Cyrus Poonawala buys former US Consulate for Rs750 cr
15 September 2015
It seems to be the season for mega housing deals in Mumbai. Vaccine billionaire Cyrus Poonawalla has bought a former maharaja's mansion, Lincoln House in upmarket Breach Candy, from the US government on the weekend for around Rs750 crore ($113 million), making it the most expensive ever residential purchase in the country.
The purchase by the chairman of Pune-based Serum Institute comes within a week of billionaire industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla buying Jatia House, another of south Mumbai's old bungalows, for Rs425 crore, which was till then the biggest housing purchase (See: Kumar Mangalam Birla buys house in Mumbai for Rs425 cr). But it enjoyed this status for a very short time.
Lincoln Mansion, on the seaside, was used as the US consulate from 1957, and later renamed Lincoln House. It was put on the market four years ago, after the consulate was relocated to a purpose built compound in a newer business district.
Poonawalla, one of India's richest men, told The Times of India newspaper that he secured the property after real estate groups were told there were limits on potential redevelopment plans for the heritage-listed house and seaside plot.
Mumbai is already home to the most expensive private home in the world; Antilia, the purpose-built 27-floor home of India's richest man, Mukesh Ambani.
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, reports say Poonawalla wants to use Lincoln House as a family residence.
It is reported that the property, which has been on the block since 2011, was sold by real estate dealer DTZ at a lower price than what the Americans were demanding - a whopping Rs850 crore.
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 (Homi Bhabha's iconic bungalow 'Mehrangir' sold for Rs372 crore).
The Serum Institute of India was founded in 1966, and is the largest producer of drugs for snakebite.