An old bungalow property in the exclusive residential enclave
of Carmichael Road in south Mumbai is believed to have been
sold for around Rs 300 crore.
Villa Nirmala, an over six-decade-old property, has been
jointly purchased by Peninsula Land, which is part of the
Ashok Piramal Group, and developer Khemchand Kothari. Interestingly,
a member of the Kothari family was recently involved in
a hit-and-run accident at Marine Drive.
Sources said the transaction involved a payment of Rs 240
crore plus 15,000 sq ft of space for the occupants of the
bungalow once it was redeveloped. The bungalow, which has
a garden at the back and occupies about half-an-acre, may
give way for a skyscraper in the otherwise low-rise Carmichael
Road, a declared heritage precinct. The only high-rise on
this road is the 24-storey Usha Kiran which came up in the
mid-1960s. Buildings in the area command prices ranging
between Rs 40,000 a sq ft and Rs 90,000 a sq ft.
However, sources close to the Villa Nirmala deal said it
was too early for the developers to divulge details about
the project. ''We are working on it,'' they said. The ground-plus-two-storey
bungalow once belonged to Maharaj Kumar Khanderao Shivajirao
Gaekwar and subsequently came into the possession of two
families, the Wagles and Lalvanis.
Local residents told TOI that most buildings on Carmichael
Road had a covenant which restricted their height and did
not allow them to go beyond a certain height in case they
were to be redeveloped. But, in case if the building is
a cessed structure (which has tenants and constructed prior
to 1940), the restrictive heritage rules do not apply and
the property gets an enhanced floor space index (FSI). The
developers of Villa Nirmala claim that it is not a cessed
In the 1930s and 1940s, Carmichael Road saw a plethora of
stately homesdotting the lush hillslopes. Old-timers recalled
that many of these houses were built for about Rs 1 lakh
to Rs 1.5 lakh. Among the oldest is the sprawling municipal
commissioner's bungalow which came up in the 1920s.