Friday, December 07, 2018

‘Many govt entities have shown interest in AI HQ’

The move to sell Air India’s iconic Nariman Point headquarters in Mumbai has gained steam with many companies showing interest in the property. The government may go in for a limited bidding of this highrise and help raise Rs 1,500 crore for the cash-strapped Maharaja. “Many government entities have shown interest. The matter is being discussed with them. But the iconic structure’s character will be maintained irrespective of ownership,” aviation secretary R N Choubey told TOI.
Earlier this year, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) had shown interest. But the process could not proceed as a single party meant no bidding, and the government did not want any charge of selling the property at a price lower than its true value.

AI retains five floors in the Queen’s Necklace 23-storey marvel and gets around Rs 107 crore as rent annually from the rest. When the JNPT deal did not materialise, the airlines planned to vacate more floors and increase its annual rental to Rs 120-125 crore.

The move to sell the prime property which could be Mumbai’s equivalent of New York’s ‘Top of the Rock’ Rockefeller Plaza if the public are allowed to go to the rooftop and enjoy an unparalleled view of the city gains momentum as the government has cleared transfer of almost half of AI’s total debt of Rs 60,000 crore

07/12/18 Saurabh Sinha/Times of India