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Smoking: ITC buys 38 flats in Mumbai

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Kolkata-headquartered ITC has snapped up 38 apartments in Crescent Bay, located in Parel, central Mumbai, for close to Rs 140 crore. The purchase comes as a bit of a surprise given most companies prefer to lease apartments rather than buy them.

While the going rate for flats in the area is anywhere between R25,000 and R27,000 per sq ft, the cigarette major is understood to have got itself a good deal, paying around R23,000 a sq ft. The residential complex, promoted by Larsen & Toubro, houses flats with both two and three bedrooms covering between 1,320 sq ft and 2,100 sq ft, priced at R3-5 crore.

Confirming the purchase, an ITC spokesperson said in an email that the apartments were for the exclusive use of ITC executives. “ITC has built and purchased high-quality residential accommodation for its managers across the country and there is need to enhance the number of apartments that the company owns in Mumbai. Towards this end, ITC has entered into an agreement to purchase 38 residential apartments in Crescent Bay,” the spokesperson said. The company did not comment on the value of the deal.

Mudassir Zaidi, national director (residential services), Knight Frank, pointed out that such purchases are rare in the current environment but added these are good investment opportunities.

“Buying apartments in a single complex makes sense since executives can be housed in one place,” Zaidi said.

At one time, most top companies, especially multinational corporations, bought apartments for the top management. However, many of these were in south Mumbai and have been sold as companies shifted operations to the suburbs. Companies have even sold their office buildings and factories in the area. Glaxo, for instance sold prime property in Worli, while Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC disposed of property they owned jointly; the property was a five-storey residential building, Bishopsgate, at Breach Candy and was sold to Peninsula Land for Rs 272 crore. Hindustan Unilever sold its headquarters in Churchgate and over the the last several years has put many residential apartments on the block in the elite neighbourhoods of Malabar Hill, Nepeansea Road and Carmichael Road in south Mumbai. In 2012, the company sold one of its commercial properties, Gulita in Worli, to the Ajay Piramal-promoted Piramal Realty for Rs 452.5 crore. Citibank too is understood to have sold a dozen apartments across locations in the last few years.

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