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01/03/2012

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DEAL HINTS AT MAJOR RAMP-UP

A deal for office space of this size suggests a major ramp-up by Goldman in India in the years ahead, with commercial property market experts estimating that one million square feet of space can seat around 10,000 people.

In March this year, Goldman held its annual board meeting in Mumbai and Delhi. The assembly of all its high-profile directors in India for three days was widely viewed as an acknowledgement of the importance it attaches to the country.

Goldman, which was advised by real estate consultant CBRE, will pay a rental of around Rs 49 per square foot a month, which works out to Rs 60 crore a year as rent for the one million square feet. CBRE declined to comment.

The bank has also engaged New Yorkbased architect Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, which was the key designer for the modernisation of the Grand Louvre in Paris, to design the building and the workspace.

Previous single-location lease deals in India have been well short of the one million square feet mark and this one easily beats the previous record - IT firm Cisco's deal for 700,000 square feet earlier this year, also in Bangalore. This deal is the second big real estate transaction involving a US bank in recent weeks.

Last month, Citigroup bought a building with 297,000 square feet of space in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex for Rs 985 crore to house its India headquarters from a consortium led by the Purnendu Chatterjee Group.

According to property advisory firm CBRE, demand for office space slowed down in the January-March 2012 quarter, with around 4.1 million sq ft getting absorbed across the top cities in India, compared with almost 6.5 million sq ft in the previous quarter

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