Mumbai, Sept 14: Bulge-bracket property deals by the rich and the famous are not new to the land-starved megapolis, but the weekend sale of the iconic Lincoln House here to the Pune-based industrialist Cyrus Poonawalla for Rs 750 crore is nothing but mind-boggling.
The sale of the Lincoln House in the Breach Candy area of south Mumbai, which used to house the US Consulate, to the billionaire chairman of the Pune-based Serum Institute, makes it the largest ever real estate deal in the country's financial capital.
Founded in 1966, Serum Institute of India is the largest producer of drugs for snake bite.
The high-profile deal comes within a week of leading industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla setting a record last week when he paid Rs 425 crore for Jatia House in the plush Malabar Hill area.
The 2-acre Grade-III property at Breach Candy has a built-up area of around 50,000 sq ft. Though Grade-III heritage properties are open for redevelopment now, sources said Poonawalla wants to use the Lincoln House as a family residence.
Both the US Consulate and Poonawalla could not be reached immediately. However, the property, which has been on the block since 2011, was sold at a lower price than what the Americans were demanding -- a whopping Rs 850 crore.
Joining the league of Kumar Birla, Poonawalla will also use the property as a family residence, sources added.
Last year, the iconic Mehrangir, the house of the father of the nation's atomic programme, Homi Bhabha, in the Malabar Hill area, was sold to the Godrej family for Rs 372 crore. In another high profile deal in 2011, the Maheshwari House was sold for Rs 400 crore.
"All these properties have been bought for personal use. Therefore, their valuation can't be ascertained on market rates. There are many such properties which are likely to be put on the block in future.
"They might be used for redevelopment purpose or even personal use as it happened in these recent big ticket deals," PwC India director Shashank Jain said.
The Lincoln House was formerly known as the Wankaner House, a palace belonging to the Wankaner Maharaja, Pratapsinhji Jhala Wankaner. It was leased to the US in 1957 and was renamed as the Lincoln House and the US made its their Consulate in the city.
In 2011, the Consulate was shifted to a sprawling new building in the BKC area. The Maharaja sold the palace to the US Consulate to pay off his taxes after the independence, following the accession of the princely states.
In 2012, the largest builder in the city, Lodha Group had bought another US Consulate property, the Washington House on the Altamount Road for Rs 341.82 crore.
The property, however, was bought to develop a luxury 30-storey residential tower.