LINCOLN HOUSE

Record-breaking sale: A billionaire has bought the former US consulate in Mumbai for $113 million

Quartz india
Quartz india

A seaside mansion that once housed the US consulate in Mumbai has been sold to Cyrus Poonawalla, India’s eighth richest man.

Poonawalla—who owns the Serum Institute of India—bought the mansion for Rs750 crore ($113 million), making it India’s most expensive residential purchase, Reuters reported. The bungalow had been available for sale since the consulate moved its offices from the upmarket Breach Candy area to to the commercial neighbourhood of Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai in 2011.

Serum Institute of India Chairman Cyrus Poonawalla poses with the Nasovac swine flu nasal vaccine in New Delhi on 20 July 2010. The domestically developed intra-nasal vaccine was introduced by the Serum Institute of India.
Cyrus Poonawalla. (EPA/Stringer)

“The talks had been going on for more than a month now and only late last month we shook hands to close the deal,” Adar Poonawalla, Cyrus Poonawalla’s son, told the Hindustan Times newspaper. “The process took some time as we had to work with the government to transfer the lease. We thought it was a good price given the location. I like living in the Breach Candy area and Lincoln House is not very far from where my current Mumbai house is.”

The 77-year-old Lincoln House was originally known as Wankaner House and was built in 1938 by the Maharaja of Wankaner, a princely state near Rajkot in Gujarat. It is spread across two acres in the Breach Candy area of south Mumbai.

The US government had leased the property in 1957 for 999 years and renamed it Lincoln House. It had been trying to sell it since 2011—after the consulate shifted its office to a bigger one—but found little interest from buyers, mainly because of the hefty price tag.

“We bought the property because it is an iconic heritage structure,” Cyrus Poonawalla told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper. “Adar believed that the deal was attractive considering the prevailing market conditions when few individuals could make such a big offer.”

Poonawalla’s purchase of the property comes a week after India’s sixth richest man, Kumar Mangalam Birla, paid Rs425 crore ($64 million) for Jatia House in the plush Malabar Hill area of South Mumbai. Last year, the iconic Mehrangir house in Malabar Hill, which was owned by Homi Bhabha, the father of the nation’s atomic programme, was sold to the Godrej family for Rs372 crore ($56 million).

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