Lodha boosts its London biz with 900cr deal
Feb 19, 2014
Source : The Times of India

 

MUMBAI: Signalling its focus on London as one of its business hubs, realty firm Lodha Group has bought another high-end property in the UK capital for Rs 900 crore, reports Rajshri Mehta. New Court, spread over 1.15 acres, is located next to London School of Economics and Kings College. The commercial building will now be converted into luxury homes. Last year, Lodha had purchased McDonald House for over Rs 3,120 crore.

Around two months after it bought the Canadian High Commission building in London, realty firm Lodha Group has now snapped up another posh property there at £90 million or nearly Rs 900 crore.

Spread over 1.15 acres of land, New Court is located next to London School of Economics on Carey Street. The ground-plus-six-storey commercial building will be turned into luxury residences.

Lodha has already paid the initial amount of 10% of the cost, or roughly Rs 90 crore, to the earlier owner, West End of London Property Unit Trust. The rest will be paid within three months. The property has a total saleable area of about 2 lakh sq feet.

Confirming the deal, a Lodha Group spokesperson said, "Lodha plans to focus on London as one of our two main markets and we will continue to look for opportunities that come up in this market."

Signalling the group's overseas plans, the realty major on November 28, 2013, bought McDonald House, the Canadian High Commission's building in central London, for over Rs 3,120 crore (£306 million). The 0.67-acre or 1.6 lakh sq-ft property, located at a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace, will also be converted into super-luxury homes.

Like in the McDonald House deal, Lodha plans to pay the entire sum for New Court from its own fund and will not raise any debt to finance it.

Till now known for its World One project—the proposed tallest residential tower in India in central Mumbai's Lower Parel—the Lodha Group hopes to receive about £1,200 million from the sale of flats from the two properties in London. The group has also set up a separate arm to undertake and execute the proposed super-luxury project and pursue its other future plans in the UK.

Roman","serif"'Last year, circle rates were increased by the department despite opposition by city residents and homebuyers. At the same time the authorities had hiked property rates by up to 30%. Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority has last week in its board meeting announced a 10.21% hike in the allotment price across all categories of land in the city.

Developers said circle rates in Noida are unrealistic. "We have raised this issue on various platforms through CREDAI. In some cases market rates are below prevailing circle rates in Noida, but the buyer has to pay a higher registration tax," said Manoj Gaur, president CREDAI (west UP) and MD of Gaursons. "This decision should have been taken earlier as it will reduce the burden on buyers," said Amit Gupta, MD, Orris Infrastructure and Assocham member.

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