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Trump to Enter Indian Property Market With Mumbai Luxury Tower

U.S. billionaire real-estate developer Donald Trump is entering the Indian property market with a luxury residential tower in Mumbai, more than two years after announcing plans to expand in the south Asian nation.

Trump, who has joined with Mumbai developer Rohan Lifescapes Pvt. for his first venture in the country, expects to start marketing the project by March, said Donald Trump Jr., Trump’s son and executive vice president at the Trump Organization LLC.

“We are doing a very luxury project with Rohan Lifescapes and we’ll be in India later this quarter to launch it officially,” Donald Trump Jr. said in a phone interview from New York on Jan. 13. He declined to give further details on the project.

Donald Trump’s son said in a July 2008 interview he planned to set up a fund of as much as $1 billion to buy property in India. “The market place is beginning to understand and appreciate luxury, so there is a great opening for us there, as well as in resorts,” he said at the time.

Trump is hoping to take advantage of growing demand for luxury properties in a market with an increasing number of millionaires. India’s wealthy may almost double their assets to $6.4 trillion over the next five years as economic growth swells their ranks, Credit Suisse Group AG said in its global wealth report released Oct. 8.

That has fanned demand for residences and homes designed by top designers such as Versace, Gucci and Roberto Cavalli among the well-heeled in major cities, said Mumbai-based Anand Narayanan, India director of Knight Frank LLP, a London-based real-estate broker.

‘Next Big Trend’

“The next big trend in India is that of branded residences such as the Trump Towers and Versace Residences we see in other cities,” said Narayanan.

The billionaire has branded buildings from skyscrapers in Manhattan to condominiums in Tijuana, Mexico, Trump World in the South Korean capital Seoul and the Trump Towers Istanbul.

The Trump development is being built on the site of a former hospital in south Mumbai, in a neighborhood dotted with jewelry stores, the only Porsche showroom in the city and next to a Mercedes showroom, said two people familiar with the matter, who declined to be identified before an official announcement.

Rohan Lifescapes focuses primarily on redevelopments. It has more than 60 projects spread across 54 sites, according to its website. It has developed more than 20 million square feet of homes and offices and is currently developing 3.45 million square feet of projects in Mumbai, the website said.

Falling Prices

Harresh Mehta, chairman of Rohan Lifescapes didn’t respond to e-mail queries. Kalpesh Mehta, a director at the developer, didn’t respond to a phone call to his office or reply to e-mail queries seeking comment.

New home sales in India fell as much as 25 percent after prices reached a record earlier in 2010 and won’t recover in the next six months following six interest rate increases, Knight Frank said last month.

Home registrations in Mumbai, India’s most expensive real estate market, declined to their lowest in 20 months in November, according to brokerage Prabhudas Lilladher Pvt. Property prices have climbed between 30 percent and 70 percent across India, with some markets having surpassed their 2007 peaks, Mahesh Nandurkar, a real-estate analyst at CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets in Mumbai, said in November.

Mumbai developers may cut home prices to revive flagging sales after banks curbed credit to the sector, according to broker IIFL Ltd. Property companies face rising borrowing costs and shrinking access to credit after a corruption probe into loans to developers, according to Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch & Co. unit and Ambit Capital Pvt.

Forbes magazine estimated the senior Trump’s personal fortune at $2.4 billion in September, ranking him 153rd on its annual list of the richest Americans.

“Our entry has to be in Mumbai and that’s where everything is going on right now in terms of the high-end real estate,” the younger Trump said in 2008. “That’s the place where one is going to achieve the highest prices per square foot. It sets the tone for all of the other future developments.”

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