Mumbai Parsi bungalow up for sale, may fetch crores

A dilapidated, early 20th century bungalow property belonging to a Parsi trust in the prime sea-facing Bandra Bandstand area is on sale and could fetch a couple of hundred crores given its location. The property is situated close to Taj Lands End hotel.

The one-acre plot is controlled by the Bandra Parsi Convalescent Home Trust, which ran a convalescence home here for poor women and children from the community for over a century. It shut down around 15 years ago due to poor occupancy.

Trustees who briefed this correspondent about the sale on Tuesday evening, said they want to monetize this “dead asset” and use the proceeds to expand the trust’s charity work for the Parsi Irani community.

“We currently provide medical help, funds for education and amelioration of poverty. With the sale of this property, we hope to expand the scope of our trust and help Parsi institutions and NGOs,” they told TOI.

Global property consultant CBRE has received the mandate to market and sell the plot. Bids will be opened on August 22. When asked how much the plot would fetch, one of the trustees said, “We do not want to put a figure or speculate in any way.”

One of the reasons for disposing the property, they added, was the “unaffordable high ground rent” charged by the collector. “It increased from Rs 4,600 a year to Rs 16 lakh,” they said.

The property has a long history going back to the beginning of the 20th century when social worker Shirinbai Mancherji Cama, started the Bandra Parsi Convalescent Home in 1903.

Parsi historian Marzban Giara said, “She was born on August 4, 1857. After being widowed at a very young age, she dedicated the rest of her life to public service and community service true to her motto: ‘To serve one’s people is to serve God’.”

“She toiled night and day for it and considered all in the home as her children. She devoted her attention like a mother for their care, happiness and medical treatment. Sir Dorab Tata donated Rs 50,000, from which she bought Jalbhai Sett’s bungalow at Bandra,” said Giara.

Bai Avabai Faramji Petit, too, donated Rs 1,500 to purchase furniture for the home.

“The chief aim of this home was to restore the health of poor and weak women desirous of maintaining their family rather than depending on others, but due to poor physique are unable to do so. The objective is to empower them so that they can lead an industrious and useful life,” said Giara.
In 1932, Shirinbai started another Convalescent Home for Poor Parsi Men and Boys at Bandstand in a bungalow called Sea Breeze. This home is functional till date.

Meanwhile, as news of the sale spread within the community, murmurs started about the need to dispose of its assets. Community activist Rayomand Zaiwalla alleged, “The builders and their usual property fixers must have worked really hard behind the scene to target this vast property. Where can you get an acre of land in Mumbai and that too in a place like Bandra Lands End? One by one, they are targeting every Parsi trust property.”

The trustees, though, said the entire sale process is being done in a transparent manner. “We have put all the cards on the table,” they said, adding that the charity commissioner’s permission will be sought to sell the property too.

Published on Times of India