MUMBAI: The city's property market may be in a slump but that has not deterred another staggering realty transaction from taking place. In the second most expensive per-square-foot apartment deal in the country, a sea-facing duplex in Worli has been sold at an astounding Rs 43 crore. A leading glassware manufacturer , Borosil, last week purchased the duplex spread on the ninth and tenth floors of the tony Samudra Mahal building in a deal that works out to roughly Rs 1.18 lakh per sq ft.
The buy outstrips the earlier record of Rs 1.07 lakh per sq ft in the 28-storey marquee building, which is home to many corporate bigwigs, industrialists and erstwhile royalty. But it is still behind the June 2012 sale of a flat in Tahnee Heights on Napean Sea Road; struck at Rs 1.2 lakh per sq ft, that remains the costliest deal for a private apartment in the country.
In an email response, Borosil vice-chairman Pradeep Kheruka confirmed the Samudra Mahal deal, saying that the duplex was purchased by the company for investment and after getting the approval of the board of directors. "The purchase is not by the Kheruka family," he explained.
The four-bedroom apartment — spread over 3,638 sq ft built-up area and with servant quarters — was owned by Sonya Jethmal. Jethmal is reportedly related to the Mulchandani family, which owned the once-famous consumer electronics brand Bush. An NRI settled in the US, Jethmal had been trying to sell the upscale apartment for the last five years.
Industry experts said Borosil "was flush with funds and was looking for investment opportunities after selling its 18-acre factory at Andheri (East) for Rs 830 crore in 2010". In a statement announcing that sale, Kheruka had said the company will "evaluate and deploy the sale proceeds" after considering strategic business opportunities in a manner that will "result in maximization of shareholder value" .
Nearly half-a-century old, Borosil is engaged in producing sheet glass, laboratory glassware and microwavable kitchenware. Its main manufacturing operations are in Bharuch, Gujarat.
Experts said the Samudra Mahal transaction is a oneoff and does not reflect general market sentiments. "Apartments in such landmark buildings of south Mumbai will continue to fetch premium rates because of their location and upkeep," said Lakhi Batra, a property dealer in south Mumbai. Apart from servant quarters, building amenities at Samudra Mahal include a swimming pool, health club, children's play area and garden.
"While the movement of luxury penthouses and duplex apartments in landmark buildings in Mumbai is slower in the current environment , supply too is restricted. There are not many buildings of such quality. So, they continue to fetch higher premium than many new developments ," Batra added.