D-Mart’s Radhakishan Damani buys 8-acre Thane plot from Mondelez

Radhakishan Damani, billionaire investor and founder of DMart, has acquired an 8-acre land parcel in Thane from Mondelez India, formerly Cadbury India, for nearly Rs 250 crore, said persons with direct knowledge of the development.

The plot is located at Pokharan Road 1, a key locality of Thane, is estimated to have a total development potential of around 1 million sq ft given current development regulations.

“The transaction was concluded and registered last week. The plot has been acquired by Damani’s family office,” said one of the persons mentioned above. “The plot is likely to see development of a mixed-use project with some high-street retail given its proximity to an upcoming metro station, while the balance is residential.”

ET was first to report in January that Damani’s family office was undertaking due diligence on the plot and was in an advanced stage of discussions with Mondelez to acquire the same.

It could not be ascertained if Damani is planning to develop the plot independently or with a developer through a joint venture. According to property consultants, current property prices in the vicinity are at Rs 10,000-12,000 per sq ft.

In the backdrop of the increasing preference for alliances and joint development of land holdings, this will be one of the few instances of an outright purchase in recent times at this scale. Over the past few years, several realty developers have reworked their business strategies to focus on asset-light models, such as joint development, to reduce the upfront capital cost and cope with liquidity pressure.

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“Our Thane property houses Mondelēz International’s global Research, Development & Quality (RDQ) hub. Since our global RDQ hub did not require the entire parcel of land, we started the process of sale for the land in excess of our need. We can now confirm that the process is now successfully complete and the property has now been sold,” Mondelēz spokesperson said in response to ET’s query.

Email query to Damani remained unanswered until the time of going to press.

A Mumbai-based realty developer had shown interest in acquiring the land parcel last year, but the deal could not be concluded. In the last few years, several multinational companies such as Mondelez have been monetising non-core assets, mainly real estate, by selling them off.

In one of the largest real estate transactions in 2013, Mondelez India sold Mumbai landmark Cadbury House for about Rs 350 crore to diamond trader Dilipkumar Lakhi.

With several infrastructure initiatives aimed at improving connectivity, realty developers have been venturing into the micro-market of Thane. Oberoi Realty recently entered into an agreement to buy 60 acres from GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals in the area for Rs 555 crore.

In 2019, Singapore-based global investment firm Xander Group’s retail arm Virtuous Retail South Asia (VRSA) acquired about 20 acres in Thane from textile firm Raymond for over Rs 710 crore.

Godrej Properties acquired a 4-acre parcel on Thane’s Ghodbunder Road to develop a residential project in September 2018.



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