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Indian developer Lodha Group selects contractor for luxury London residential job

EL Brookfield Multiplex Helix and environs

Exclusive: India’s largest developer Lodha Group has lined up Brookfield Multiplex to build its latest central London luxury residential scheme.

The contractor is understood to have signed a pre-construction service agreement with the property giant for 48 Carey Street in Westminster.

This is Lodha’s second residential project in the UK, with more expected to follow [see box].

The Carey Street development includes 201 high-end apartments and has an estimated development value of £120m.

In 2013, Lodha Group acquired the Canadian High Commission building at 1 Grosvenor Square for £306m, with plans to turn it into 41 luxury flats.

The scheme finally received planning approval from Westminster Council in November 2014, despite providing no affordable housing on the site.

Lodha instead agreed with the council to deliver 10 affordable units offsite and to pay a fee of more than £17m in return for planning permission.

The deal came ahead of controversial proposals published by Westminster Council in June 2015 to allow developers to fulfil their affordable housing obligations by building homes outside its borders.

Westminster Council deputy leader Robert Davis told Construction News last summer that the cost of providing affordable housing in the borough was “horrendous”, adding that the council wanted to maximise its output.

In the draft strategy, the council said it was “constrained by the shortage and high cost of land” in Westminster and as a result was considering a “cost-effective use of [its] resources” to develop housing outside the borough.

The same month, the City of London revealed it was mulling similar plans to deliver affordable housing  outside of its boundaries.

The council’s resource committee chairman Mark Boleat told Construction News at the time that it was exploring options to increase its 2000-home stock, including infill and refurbishment works on its existing estates.

Lodha has been contacted for comment, while Brookfield Multiplex declined to comment.

Lodha’s London plans

In 2014, the Indian developer announced that it wanted to pump more than £3bn into London’s property market by the end of 2018.

Lodha managing director Abhishek Lodha told the Financial Times in September 2014 that he wanted to take on some of the UK’s major housebuilders such as Berkeley and Barratt Developments.

He said that Lodha’s cash injection would be the “the largest foreign direct investment in the [UK] housing space ever”, with $3bn (£1.84bn) set aside for the acquisition of new assets and a further $2bn (£1.22bn) for construction.

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