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US-based Blackstone Group acquires 50 pc stake in Pune's Westend Mall

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In a landmark deal, international property consultancy JLL India has facilitated the sale of 50 per cent stake in Westend Mall in Aundh, Pune to US-based private equity player Blackstone Group.
Post-acquisition of retail malls in Ahmedabad, Amritsar and Navi Mumbai last year, this is the fourth acquisition by the PE giant. Globally, Blackstone is the largest real estate private equity firm in the world today with $102 billion of assets under management.
Managing Director – Pune, JLL India, Sanjay Bajaj, said, “Westend is the largest integrated mixed-use development in the micro-market of Aundh and Baner, which houses some of the top IT companies and an abundant residential catchment in the vicinity. The Westend Mall, a part of the development, is the largest operational retail mall in west Pune, with marquee brands such as H&M, Shoppers Stop, Cinepolis with IMAX, Max, Starbucks, etc. In addition to the mall, the development also houses top-notch IT companies like Convergys, Sungard, OneNetwork, etc.”
As a location, Aundh has long since established itself a priority port of call for IT firms, and has developed a consummate social infrastructure ethos around it. IT-centric office spaces in this location are in great demand not only because of the presence of high-end shopping outlets and restaurants but its excellent connectivity to central Pune as well as Mumbai via the Expressway.
Because of the dense saturation of IT companies in the vicinity which includes Hinjewadi, there are approximately 0.5 million people working in this micro-market, thereby, making it a strong case for entertainment and retail.
Against the backdrop of several question marks being raised on the impact of various potential disruptive changes in the real estate sector, this deal underscores the fact that institutional investors are still wired into relevant big-ticket opportunities.
This major development into West Pune is also significant because this region has so far been seriously under-served in terms of quality retail developments. By harnessing the demand for Grade A real estate developments in the city, Blackstone has once again evidenced that it has a firm finger on the pulse of the Indian growth story.

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