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US Consulate puts two properties in Mumbai up for sale

Raghavendra Kamath  |  Mumbai 

The American Consulate has put two of its marquee properties here, Lincoln House and Washington House, on the block.

According to sources in the know, the consulate is expecting a minimum valuation of Rs 1,500 crore for the two properties.

Spread over 89,792 sq ft in the Breach Candy area, Lincoln House has been home to the consulate for 53 years. Once owned by the Maharaja of Wankaner, it is a Grade-III heritage building. Washington House, a three-storey residential building on Altamount Road for senior officials of the consulate, is spread across 29,181 sq ft.

Both Breach Candy and Altamount Road areas are in South Mumbai, which houses India’s most expensive residential properties. Apartments sell at Rs 60,000-80,000 a sq ft in these areas.

Today, the consulate invited expression of interest from Indian parties. A spokesperson at the consulate said, “We are completing the construction of a larger facility in Bandra Kurla Complex, which symbolises the importance we place on US-India ties. As the natural next step in our move to a facility better suited to serving the people of Western India, an ad in a local paper has announced the sale of the properties.”

“The buyer interest is entirely decided by what he intends to do with the plots. If he has plans to build a hotel or any other project that enjoys higher FSI (floor space index), then he might quote higher valuation, otherwise not,” said a property consultant.

The Mumbai city enjoys a FSI of 1.33. Hospitality projects enjoy a higher FSI of 4. FSI means permissible construction allowed on a given plot of land.

Global property consultant DTZ is handling the sales. “The invitation for expression of interest by the American Consulate for sale of consulate properties in Mumbai will help gauge the nature of investor sentiment, both in terms of the size of investment market and appetite for prime properties of this size. Any interest from outside India will be subject to foreign direct investment norms in India,” said Aniruddh Wahal, director, business development, DTZ.

Residential sales have fallen by 60-70 per cent in Mumbai. But South Mumbai, home to such as Tatas, Ambanis and Piramals, saw deals worth over Rs 1,200 crore in the past eight months. Limited supply of new properties and South Mumbai’s status appeal are said to be reasons for the big deals in the area.

Hindustan Unilever is selling its previous headquarters at Churchgate and training centre.

Recently, Bishopgate, a five-storey property in Breach Candy, was put on block by Standard Chartered and Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.

First Published: Wed, September 14 2011. 00:12 IST