Chinese firm forays into Chennai realty, close in on Adyar Villa land

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CHENNAI: Country Garden, one of China’s top three township developers, is close to clinching a deal with TVH, a Chennai property developer, to buy a 60-ground (one ground is 2,400sqft) land parcel in Kotturpuram, a premium residential locality in the city.

The land parcel was originally part of the 18-acre Adyar Villa property owned by industrialist A C Muthiah’s family. TVH bought it in 2009 for nearly Rs 120 crore. Adyar Villa is a landmark in the area and is located close tothe Adyar river.

“Country Garden has been planning a foray into the Indian realty market for some time; now it is on the verge of buying the Adyar Villa plot. The deal may have have two components – around Rs 220 crore in cash and a share for TVH in the development,” a person privy to the deal told TOI.

Neither Country Garden nor TVH director Arun Nehru could be reached for a comment.

The source said TVH will be the local partner for Country Garden in Chennai for this project, since it makes sense for the Chinese company to have an Indian partner for getting clearances and approvals from government agencies. The two plan to jointly promote the project (but not as a joint venture) through a Special Purpose vehicle (SPV), and TVH is likely to get around 20% of the development.
The Guangdong-based integrated property developer had recently announced its intent for an India foray recently. Mo Bin, Country Garden’s president and executive director had told media in Hong Kong in January that the company is keen to clinch its first real estate deal in India by the end of 2017. The population of India has almost surpassed that of China and its economic growth is the fastest in the world, but urban development in India is at least ten years behind China’s, he had then said.

The company has been in the process of setting up its India-base in Gurugram and regional offices in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kochi. It is understood to be in talks with a few Indian property developers in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

Soon after buying the Adyar Villa land parcel in 2009, TVH, owned by former Tamil Nadu transport minister and DMK strongman K N Nehru’s family, wanted to promote a multi-storied residential project. However, since the frontage of the particular land parcel did not meet the criteria required for promoting an MSB project. When the DMK was in power, the road was widened.

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