The WIRE Group, which builds high-end commercial space, is planning to spend $1 billion (Rs440 crore), over the next two years in projects in India to tap into the growing demand for commercial space in an economy that’s expanding at 9% a year.
WIRE, or Worldwide India Real Estate Fund, is sponsored by international majors Santa Fe Partners, Global Emerging Markets (GEM) and California’s Webcor Builders. It has put in place an equity fund of $300 million to kickstart this investment.
The Group has already started work on three projects in Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai. It is also lining up projects in Hyderabad, Pune and Gurgaon,
“We expect to finish the Kolkata project first, which is a 500,000-sq. ft space,” said Mark Fidelman, VP, director tenant acquisition, on the sidelines of a meeting of the US-India Business Council, which has brought to India a 38-member delegation of US businessmen.
The project is a joint venture with a local partner, who owns the land on which the project is coming up. Fidelman declined to name the partner.
The WIRE Group has a similar joint venture in Bangalore, building a commercial space of one million sq. ft. In Chennai, where it has acquired land, it is setting up a 1.7 million sq. ft facility.
Both these projects are expected to be completed in 2009. It is working on a 130,000 sq. ft project in Gurgaon.
“We are looking at IT, pharmaceutical research and development and semiconductor facilities,” Fidelman said.
The recently announced special incentive package for setting up semiconductor fabrication and other micro and nano technology manufacturing industries, is a big draw for The WIRE Group, he added.
The company is looking at the possibility of such facilities coming up in West Bengal and other parts of the country.
Besides, its sponsors—Santa Fe Partners, GEM and Webcor—The WIRE Group has on board AsiaPac International and Larsen and Toubro as partners.