Kingfisher Towers, being built on a 4.5 acre land that once housed former liquor baron Vijay Mallya's ancestral home, is currently undergoing internal finishing
Bengaluru: Luxury residences in Bengaluru’s Kingfisher Towers, the city’s most expensive residential project with 81 apartments and a 40,000 sq. ft mansion-style penthouse, will finally be handed over to its buyers from June onwards.
The skyscraper, which is being built on a 4.5 acre land that once housed former liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s ancestral home, is currently undergoing internal finishing.
It is being developed as an extension of UB City, the luxury retail and office space built under a joint development agreement between United Breweries Holdings Ltd (UBHL) and Prestige Estates Projects Ltd. UBHL owns 55% and the developer 45%. Prestige is constructing the project.
“We have recently got the occupancy certificate. Externally, almost everything is done, internal finishes and amenities work are on. It’s a complex structure to build and these are luxurious, individually handcrafted apartments. By May-June, we should be able to start the handovers," said Irfan Razack, chairman and managing director, Prestige Group.
An occupancy certificate or OC is a document which is issued by the planning authority or municipal body at the end of the construction and is proof of the building’s compliance with laws. At around Rs30,000 per sq. ft, the 8,000 sq. ft apartments in Kingfisher Towers are priced at around Rs25-26 crore each while the penthouse is roughly valued at $20 million.
Prestige, which has 42 apartments in its share, has six unsold units. The last apartment it sold last year was at around Rs26-27 crore.
Razack said once finished, there will be demand for the remaining homes.
UBHL’s share includes 39 apartments and the penthouse. It has sold and issued allotment letters for seven, for a little over Rs150 crore. There have been no transactions since 2014 after UBHL was barred from selling anything more. A UBHL spokesperson didn’t respond to an email query.
In September 2016, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached Rs6,630 crore worth of properties belonging to Mallya in a money laundering probe that included flats in Kingfisher Towers, along with some other assets including the Mandwa Farm House, Alibaug and shares of UBHL and United Spirits Ltd (USL).
In January 2017, the debt recovery tribunal (DRT) in Bengaluru ruled in favour of State Bank of India (SBI) and allowed it to start the process of recovering the Rs6,203.35 crore it is owed by Mallya’s companies. Last March, UBHL moved a division bench of the Karnataka high court challenging the order for winding up the firm for its failure to pay admitted liabilities to the creditors, including the banks. Following this, the Karnataka high court asked UBHL to make an offer to banks for a one-time settlement of dues.
“Status quo has prevailed in the case since then," said S.S. Naganand, senior counsel appearing for the lenders’ consortium.
“The seven buyers can hire a lawyer and ask for the release of their apartments. If they release one, they can release all. It is unfortunate that when the tower is handed over, half of it will be occupied and the remaining empty," said a person familiar with the development, but didn’t wish to be named.
The luxury real estate market in India has suffered a significant blow due to the prolonged slowdown in the sector but there is still demand for unique offerings, said property consultants.
“This is an iconic project with not too much inventory. There is sufficient demand for luxury projects particularly because the city hasn’t seen a development like this before," said Juggy Marwaha, executive managing director at real estate advisory JLL India.
USL is also in the process of selling 31,000 sq. ft in UB Towers, Bengaluru for around Rs100 crore as well as a sea-facing mansion called Niladri in south Mumbai’s Nepeansea Road in a bid to monetize its non-core assets.
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