Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mumbai plans world's tallest apartment block

Called World One, it will be 117 storeys high and is likely to be ready by 2014

(MUMBAI) An Indian property group on Tuesday unveiled plans to build the world's tallest purely residential tower in Mumbai, the country's booming financial capital.

Lodha Developers said the tower would be 117 storeys high and would be designed by New York-based Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, the architects of the Louvre Pyramid in Paris and the Bank of China building in Hong Kong.

'At 1,450 feet (442 metres), the tower will be the tallest of its kind,' Abhisheck Lodha, managing director of Lodha Developers, told reporters as he presented a scale model of the complex.

Called World One, it will be located in central Mumbai on the plot of a defunct textile mill and should be completed by 2014.

The development will contain more than 300 apartments and include large green spaces, cafes and an open-air observatory.

Mumbai's sky-high property prices continued to rise during the global economic downturn, even though the city is plagued by water shortages and poor infrastructure.

The city's central district was a textile mill hub until a few decades ago, but a large labour strike in the 1980s and the entry of new power loom complexes led to the demise of the old mills.

In their place have risen shopping malls, luxury apartments, hotels and high-tech corporate offices.

'This is to meet the aspirations of the global Indian and to establish a landmark for the city,' Mr Lodha said. 'We are trying to create the Rockefeller Centre-type experience.'

The developer expects the base price of an apartment to be upwards of 75 million rupees (S$2.25 million), while luxury multi-storey properties could cost up to US$10.5 million.

The tower will cost about US$440 million to build, the Lodha group said, and apartment sales will start this month.

At present, the world's tallest residential tower is the 323-metre Q1 on Australia's Gold Coast, while Mumbai's 60-storey Imperial twin towers are India's tallest, at 249 metres.

There are taller buildings around the world, including Dubai's Burj Khalifa at 828 metres and the Canton TV Tower in Guangzhou, China, at 610 metres, but these are not purely residential.

Residential rates in central Mumbai have risen about 30 per cent in the past six months, analysts say, due to higher input costs.

'The market for luxury homes in Mumbai is growing,' said Param Desai, a real estate analyst with Mumbai's Angel Broking.

'Liquidity is improving and salaries, disposable incomes are on the rise,' he added.

India's economy recorded 7.4 per cent growth for the year to March, official data released last month showed.

India's top property firm, DLF, has plans to launch Mumbai's largest luxury residential project a few blocks from the proposed World One tower.

This project would have 1,000 apartments in three buildings of 80-90 floors each, industry sources said. -- AFP

Source: Business Times, 10 Jun 2010

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