The city of Panvel in Maharashtra was for years seen as a distant suburb of the bustling metropolis of Mumbai. It bore the look of a highway town, catering to travellers coming towards Mumbai from Pune or Goa, whose highways pass through Panvel. Housing complexes were, by and large, small in size and there were few, if any, high rises. This picture has changed drastically in recent years and how!
The city now, is a major population center and has most, if not all, the trappings one would expect of a modern, developed city. In particular, the rise of New Panvel as a major residential and commercial magnet, has led to rapid infrastructural development in both the newer and older parts of the city. We examine how this transformation has occurred and what does the future hold for this city.
Panvel is located in Raigad district, in close proximity to both Greater Mumbai and Thane districts. Major nodes such as the Mumbai’s central suburbs, Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan are easily reachable from here, by road and rail. The junction of the Mumbai-Pune highway and Mumbai-Goa highway is also located near this city. It also serves as a gateway to the Konkan region as well as the prosperous belt of Western Maharashtra.
Another positive with this city is its proximity to major industrial parks. Large plants such as that of Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Reliance, ONGC etc. are present in and around here. Apart from New Panvel, other zones such as MIDC Taloja and Patalganga lie within an 18 km radius of Panvel. It also serves as a convenient residential destination for people working in Nagothane or Roha in the Konkan region and even Kopar Khairane, Kharghar and CBD Belapur in Navi Mumbai.
Unlike these Navi Mumbai areas, which are nearing saturation, Panvel has more land availability and is more affordable as a residential destination. The city is also near Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) at Nhava-Sheva, which is one of India’s largest and most important ports. Hence, the abundance of employment opportunities in and around this city has seen plenty of demand for housing here.
Possibly, the biggest positive of Panvel is its excellent connectivity to all its surrounding areas. Apart from being the starting point of the aforementioned highways to Goa (which links it to Konkan) and Pune (which links it to Bangalore and Hyderabad), Panvel is also the starting point of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which ensures that one can reach Pune within a couple of hours from here. The Sion-Panvel highway connects the city to Navi Mumbai and the central suburbs of Mumbai. It is also directly connected by road to Uran, where JNPT is located.
Panvel is a major railway station, handling both suburban and long distance trains. It serves as a terminus for the suburban Harbour line, which connects it directly to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in south Mumbai. It is also an important station on the Konkan railway line and is directly connected to Thane and Khopoli. Many container and passenger trains, which bypass Mumbai, halt here.
While the city is quite far from the current Mumbai airport, the ultra-modern Navi Mumbai international airport is to come up right next door in the next few years. This should provide a massive boost to the infrastructure in and leading up to the city and demand for housing is expected to see a major rise as a result. In fact, Panvel is likely to emerge as a major central hub in its own right, once the airport project and other proposed infrastructural projects are cleared.
Panvel: Social Amenities
The city’s continued and seemingly unstoppable rise has attracted prestigious service providers in the educational, retail and healthcare sectors, among others. it does not lag behind Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane or Pune when it comes to social amenities.
Panvel boasts of many top class schools such as DAV Public School, Barns High School, New Horizon Public School, the Buddhist International School and Dr. Pillai’s International School. Similarly, many higher educational institutions such as Amity University Mumbai Campus, MGM College of Engineering & Technology and Pillai College of Engineering are located in or near the city.
A number of multispecialty hospitals have also opened here, catering to medical needs of residents, some of which include Satyam Multispecialty Hospital, Life Care Multispecialty Hospital, Gandhi Hospital and Lifeline Hospital. Malls such as Orion Mall, Mahalaxmi Mall and K-Mall, provide shopping and entertainment facilities for residents of the city.
All the growth the city is seeing is likely to lead to even more growth going forward. More development and more residential population will lead to greater demand for such services and hence, attract numerous renowned service providers in these and other spheres.
Panvel: Affordable Homes and an intriguing investment opportunity
Panvel, in recent years, has seen property rates for a multistory apartment, more than double from an average of ~Rs. 2600/sq. ft. in early 2008 to ~Rs. 5300/sq. ft. today. That being said, home prices in Panvel remain extremely affordable for most sections and actually, represent quite a bargain in the otherwise expensive Mumbai Metropolitan Region. In fact, one can buy a 1 BHK apartment for Rs. 20-25 lakh, which is a figure unheard of in Mumbai or Navi Mumbai for that matter. Rental rates, at an average of Rs. 11/sq. ft. are well within a prospective resident’s budget.
For a real estate investor, investing in upcoming areas of this city at this stage is likely to be a worthwhile investment. With the airport and many other infrastructural projects due to come up, it is likely to pull more industries here and in turn, push up the housing demand. If the rapid development of similar areas in and around Mumbai is anything to go by, investors stand to make massive returns on their investment in the not too distant future.
Panvel: Future Development Plans
If Panvel’s present seems bright, the future offers even more promise. While all eyes are on the Navi Mumbai international airport and the benefits that will accrue as a result, it is not the only major development. The City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) has played a key role in the emergence and development of New Panvel and its association with the city is going to strengthen further, with it being given charge of the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA). This new development is expected to bring rapid urbanization and industrial growth in and around Panvel.
In addition, the city is likely to become one of India’s biggest logistics hubs, once the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) is completed and becomes operational, owing to its proximity to JNPT. The proposed Trans-Harbour link from Uran to Sewri also holds out much promise, connecting Panvel to Mumbai harbor and sharply reducing the travel time between these places. Central Railways too is planning a Terminus for long distance trains here, in order to decongest CST.
As mentioned earlier, the Navi Mumbai international airport promises to be a game-changer in Panvel and its surrounding areas. This airport, which is projected to serve a whopping 90 million passengers per year by 2030, will make this city a major destination for travelers from Mumbai, Pune and other areas further away. With a large number of hotels, industries, quality roads and other support services coming up as a result, plenty of employment opportunities will be created and demand for quality housing is likely to shoot up. One can say that Panvel seems poised as a major growth engine both now and in coming years.