It’s been a pretty eventful year for the real estate market in India. The entire year has been marked by fears and misgivings that the property bubble in the country is on the verge of going bust, amidst the bleak economic scenario in the country. On the other hand, the naysayers have been contradicted by the optimists who point out that there’s still a lot of growth happening in the industry. The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, but that didn’t stop some big deals happening in 2013! We recap some of the real estate deals which shook up the country.
Cadbury’s headquarters sold to diamond merchant Dilip Lekh for Rs. 350 crore
One of the biggest developments this year was the announcement that the iconic Cadbury House on Peddar Road would be sold off, along with the Bourneville Apartments adjoining it. Property consultants opined that the entire land area covered around 50,000 square feet. It was finally reported that diamond merchant Dilip Lakhi had bought the area for around Rs. 350 Crore, for a price of around Rs. 57,000 per square feet.
Mumbai’s Express Towers bought by Blackstone & Panchshil Realty for Rs. 900 crore
Express Towers, one of the towering edifices in the Mumbai skyline, got a new owner this year. Commissioned by Ramnath Goenka, this tower was the tallest in South Asia till two years after its completion. The American private equity firm Blackstone, along with its portfolio company Panchshil Realty, has bought 384,000 square feet of the total leasable area of nearly 400,000 square feet, the excluded area containing the restaurants and the penthouse. The total cost? A whopping Rs. 900 crore.
Donald Trump announces his 1st Indian project, Trump Towers in Pune
This is a biggie. Donald Trump, one of the world’s biggest celebrity real estate tycoons, announced his entry in India with the unveiling of Trump Tower, a massive 22-storied twin tower residential project, in Pune. According to the man himself, “Trump Tower will epitomize inspired living and timeless elegance” and is supposed to have 44 luxurious single-floor condominiums. Coming up in Kalyani Nagar, Trump Tower is slated to finish construction by 2015.
Volvo India to buy 1 million square feet of office space in Bangalore for Rs. 700 crore
And you thought Volvo was only restricted to luxury buses? In a landmark record deal, it was reported that the Indian branch of the Swedish multinational company Volvo, were in the final stages of their negotiation with a Bangalore based real-estate developer to buy around a million square feet of office space, for the measly amount of Rs. 700 crore. This deal will allow Volvo to consolidate its operations in one centralized office-space, rather than being spread across the various offices it operates from at present.
HDFC buys Hindustan Unilever’s former headquarters at Churchgate
In an interesting development this year, Hindustan Unilever’s former headquarters, Lever House, a sprawling 1.53 lakh square feet property at Backbay Reclamation, Churchgate, was acquired by the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC). The corporation however will retain its older name of Ramon House for the property, as it is considered lucky! The value of the deal was not disclosed, but experts suggest that the deal is in the range of Rs. 350-400 crore.
The Bulchandanis buy a sea-facing duplex in Malabar Hill for a record Rs. 57 crore
Residential projects were not exempt from the action; a duplex inside the posh Darshan Apartments on Mount Pleasant Road, Malabar Hill was sold for a staggering Rs. 57 crore to the Bulchandanis, a business family. The duplex covering the 9th, 10th and 11th floor, was pegged as among the highest transactions in Mumbai for a residential property.
Shreeram Properties to buy Marg Junction for close to Rs. 600 Crore in Chennai
The southern metropolis of Chennai made sure it got a finger in the pie. In one of the biggest commercial real estate deals in Chennai, Shreeram Properties finalized an agreement with the Marg Group to acquire Marg Junction, a mixed-use development project for close to Rs. 600 crore. Touted as Chennai’s largest integrated developmental project, the area is spread over 7.30 acres; the first phase will see a mall coming up, while the second phase will see residences, banquet halls and a wellness centre coming up.
Unitech inks Rs. 800 crore leasing deal with Aon Hewitt in Gurgaon
The National Capital saw a revival in the real estate market this year with reports of Unitech inking a multi-crore deal to lease 8 lakh square feet of space at its Infospace Tikri SEZ, to the multinational firm, Aon Hewitt. The estimate is that Unitech stands to gain Rs. 800 crore over a 15 year deal. The Tikri SEZ is located just half a kilometer away from Sohna Road.
Alchemist Group to invest Rs. 600 Crore in residential project in Kolkata
Kolkata gains an entry into this list, thanks to the efforts of Delhi-based Alchemist Group who acquired around 20 acres of land on the banks of the river Hooghly, and proposed to invest a staggering Rs. 600 crore into the development of a residential project. This land is located inside Kolkata Riverside, a satellite township being developed on the banks of the Hooghly River.
Borosil buys Worli flat for Rs. 1.18 lakh/square feet
South Mumbai continued its reputation for being a real estate hotshot; with leading glassware company Borosil snapping up a sea-facing duplex at Samudra Mahal, Worli, paying around Rs. 1.18 lakh per square feet, and an estimated total amount of Rs. 43 crore. The four-bedroom apartment is reported to consist of a total built-up area of 3,638 square feet.
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority to invest $250 Million into Hines India Real Estate
In a sign of burgeoning overseas interest into India’s real estate sector, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (AIDA) signaled its desire of entering the country by proposing to invest $250 Million in Hines India Real Estate, the Indian arm of the American property and development firm, Hines. The company is looking to foray into the residential market, and will enter Mumbai first.
Air India vacates iconic Nariman Point headquarters
And finally, Air India vacated its iconic 23-storey headquarters (the building on the left in the above picture) at Nariman Point to move its offices to New Delhi, this year. This was part of the asset-monetization plan devised by Air India. The air conditioned office was the first centrally air-conditioned building in India to have an escalator.
While these were all some pretty huge deals, there was another deal which we haven’t included in the list above, but definitely deserves a shout- out.
Mangal Prabhat Lodha buys $500 Million Trophy Property in London
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This was not strictly a deal related to Indian property, but considering the magnitude of the amount involved, we had to mention it! The Lodha Group made their first foray into the international market with the acquisition of the MacDonald House, a seven-storey property which was earlier the home of the Canadian High Commission in London, for a cool $500 million. This property is located in Mayfair, one of London’s most desirable localities, and covers a total land area of 0.67 acres.