Mirae Asset Global Investment, part of South Korea’s Mirae Asset Financial Group, has emerged as the front-runner to buy Citibank India’s former headquarters at Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) with an offer of ₹413 crore, according to two people aware of the development.
If the deal goes through, this would be Mirae’s first investment in India’s commercial office market. So far, the Seoul-headquartered company has invested in residential projects in India through its $100 million Alternate Investment Fund (AIF) set up last year.
Blackstone-backed real estate firm K. Raheja Corp is also in the race to purchase the eight-storey building, said one of the persons mentioned above. The Mumbai-based firm has made an offer of nearly ₹400 crore, the person said.
“Around 18 bidders, including global funds, were vying for the property. The deal would be finalized very soon," the second person said.
Spokespersons at Mirae Asset, K. Raheja Corp, and Citibank India chose not to comment.
Popularly known as Citi Centre, the building was Citibank India’s headquarters until 2012. The bank later shifted to the First International Finance Centre in the area.
Several large developers and private equity investors have over the last few months shown interest in the marquee property at Mumbai’s central business district, spread across 130,000 sq. ft.
This is a welcome change as the building was listed for sale twice in the past five years but had then failed to garner sufficient interest largely because of a mismatch in the property’s valuation between Citibank and potential buyers, said the second person mentioned above.
International property consulting firms JLL India and CBRE have the mandate to sell the property. A spokesperson at JLL declined to comment, while CBRE did not respond to queries emailed on Saturday till the time of going to press.
The last few years have seen several global real estate funds, private equity firms, and large developers rush to acquire prime commercial office buildings to capitalise on the growing demand for office spaces across major cities.
In Mumbai’s upcoming financial hubs such as BKC, where fresh office supply has been scarce, a host of private equity firms and real estate companies are in the race to buy out a handful of fully-leased marquee office assets, pushing up the capital value of such properties in the area. According to local brokers, the value of commercial office space at BKC has jumped more than 30% in the last five years. A recent transaction at Godrej BKC, a 12-storey premium commercial building, saw office spaces being sold at around ₹37,000 per sq. ft.
The building was developed by Godrej Properties Ltd in partnership with the now grounded Jet Airways (India) Ltd, which owned the prime land.
Tokyo-based Sumitomo Corp is ready to pay ₹2,238 crore for a three-acre plot at BKC, according to a 26 June report in the Times of India. At ₹745 crore per acre, this would make it one of the highest bids in recent times in India.
Mirae Asset had announced its entry into India’s real estate sector in 2017 with a $500 million investment for buying commercial leased properties. However, the Korean mutual fund house later changed its strategy of investing only in commercial real estate. Of the $500 million, $100 million will be invested in residential projects, Puneet Bhatia, head, real estate, Mirae Asset Global Investments (India), saidlast year.
Founded by Hyeon Joo Park in 1997, Mirae Asset Financial Group is the largest investment bank and asset managers in South Korea. It has a presence in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia, and Singapore among others.