MUMBAI:In the largest commercial space transaction in Navi Mumbai, SBI Life Insurance Company has bought 1 lakh sq ft office space from L&T Realty at its mixed-use project L&T Seawoods Grand Central for Rs 140 crore, said three persons familiar with the matter.
The insurance arm of State Bank of India is expected to use the space for setting up its IT centre and back office. L&T Seawoods Grand Central is India's first and largest Transit-Oriented-Development (TODs).
"The deal has been finalized with the occupier SBI Life Insurance which has already paid token for the same. The space will be ready for fit-outs in January," said one of the persons mentioned above. "Seawoods commercial has three wings and SBI Life will occupy an entire floor across these wings and an additional half floor."
SBI Life Insurance's transaction is the largest office deal in Navi Mumbai as the company is buying the space on an outright basis.
In 2013, American multinational information technology services major Cognizant Technology Solutions had picked up 230,000 sq ft of office space at K Raheja Corp's IT SEZ in Navi Mumbai's Airoli. This was one of the largest occupier transactions in the leasing segment then.
SBI Life Insurance Company confirmed the transaction without elaborating on size of the deal.
The company will be relocating its Central Processing Centre (CPC) to the new office from its existing leased office in Navi Mumbai, said AJ Bose, ED, Operations & IT, in an email response.
The company expects this office, housing around 700 employees including outsourced staff, to be operational by April next. The company's total current employee strength stands at around 11,000 across India.
L&T Realty and transaction advisor property consultant CBRE declined to comment on the story.
The office complex, which is part of the nearly 4-millon sq ft transit oriented development, is ready and undergoing finishing touches. The entire project is spread across 40 acres with the first phase entailing development of 2.6 million sq ft, including 1.6 million sq ft of commercial space.
The deal reinforces a revival of interest in the commercial realty market across the country, with several large transactions taking place over the past few months. In September, Tata Consultancy Services entered into an agreement to lease over 2 million sq ft of built-to-suit space at Hiranandani Estate in Thane for 15 years in what's been billed as the largest single office space transaction in India in terms of area. TCS will also hold a soft option to extend the lease by 2 million sq ft. In May, Flipkart leased a 2 million sq ft custom-built office campus in Bengaluru.
For the quarter ended September, India's top seven property markets saw a 20% year-on-year jump in commercial office absorption with over 9 million sq ft being taken up by demand for corporate office space, according to a recent CBRE report.
For some time, big institutional investors such as Blackstone and GIC have been investing in commercial property, and now big companies are returning to the market, hinting at improved business demand and the need for expansion.
Reviving momentum in commercial realty is an indicator of the economy's health and the ongoing uptake in commercial realty also augurs well for job creation, going ahead. Deals by both investors and occupiers indicate that the sentiment is improving for office property market.