MUMBAI: Mumbai builder Lodha Group has bought a second building in London for over 90 million pounds, or around Rs 1,000 crore, in the space of three months. In November, the group had acquired MacDonald House in central London which housed the Canadian consulate in UK, for over 306 million pounds or Rs 3,120 crore.
The property spread over 1.15 acre onCarey Street is close to London School of Economics and is located in mid-town between city and West-End area of central London. Lodha has already paid around 10% of consideration as initial amount and the balance is expected to be paid in tranches with final payment by May end. Although the new property is a grade A office building with seven floors along with two basements, the group is planning to redevelop this into residential apartments.
The seller, West End of London Property Unit Trust, has already applied with the authorities there for conversion of the commercial property into a residential one. With residential redevelopment approval, Lodha can build apartments with total saleable area of around two lakh sq ft on the plot. Lodha Group confirmed the transaction in an email response to ET's query.
"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. We will serve London in the same manner that we serve Mumbai-—with world class product intended to serve all key market segments," a spokeswoman said. A person close to the transaction said that Lodha will use its internalaccruals and it is not planning to raise any debt to finance the transaction. In November, the developer bought the Canadian high commission's building spread over 0.67 acre, a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace. This property is also expected to be converted into super luxury residences with total saleable area of 1.6 million sq ft. Lodha has already paid the initial amount to the Canadian government and rest of the money is expected to be paid by March end. Lodha Group, which is building World One, the tallest residential tower in India, had announced earlier that MacDonald House buy will also be funded through internal accruals.
The group has already set up a separate subsidiary to undertake and execute the proposed super luxury project and its other future plans in the UK. The developer recently hired Tyler Goodwin, former managing director of JP Morgan, as its new UK business chief executive officer.
Tyler had joined the company in January. In December 2012, Lodha Group acquired Washington House, the US Consulate property on Altamount Road in south Mumbai, for Rs 341.82 crore. The developer has already announced plans to build a 30-storey tower with sea-view apartments on this plot. Recently, Lodha Group also repaid debt worth Rs 825 crore it had raised through issuance of non-convertible debentures in early 2012.