Imagine high-rises rubbing shoulders with airy suburban layouts, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of metropolitan city life and the glint of up-and-coming malls that boast of big brands and bigger sales. This is what one can expect from living in Maharashtra’s Lake City, or Thane West, an area that is quickly becoming a dream residential area for its ability to provide a slice of authentic Mumbai city life with the added advantage of more greenery, open spaces, and reduced pollution.
Thane is known as the City of Lakes for the 35 lakes that the region contains. Most of these lakes are in Thane West, the most famous of which is the Masunda Lake or Talao Pali. It is a huge tourist attraction for its scenic beauty and boating and water scooter facilities. The lake also has cultural and religious importance because the Kopineshwar Temple, which is Thane’s oldest temple, and the Gadkari Rangyatan, a drama theatre and hub of entertainment, are both situated on the banks of the lake. The lakes are not the only thing that Thane West can boast of in terms of astounding natural beauty. The Yeoor hills also are also situated in this area, with Upvan Lake at their foothills. The hills and the lakes also serve to make Thane West a refreshing few degrees cooler than Mumbai.
For people who enjoy the material things in life, there are a multitude of places to visit in Thane West. The sprawling malls along Ghodbunder Road and the Eastern Express Highway, like Viviana Mall and Korum Mall, are perfect for the brand-conscious shopper and the huge number of upscale restaurants and eateries delight the taste buds of anyone who is on the quest for culinary delights. In fact, Viviana Mall contains several gourmet restaurants like PizzaExpress and Alfredo’s, so one has a one-stop destination that satisfies both retail and food cravings.
In order to cater to the needs of its residents, Thane West has imploded in terms of malls, entertainment centres and hangout spots. It also has a number of reputed schools and colleges. Hiranandani Foundation School and Billabong International School are some of the best, as are universities like Thane ITI, N K T College, and ICFAI University. For the health needs of its residents, Thane West has well-known hospitals like Hiranandani Hospital, Revival Bone & Joint Hospital and Kaushalya Medical Foundation.
Connectivity and Transit Points
Thane West is extremely well connected to other major cities and parts of the state. The Eastern Express Highway is one of the well-maintained highways in the country and it connects Mumbai to various cities via Thane. The inner roads of Thane West are also broader and more properly maintained than Mumbai’s roads.
Thane West is flanked by Mulund of Mumbai’s eastern suburbs, Borivali of Mumbai’s western suburbs and Bhiwandi, which is the junction of Kalyan-Dombivali and Vasai-Virar. Hence, it is accessible from almost every part of Mumbai.
Thane station has become the busiest suburban station in Mumbai, handling 6.54 lakh passengers daily, and now has an escalator to make the flow of people smoother, which is a first for the Central, Trans-Harbour, West, and Harbour lines. It is connected via the Central Railway to South Mumbai and also via Kalyan Junction to remote places like Karjat, Kasara, and Khopoli. Thane is a halt for all the fast trains on the Central Railway, with a train stopping every few minutes during the peak hour. Most local suburban trains have Thane station as an origin and destination point. The suburban local trains go downwards towards Karjat and Kasara and upwards towards CST.
Thane is accessible by BEST buses which cater to people commuting to places like Ghatkopar, Andheri, Borivali, and Trombay. TMT buses are the main source of transport towards Bhiwandi and inside Thane City. RTS BEST (A/C super) buses ply towards south Mumbai. NMMT buses ply in towards Vashi, MBMT towards Bhayander, KDMT towards Kalyan and Bhiwandi, and MSRTC or ST buses ply from Thane to various other destinations across Maharashtra. There are also private buses that travel within Thane West, due to an inadequacy of public transport within Thane proper.
When it comes to quick travel within Thane West, auto-rickshaws are sometimes the best option even though they are more expensive. Thane has auto stands on every major road and in every residential area. The minimum fare is Rs 15 and travelling time is greatly reduced when one travels by auto because there are several inroads and shortcuts that auto drivers can take. There are also autos that will go to Mulund. One can even take autos from Thane Railway Station or Cidco to travel towards Bhiwandi.
The closest airport to Thane is Mumbai Airport. There are several taxi services that provide taxis for travel from Thane West to the airport, and even to other cities like Pune and Nashik. The major taxi stands in Thane are located at the Mulund-Thane Check Naka on Lal Bahadur Shastri Marg and Thane Railway Station.
Factors for Growth in the Past
Thane became a place of importance in India in 1784, when the British captured Thane Fort and ruled Thane. Thane’s railway station then became wildly famous for being the destination point for India’s first ever passenger train. The accessibility that the railway line gave Thane made it an attractive place to reside in and it began to grow from a collection of villages to a prosperous town and slowly to a bustling city environment. The Thane Municipal Council was formed in 1863 when the city's population reached above 9000.
Thane West’s scenic beauty, with its lakes and hills, made it a popular tourist spot, which became a major source of income for the area. The lakes also gave it a monopoly on being the water provider for all of Mumbai. Since it was so well connected to the rest of Mumbai and much less crowded and populated than Mumbai, thousands of residents of Mumbai moved to Thane to escape the fast-paced city. Thane has transformed from a manufacturing hub to being economically driven by the services sector in response to the residential boom that the area has experienced over the last few years.
Residential & Commercial Market
Residential Market Trends
Thane West is more residential than industrial, and the price per square foot has been steadily appreciating over 2013 and into 2014, from Rs 9,600 per sq. ft. in the first quarter of 2013 to Rs 11,000 per sq. ft. by the second quarter of 2014. Thanks to its proximity to the main centres of Mumbai and excellent connectivity between Thane and Mumbai, the area has a high demand for residences.
There has been a shift in the residential trend from independent houses to apartment buildings. This is due to a lack of plots of land, what with the area becoming crowded with an influx of young professionals, young families, and newlywed couples who prefer apartments to houses for the reduced need for maintenance and improved amenities offered by building complexes.
Renting a 2 BHK apartment in Thane West will cost between Rs 18,000 and Rs 23,000, while buying an apartment will cost between Rs 9,750 and Rs 12,000 per sq. ft.
Commercial Market Trends
Thane West is primarily residential, but the demand for commercial spaces is slowly growing thanks to the market that has been created by the rapidly growing population of the area. Rent rates for office space in Thane West are around Rs. 14,000 per sq. ft.
Thane West is undoubtedly a beautiful place to live in. Unfortunately, a lot of people think so, which has led to the area becoming overcrowded. The government is struggling to handle the increasing population in the area.
Public transport within Thane has become inadequate in meeting the travelling demands of the residents. The roads are also losing the impeccable level of maintenance that they used to have. The number of vehicles on the road has exploded because the per capita income of Thane’s residents has increased over the past few years. Some roads have been converted to one-way and arterial roads have been concretised to deal with the increased traffic. But jams and pile-ups are frequent near the railway station, market, and major junctions, which in turn leads to noise pollution in these areas.
Factors for Growth in the Future
The continued influx of residents in search of the balance between the cosmopolitan experience and the suburban way of life is the key factor that is driving the growth of Thane. The government has also endeavoured to maintain the beauty and natural integrity of the lakes, botanical gardens, hills, and other tourist attractions in Thane West in order to make sure that the place remains a popular attraction for visitors for years to come.
The increased population places an increased demand on the residential real estate market and service sector, leading to a greater need for office spaces and shops. Thane’s railway station has, is, and will continue to be a hub for the district’s growth thanks to its status as the busiest station in Mumbai and the work that is going into enhancing its infrastructure.
A light rail network to enhance connectivity between Balkum and Kolshet via Naupada has been proposed, as has a metro within Thane. The areas of natural beauty in Thane West are constantly being renovated, new malls are in the pipeline, and there has also been talk of an airport for the Thane district.