It is action time at DLF, the Delhi-headquartered real estate giant. The company, which raised nearly $2.2 billion from its public offer earlier this summer, is now in spending mode. Last fortnight, in a private transaction, DLF bought a 38-acre project (read: no change in land usage needed) in Delhi from DCM Shriram Consolidated for around Rs 1,675 crore—nearly a fifth of the funds that it raised from the stake sale.
The project is housed in what were known as Swatantra Bharat Mills and DCM Silk Mills, and is contiguous to DLF’s two previous acquisitions of 25 acres and two acres. The project will be built around a 121-acre green belt belonging to Delhi Development Authority. DLF is hoping to replicate the ambience of New York’s Central Park or London’s Hyde Park at this site in Delhi when it becomes ready in another 5-6 years.
However, the area is currently quite run-down and DLF is hoping to make a change via a public-private partnership to affect this make-over. “As far as we can get permission from DDA, we will maintain the green belt,” says Rajeev Talwar, Group Executive Director, DLF. If this project, less than 10 kilometres from the city centre, has the potential to trigger an urban renewal in Delhi, somewhat akin to the redevelopment of mill land in Mumbai, then it also marks DLF’s renewed energies on Delhi. Talwar is unequivocal: “Delhi is on the anvil. DLF in the last 30 days alone has announced $4 billion worth of projects in Delhi.”
While the Commonwealth Games in 2010 may be a trigger for some of the development, the city is not alone. The company is sharply focussed on what it calls the “super metros”—large cities with immense opportunity for growth. Delhi, including Gurgaon and Noida, Mumbai and Chennai are top priorities for DLF.
And to fund some of these projects, it will be back to the drawing board for the real estate major, as the company’s sister concern gets into a fresh round of fund raising via a Real Estate Investment Trust possibly by 2007-end. And coming alongside could be a real estate fund for townships or Special Economic Zones before the end of the financial year. So it is likely to be an interesting year, to say the least, for DLF.