MUMBAI: Marquee apartment buildings in south Mumbai with views to die for (of the sea, the Queen's Necklace, the Race Course) fetched its owners unheard-of prices till a few years ago. But not any more as new apartments which tend to block the views are depressing property values by up to 30%. The art deco Kamal Mahal, which was once the home of the Ambani and Godrej families, on Carmichael Road now has the high rise Imperial Towers by Shapoorji Pallonji on its east side blocking the view residents had of the city's skyline over Tardeo.
Views from apartments at the relatively new Lodha Bellissimo in Mahalaxmi would soon be blocked by the new 82-storey Minerva tower being built by Lokhandwala Infrastructure.
Residents of Prabhu Kutir and the 40-yearold Crystal building on Altamount Road have a similar story. They have lost a lovely view of Marine Drive an the famous Queen's Necklace because of a project by Rohan Lifescapes. "This is what one paid for at these marquee locations, the view," says Sanjay Dutt, executive managing director - South Asia, at property advisory firm Cushman & Wakefield. "With the view gone, prices will be under pressure." Apartments on the east side of Kamal Mahal on Carmichael Road today have no takers , says a property agent, who has been helping a few owners find buyers. Rates in the building are down from Rs 1 lakh per sq ft to Rs 70,000 per sq ft today but even at such low rates for the area it's been tough finding buyers, he says. The 25-storey Usha Kiran building on the same street, which was one of India's first skyscrapers and has residents such as film producer Pritish Nandy and Vijay Mehta of Lilavati hospital, has a similar storey to tell.
The Lodha Bellissimo with three 48-storey towers at Mahalaxmi promised exclusive views of the race course below and the sea to its residents. To the utter dismay of apartment owners — which includes the likes of cricketer Ravi Shastri and Murali Kartik and actor Juhi Chawla — the view of the race course has been blocked by 82-storey towers that Lokhandwala Infrastructure is developing. "A major part of the C-wing and some part of the B-wing has been impacted. Rates are down 30%," says Akhil Kapur, owner of real estate brokerage firm AJ Housing. Rates for affected apartments here are down from Rs 55,000 per sq ft to Rs 35,000 per sq ft.
Shivang Rajan, a resident of the C-wing of Lodha Bellissimo is a disappointed man. When he bought the apartment, the C-wing was the most sought-after and had a higher price compared to the other two as it offered a better view of the race course and its greens. Then, six months ago Rajan and his neighbours came to know about the new building. "After spending more money and purchasing a C-wing especially for the view, it's a complete disappointment to see a new construction blocking it," says the Rajan, the owner of a construction business himself. The view, especially the sea view, does fetch a premium in Mumbai, says Anshuman Magazine, chairman and managing director of property advisory firm CBRE South Asia. Dutt of Cushman & Wakefield explains that the price and premiums of residential apartments are a factor of pin code or location, the quality, specifications, amenities and profile of residents but a major factor is still the view.