Indian Hotels Co, which owns the Taj Group of hotels, has acquired Sea Rock Hotel, one of suburban Mumbai's oldest five-star properties, for Rs 680 crore ($143 million).
The Tata-owned Taj Group announced late Friday that it has acquired 85 percent stake in ELEL Hotels and Investments, which owns the property on which Sea Rock Hotel is built in southern Bandra.
With this, the Taj Group boasts of four prime hospitality properties in Mumbai, all facing the Arabian Sea and two with a history of terror attacks - the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel was attacked Nov 27 last year, while the Sea Rock Hotel was scarred by serial bomb blasts March 12, 1993.
R.K. Krishna Kumar, vice-chairman of Indian Hotels, said the company would demolish the existing 480-room Sea Rock Hotel and build an integrated complex that will include a hotel, a large convention centre and a retail outlet at an investment of Rs.500 crore.
"We are delighted to announce our plans to construct a world-class convention and hospitality centre here that Mumbai so richly deserves," Kumar said about the proposed complex.
The acquisition also catapults Taj Group's room capacity to 1,425 in its four properties in the city.
Sea Rock Sheraton Hotel was started by the Luthria brothers in 1970s, and had a tie-up with ITC Hotels, but fell into neglect after the 1993 bombings.
It was bought over by the Nandas of the Claridges Hotel chain for Rs.330 crore in 2005. ELEL is a subsidiary of Claridges Hotel.
With the acquisition, the Taj group expects to increase its footprint in north Mumbai as the city will soon see the opening of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, which will link Bandra with the downtown area through a bridge over the Arabian Sea.
After the sea link opens, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport will be barely 10 minutes' driving distance from the Sea Rock Hotel, and the travel time to south Mumbai will be reduced by almost half.