Donald Trump’s firm signs deal for Kolkata real estate project

Trump Organization plans to tap opportunities in office real estate across large cities in India


In Kolkata, Trump Organization has partnered with Unimark Group to build a 400,000 sq. ft residential project with the signature Trump Tower on the city’s EM Bypass stretch.
In Kolkata, Trump Organization has partnered with Unimark Group to build a 400,000 sq. ft residential project with the signature Trump Tower on the city’s EM Bypass stretch.

Bengaluru: Trump Organization, the New York-based business venture of US president-elect Donald Trump, has signed a deal with real estate firm Unimark Group in Kolkata for a residential project, is in talks for a second project in Pune and plans to tap opportunities in office real estate across large cities, multiple people familiar with the developments said.

In Kolkata, Trump Organization has partnered with Unimark Group to build a 400,000 sq. ft residential project with the signature Trump Tower on the city’s EM Bypass stretch, two people familiar with the deal said, asking not to be identified.

“We have signed a project in Kolkata and it is in design stage, but we haven’t announced it yet. The project will also have reasonable sized units of around 2,500 sq. ft. The project should be launched early next year,” said Kalpesh Mehta, managing partner at Tribeca, the exclusive representative of Trump Organization in India.

Mehta didn’t disclose details of the developer partner but said that it is a local developer.

Unimark Group co-founder Harsh Patodia declined to comment, citing confidentiality.

Separately, Trump Organization is in talks to partner with Pune-based Panchshil Realty for a second project in the city’s Kharadi area. The project is expected to have four towers, totalling 500,000 sq. ft.

Panchshil and Trump’s first two-tower project is in Kalyani Nagar, and has already been delivered.

“In 2014, there was some talk to do a second project in Kharadi—Trump River Walk—but due to bad market conditions, it didn’t take off. Now, there’s a strong chance that it is going to be revived. The deal has not been signed but is likely to happen by March next year,” said a person familiar with the plans.

Earlier this week, Tribeca’s Mehta and the promoters of Panchshil Realty, Atul and Sagar Chordia, met Trump in New York.

In India, Trump Organization works with local developers via brand licensing agreements and has not made any equity investments. The Trump-branded residences sold in India have been in the Rs3.5-15 crore segment.

It has signed five projects with different partners so far, including one in Mumbai with Lodha Developers Pvt. Ltd, one with Panchshil Realty in Pune, a residential project in Gurgaon with M3M, an office project with M3M (also in Gurgaon) and the latest one in Kolkata.

“We have started looking at more office opportunities considering that the commercial office sector has performed quite well in India,” Mehta said.

In April, Trump partnered with developer IREO to build a 1 million sq. ft office project—Trump Office Towers—in Gurgaon’s Golf Course Extension Road, which will also have a retail complex.

Mehta added that the slowdown had hit the real estate sector hard, and that the demonetization drive would have a short- to medium-term negative impact.

“I am not so worried about the super luxury segment that we operate in because we have sold quite well. The Lodha project in Mumbai, for example, is 60% sold,” he said.

The high-end segment in India’s real estate market, primarily concentrated in the larger property markets such as Mumbai, the National Capital Region (NCR), Bengaluru and Pune, has been dull for the last three years or so. However, demand for such homes has started showing signs of improvement in the last few months.

According to a report by Liases Foras Real Estate Rating and Research Pvt. Ltd, homes in the affordable segment (up to Rs50 lakh) and in the ultra-luxury segment (priced above Rs2 crore) showed a rise in demand, with the latter clocking 38% annual growth. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the NCR and Bengaluru were the biggest contributors to sales in this segment.

“Prices of luxury projects have corrected, particularly in Mumbai (the country’s most expensive property market) and there are developers still willing to give discounts, but yet sales traction is a problem. The issue with luxury projects is that buyers today only trust the top three or four developers, making it tough for the rest. We believe that there will be significant consolidation among luxury developers,” said Ramesh Nair, chief operating officer at property advisory JLL India.

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