Meherangir, the iconic Bhabha bungalow, has a new owner whose name has not been announced. But realty market sources told Business Standard the property was sold to Pheroza Godrej, wife of Jamshyd Godrej, managing director and chairman, Godrej & Boyce, in one of the costliest property deals in the country. When contacted, the company refused to comment.
The National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA), the cultural organisation set up by JRD Tata and Jamshed Bhabha, sold the iconic property, better known as the Bhabha bungalow in south Mumbai, for Rs 372 crore on Wednesday.
The second highest bid came from Ajay Piramal at Rs 371 crore, sources said. Queries sent to Piramal’s corporate communications team did not elicit any response.
At Rs 372 crore, the per square foot acquisition price comes to Rs 1,64,528, given that the property has a floor space index (FSI) of 1.33 and the total FSI comes to 22,610 sq ft. The bungalow transaction broke the earlier record property deal where Mumbai developer Peninsula Land paid Rs 91,000 per sq ft or Rs 272 crore for the Bishopgate property, owned by Standard Chartered and HSBC in the Breach Candy area here. FSI means permissible construction available on the plot of land.
The winning price for the Bhabha bungalow was almost 45 per cent higher than the quoted price, indicating demand for iconic properties in the city, said consultants. They added the sale was unique because the bidding did not include any property developer.
“The sale is significant in that it did not attract developers. Bids were placed by end users and investors that are looking at creating landmark assets within the city,” said Sanjay Dutt, managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, a property consultant.
“This was also the primary reason for the sale to have happened at a significant higher value than the reserved price. A freehold property such as this which offers its buyer a clear and marketable title are few and far between in Mumbai,” said Dutt. Therefore, the interest from individuals, he added.
AAlthough eight persons expressed interest in the property, only three bid in the final round held on Wednesday. NCPA officials held a press conference to announce the sale of the property.
The property has been embroiled in a controversy. In fact, two members of the National Federation of Atomic Energy Employees (NFAEE) moved the Bombay High Court to stop the auction. Also, others, including eminent scientist C N R Rao, said the property should be declared a national memorial.
The sale of the bungalow is subject to the high court’s judgment on the matter. The case is posted for hearing on Monday.
K N Suntook, chairman of the NCPA, said the property was put up for sale according to the will of Jamshed Bhabha, brother of Homi Bhabha.
The bungalow was once home to Homi, father of India’s nuclear establishment. Jamshed, a former Tata honcho and founder chairman of the NCPA, inherited the property after Homi died in 1996. Jamshed, who headed the NCPA till his death, bequeathed the bungalow to the NCPA. Suntook clarified the property was not a heritage structure. He said the NCPA would use the proceeds for modernisation of the centre including revamping lighting, sound systems, air conditioning and so on.