Emotion comes at a premium even in the city’s ruthless realty market. Gautam Ahuja, managing director of Ahuja Constructions and son of Jagdish Ahuja, paid Rs 97,000 per sq ft to buy an old apartment, located in Soona Villa on Perry Cross Road in upmarket Bandra. The figure is the highest ever paid for an apartment by anyone in the western suburbs and he has done so to stay close to his family.
The existing realty rates in posh Bandra barely crosses Rs 50,000-70,000 per sq ft even in a tony neighbourhood like the sea-facing Carter Road or Bandstand. What Gautam paid is comparable to what one would pay for a dainty downtown pad in, say, Nariman Point or Cuffe Parade.
Gautam bought the apartment, which measures 1,650 sq ft, from film producer Govardhan Tanvani a while back for Rs 16 crore, which yields a per-square-ft cost of Rs 97,000. The apartment is located on the seventh floor of Soona Villa.
To boot, the Rs 16 crore price tag comes laced with other overheads. Accounting for the 5% stamp duty applicable on purchase of the resale property worth Rs 16 crore, Gautam will have to pay another Rs 80 lakh. Additional costs of Rs 30,000 will go towards registration fee.
It turns out that the Ahuja construction firm has several housing projects dotting the stretch from Worli to Lokhandwala. Gautam could have moved in any brand new apartment at any of the properties. But, apparently, familial ties tied him to the neighbourhood he is staying in.
“I bought the flat because I didn’t want to move out of the building and wanted to stay close to the family,” said Gautam, whose father occupies a flat in the tower’s 11th floor and who had hitherto been staying on rent on the ninth floor to be close to his family.
Even so, Ahuja Constructions has projects in Bandra itself -- Dunhill and Rajpipla near Palinaka and Linking Road that the construction honcho could have made use of. As such, many are asking why anyone, specially someone revelling in space with a three-decade old realty empire, would pay the soaring price for a suburban apartment.
“Seems the emotional connect overpowered the financial aspect in the deal,” cracked a realtor off the record. While this would be the highest paid for an apartment in Bandra-Khar belt, real estate experts say this cannot be taken as a yardstick for properties in the area.
“Ahuja paid the money because he wanted to stay in the particular building. This shouldn’t be held as a benchmark for every other flat in Bandra-Khar area,” said a realtor from Bandra.
High rise high rates
Per-square-feet rates in buildings at premium locations in Bandra:
Hill Road: Rs 50,000-55,000
Pali Hill: Rs 65,000-70,000
Bandstand: Rs 65,000-70,000
Carter Road: Rs 65,000-70,000
There are other high-profile house buyers. Playback singer Shaan has bought two apartments in Fortune Enclave on 14th Road in Khar (W), measuring 6,200 sq ft, for Rs 17 crore.
Rs 70,000 The going rate per sq ft in the posh areas of Bandra
Rs 16 crore What Ahuja has paid for the 7th floor flat in Soona Villa