Mumbai’s Eastern Suburbs: Infrastructure leads development

Areas that had once been characterised by unorganised development and industrial zones, underwent a noticeable transformation.

Published: March 29, 2014 3:11:13 am

By: Nikhil Bhatia

The Mumbai Development Plan of 1991 was instrumental in bringing about key infrastructure projects for decongesting the city center and promoting a transit-oriented development pattern. Consequently, the city’s eastern suburbs of Chembur, Powai, Kanjurmarg, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Bhandup and Mulund had benefited immensely from these policy measures. Areas that had once been characterised by unorganised development and industrial zones, underwent a noticeable transformation.

Conducive Policy Measures

Following the liberalisation era of the 1990s, real estate development in Mumbai gathered momentum; and owing to the availability of land, the eastern suburbs soon became the hotspot for real estate activity in the city. The Development Plan of 1991 paved the way for growth, emphasising the reduction of industrial zones by 800 hectares and demarcating such plots for residential use.

It also proposed the creation of commercial centres in micro-markets such as Kanjurmarg along with the Bandra-Kurla Complex and Oshiwara in the western suburbs. These policy measures were further supplemented by infrastructure projects, such as the Eastern Express Highway, the Eastern Freeway, the Mumbai Metro Rail and the Mumbai Monorail projects.

Infrastructure focus 

Real estate development along the Eastern Freeway increased significantly over the past few years. Due to the reduced commuting time to South Mumbai, demand for commercial and residential properties went up, and housing prices in locations such as Chembur and Ghatkopar increased by approximately 28–30 per cent over the last two years.

The micro-market benefited further from another important infrastructure project — the Eastern Express Highway — which connects south Mumbai to locations in the Eastern Suburbs, and stretches all the way to Thane. This has benefited areas like Mulund, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg and Vikhroli due to improved connectivity to commercial micro-markets in south and central Mumbai. Further, with the completion of the Vikhroli–Jogeshwari Link Road, real estate activity (especially in the commercial segment) has accelerated in the markets of Powai, Vikhroli and Kanjurmarg.

Along with this existing infrastructure development, mass rapid transportation projects such as the Mumbai Monorail (partially operational) and the Mumbai Metro Rail projects are currently underway. The 11km stretch of Phase I of the Mumbai Metro Rail, which connects Versova to Ghatkopar will pass through one of the most important commercial and residential hubs of Mumbai. This will further enhance the city’s east–west connectivity, and improve the real estate profile of locations like Ghatpokar, Vidyavihar and Vikhroli.

The east–west connectivity is also likely to improve with the completion of the Santacruz–Chembur Link Road, which will enable easy access between commercial hubs of the likes of BKC and housing markets in the eastern suburbs. MMRDA has also announced a 1.6 km elevated road from BKC to Sion, further reducing the travel time from. Additionally, a Monorail line is also being planned between Chembur and Jacob Circle via Wadala. A partial stretch of about 8.8 km from Chembur to Wadala is already operational, while the entire 20-km stretch is expected to become operational by the end of the year.

Development Trends

Infrastructure projects have provided a perfect backdrop for realty growth in the region. Over the years, Vikhroli, Kanjurmarg and Powai have emerged as important office destinations, while Mulund, Bhandup, Powai, Ghatkopar and Chembur have established themselves as key residential markets. These locations have attracted projects from notable developers, such as the Lodha Group, Hiranandani Developers, Godrej and Boyce, Gundecha Developers, Kohinoor and Nirmal Lifestyle, among others.

The peripheral locations of BKC such as Kurla have also witnessed increased activity with many large residential and commercial projects being developed in these markets.

The housing supply in this area has been growing at an approximate rate of 10 per cent for the past four years, and it now accounts for approximately 18 per cent of Mumbai’s total housing stock. With growing residential activity, retailer interest in the market has understandably increased too, leading to the development of large scale organised retail in the region.

Commercial office space activity has also gathered momentum in this region, which has become the preferred destination for cost-sensitive IT/ITeS firms. The availability for large developable land along with 100 per cent Floor Space Index (FSI) for IT developments, apart from an abundant talent pool in the immediate vicinity, has led to this transformation.

— The author is Head-Western Region, CBRE South Asia

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