Mumbai: Singapore-based investor Ascendas-Singbridge Group has agreed to buy two upcoming office buildings totalling 1.4 million sq. ft in Navi Mumbai’s Aurum Platz IT Park for around Rs930 crore, top executives at the two companies said.

Ascendas India Trust has entered into a so-called forward purchase agreement with Navi Mumbai-based builder Aurum Ventures to buy the two assets, said Sanjeev Dasgupta, chief executive officer (CEO) of Ascendas Property Fund Trustee Pte Ltd, the trustee-manager of Ascendas India Trust. Under forward purchase, the builder agrees to sell a project once construction is completed.

The 5 million sq. ft Aurum Platz IT Park, also called Q PARĆ, is located at Ghansoli in Navi Mumbai, a satellite city of the financial capital. “The proposed acquisition of the two buildings in Aurum IT SEZ (special economic zone) marks our foray into the IT park business in Navi Mumbai, which is an important market for large multinational corporations," said Dasgupta. As part of the agreement, Ascendas India will provide construction finance of around Rs500 crore for the two buildings through a debenture issue.

Navi Mumbai’s Thane-Belapur IT corridor, where Ghansoli is located, has seen rising demand from commercial real estate developers and private equity funds. Large IT parks in its vicinity include K Raheja Corp.’s Mindspace and Reliance Communications’ Dhirubai Ambani Knowledge City.

At present, Ascendas India Trust operates around 12.6 million sq. ft of office space in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad.

Ashish Deora, founder and CEO of Aurum Ventures, said Ascendas India Trust has acquired around 30% of the total development potential in Q PARĆ. He said the acquisition has taken place based on “certain leasing milestones and the purchase price has been determined in accordance with a pre-agreed formula ,which considers key factors such as rent, occupancy and capitalization rates". At present, the IT park attracts a monthly rental of around Rs55 per sq. ft he said.

Construction of the first building, spanning 600,000 sq. ft, is expected to be over in the next three months. Around 200,000 sq. ft of this has been leased out, said Deora. The second building, spread across 800,000 sq. ft, will be completed by 2020.

“The Navi Mumbai market is getting huge traction because of the airport and the suburban railway networks," Deora said. “Captive requirements of several MNCs, banking and financial services companies are coming up, which was not the case two years ago." According to real estate experts, foreign real estate firms are eyeing a few core assets due to the limited supply of office spaces. One of the large investments in the commercial real estate segment in the last five months is Blackstone buying a 50% stake in Indiabulls Real Estate subsidiaries for Rs9,500 crore and Indiabulls Chennai IT park for Rs900 crore.

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