Dilipkumar Lakhi, a prominent diamond merchant and Mumbai's highest individual tax payer till a couple of years ago, has beaten some of the city's top developers to emerge the highest bidder for the iconic Cadbury House, the India headquarters of Mondelez, in South Mumbai.
Besides office space, the premises include the eight-storey Bournville Apartments that houses top officials of the company.
Lakhi has quoted about Rs 350 crore (Rs 3.5 billion) for the one-acre property, with 90,000 sq ft saleable area, on Peddar Road, said sources familiar with the development.
The rate works out to be around Rs 39,000 per sq ft, given the plot has a floor space index of 1.33. Floor space index is the permissible construction allowed on the plot. The property has a built-up area of 50,000 sq ft.
Lakhi had beaten half-a-dozen developers such as Lodha Group, PeninsulaLand, Mahindra Lifespaces and others to emerge the highest bidder, said the sources.
"Currently, the documentation is on and it will take at least a couple of months to conclude the deal," said the sources. Cadbury House has been on the block for over six months.
Lakhi is expected to convert the plot into a residential property. The prime real estate is located between Altamont Road, where leading industrialists have plush residences, and Haji Ali in South Mumbai.
When contacted, a Cadbury India spokesperson said as the sale process was ongoing, the company was unable to comment on it. Lakhi could not be reached for comments.
The property was put on the block after the company decided to move its headquarters to Thane, on the outskirts of Mumbai.
Cadbury India insiders said the company's growth had led to an increase in the number of new employees. The company has been facing space constraints across its offices, especially so at Cadbury House.
At the end of 2010, the total strength at Cadbury House was 300 employees. Today, there are about 500 employees at the office.
Global realty consultant Cushman & Wakefield is conducting the transaction. Cushman executives declined to comment.