2,000 sq. ft. size in the top 7 cities rose anywhere between 17% to 26% in 2020, as compared to 2014.
In 2021 too, the coronavirus pandemic has brought about a major realignment in real estate preferences. Exclusive health and sport-related facilities, green open spaces and high-level security controls are now in high demand. Integrated townships by top developers offer these benefits.
Urse enjoys pleasant climate throughout the year and offers a spectacular backdrop of mountains. Lonavala is just 25 feet higher than Urse, while Khandala is located 200 feet lower than Urse. Thanks to this confluence of positive attributes, this area is emerging as the new hotspot for leisure home seekers who – on the back of the worst pandemic in over a century, have made their minds up to escape into luxury – in the lap of nature.