Mumbai: Realty developer Wadhwa Group has raised Rs 650 crore from PNB Housing Finance as construction finance for the first phase of its maiden affordable housing project spread over 138 acre in Panvel near Mumbai.

This is the first integrated project to be developed under the Navi Mumbai Airport Influence Notified Area (NAINA) and at least 15% of the project will be used for commercial development and social infrastructure. With this project, Wadhwa Group — known for its premium residential and commercial projects in Mumbai — is venturing into the affordable housing segment.

“Affordable housing is certainly a huge opportunity, given the current demand-supply mismatch. The government has been supporting this segment in a bid to achieve Housing For All, and ensuring that private sector also participates in taking this agenda further,” said Navin Makhija, MD, Wadhwa Group, while referring to the company’s foray into affordable housing.

He confirmed the company receiving sanction of construction finance facility worth Rs 650 crore from PNB Housing Finance. An email query to PNB Housing Finance did not elicit any response till press-time on Friday.

The around 60-acre first phase of the project is estimated to cost Rs 1,200 crore and the company is looking to finance the project through internal accruals and customer advances apart from the funding by PNB Housing Finance.

The company has recently repaid debt worth Rs 300 crore that it had raised from a financial institution earlier to support the acquisition of the land for this project.

Wadhwa Group owns 450 acres land in around the project’s location. Of this, the company has received approval for development on 138 acres from the authorities.

The company, which is planning to complete the first phase of the project over the next 6 years, has already received approvals and is ready to start construction over the next one month.

Wadhwa is looking to develop total 5,500 apartments in the first phase of the project spread over 4 million sq ft. Of this, the company is planning to launch 2,000 apartments with configurations of studio, one and two bedroom apartments soon.

Affordable housing has been attracting a lot of attention from realty developers and financiers, and the pace of development is gaining momentum over the past few quarters. The government’s decision to grant infrastructure status to affordable housing in the 2017 Union Budget has rejuvenated the interest in this segment in a significant way. The move is allowing developers of these projects get access to institutional funding with better terms.

More developers and established brands, hitherto associated with premium projects, have also ventured into this segment, while existing players are scaling up their plans. This is evident from the rise in the number of affordable housing project launches in over the past one year.