A Maharaja’s treasure chest

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The firm in a report released in the beginning of this year, had projected that the demand for office space in key Indian cities will be of 30 million square feet, a decline as compared to the 36 million square feet in 2011.

Maharaja's gamble

Industry sources feel that getting tenants might be difficult but not impossible for Air India as there have always been takers for properties in Nariman Point.

"The area has lost its sheen as a price office space is true but we will be able to rent it out," said a senior Air India official.

"The demand is always there because a large number of banking and financial institutions would always prefer to have offices in a posh business district — take the case of HDFC that shifted recently to Nariman Point," says Ahuja.

Another Mumbai-based analyst also feels that the airline needs to market its property properly to attract tenants.

"Air India will surely get a tenant just that they need to market it well. Not many interested parties know that the company is looking for tenants for its building also a little bit of tinkering with the rentals may help. It is just a matter of time before the airline gets a tenant," said a Mumbai-based analyst, on condition of anonymity.

Recently, HDFC group has leased offices in Lever House in the area and Hindustan Unilever, owners of the building, intitially had to face difficulties in finding a tenant.

The national carrier aims to raise R500 crore in the first year through sale of its property globally, and is in the process of hiring a real estate consultant to advise them on the issue. The airline also projects an annual income of R100 crore from its eponymous building. Can the Maharaja make it happen? Nariman Point is waiting and watching.

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