The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bypass land sets rate record

Calcutta, April 7: Realty circles were on the boil today over the emergence of a new price benchmark for prime land along the bypass.

In one of the largest property deals in recent times in Bengal, the MRMGF-Intercontinental combine bagged an over-six-acre plot for more than Rs 213 crore to build a hotel.

The price of Rs 56 lakh per cottah the group has paid is several times more than the Rs 9-12 lakh land in the area has been fetching thus far.

Over a month ago, the cash-strapped Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), the owner of the land, invited bids for building a five-star hotel on the leasehold property. It shortlisted 10 bidders on the basis of technical offers and concepts.

A special committee, which was tasked with selecting the winner, picked the combine made up of the Dubai-based MR group and Delhi-based MGF, which entered into a partnership with the well-known Intercontinental chain this afternoon.

The combine snapped up the property by offering what a major local group chose to describe as a “never-before price. They not only pushed all the competitors out of the race, but also introduced a new element which will put the Calcutta market in the Mumbai or Delhi category”.

CMDA had acquired the property in the seventies, paying a paltry sum as compensation to the original owner and turned it into a yard for parking equipment.

Realty sources said the price offered by the combine was higher than the Rs 40 to 45 lakh a cottah being quoted in posh neighbourhoods like Alipore.

“What you have just witnessed may be called a trailer,” one of the MRMGF combine representatives said after the name of the winner was announced.

“The main film will start as and when they (government) invite and open bids for the Dankuni township (a project off Howrah which has caught attention across the country).”

A hush fell on the gathering in the CMDA boardroom when the bids were opened. In second spot was the Delhi-based DLF group, one of India’s largest real estate developers promoted by K.P. Singh, ranked 114th on a global list of billionaires, which offered nearly Rs 200 crore.

A section of CMDA employees protested the sale, demanding the authorities enter into a joint venture with the winner.

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