NEW DELHI: Tata Housing has paid Rs 218 crore to buy a bungalow on a one-acre plot in the centre of Delhi's Connaught Place, with plans to build luxury apartments in a low-rise complex.
The real estate arm of the diversified Tata Group has bought the bungalow on 2, Hailey Road from the Singh family, consisting of two sisters and two brothers. The family members, who had filed a suit in the Delhi High Court for partition of the property, agreed to a sale to the Tatas more than one person involved in the deal said.
These sources said that the Tatas are planning to pull down the bungalow and build a low-rise complex consisting of apartments that could cost as much as Rs 30 crore each. The last time apartments were sold in and around Connaught Place was in 2000, when real estate firm Ansal built a residential complex, Upasana, on the same street.
While the Singhs could not be reached for comment, a lawyer who represented one of the parties confirmed the deal. In an emailed response, Tata Housing said: "This property transaction is being continuously monitored and directed by the Hon'ble Delhi High Court."
The bungalow is a stone's throw from Agrasen ki Baoli a monument protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. A number of bungalows on Hailey Road and Kasturba Gandhi Marg, which cross each other, come under the ambit of ASI guidelines that does not permit any construction within 100 metres of ancient or protected monuments.
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Only a small part of this bungalow, however, falls within that zone, one person said. Instead, most of the plot falls under a separate set of ASI guidelines, covering constructions between 100 and 300 metres. Under these rules the Tatas will be allowed to build up to 15 metres tall structures, and can build close to 80,000 square feet of total space on the 4,576 square yard (or approximately one acre) plot.
Tata Housing said that any future development on the plot would be in conformity with and subject to all applicable laws. "All provisions of law laid down by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), National Monuments Authority, MPD 2021, Delhi Building By-Laws 1983 and laws/directions of local bodies and regulatory authorities will be strictly adhered to in letter and spirit," Tata Housing said.
The bungalow on 2, Hailey Road was first bought by Sardar Shivdev Singh in 1927 and later by the Singh family in the 1970s. Though the bungalow is not part of the Lutyen's Bungalow Zone, it could fetch a premium for its location, being barely half a kilometre away from the Connaught Place circle. Also, in the Lutyen's Zone, a number of restrictions apply on how much can be built on a piece of land and the kind of modifications that can be done to existing structures, which often results in the property fetching comparatively low bids.
Tata Housing had built an apartment complex, Tata House, in the Lutyen's Bungalow Zone on Prithvi Raj Road before 1988. The LBZ rules came into effect soon after that and group housing projects were not allowed in the area. Apartments here today sell for around Rs 35 crore each.
The LBZ area, home to top businessmen and politicians of the country such as Naveen Jindal, LN Mittal, Sunil Mittal, Sanjay Singhal and KP Singh, has seen a number of 100-crore plus property deals in the last few years, property prices in areas outside this zone have been on a boil in recent years because of higher development potential and larger built up areas.