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BANGALORE, INDIA-In a proposal touted as the largest private mixed-use venture ever undertaken in southeastern India, the real estate arm of Elbit Medical Imaging has formed a partnership to develop a $4-billion complex of lodging, office, residential and retail space on a 200-acre parcel in this teeming metropolis of 6.5 million people. The total footprint to be constructed will exceed 21 million sf upon completion around 2013.

EMI and an established Indian developer have signed a deal for a 50/50 investment in the unnamed project, which will target multi-national companies and IT-related firms to lease the office portion. The partnership hopes to begin construction within 12 months upon receiving the necessary permits and finalizing $150-million payment for the land, of which EMI has already committed $50 million.

“We are extremely pleased to announce the signing of the binding and definitive agreements for this huge project, which is impressive even by Indian standards,” EMI chairman Mordechay Zisser says in a release. The project, he adds, “signals the expansion of the focus on our Indian activities beyond shopping malls and hotels to include up-market residential construction and ancillary amenities, as well as commercial units and office complexes and hotels.”

Given that there will also be a substantial retail component, a 50% share of EMI’s participation is being offered to Plaza Centers NV, another joint venture controlled by the Israel-based company. The retail will service vast neighborhoods featuring luxury housing units and recreational offerings such as running trails, swimming pools and tennis courts. EMI and its partner say the concept will become more clearly defined through meetings with public officials and the process of obtaining permits. If the goal of breaking ground by late 2008 can be accomplished, the project will be finished in stages during the next three to five years, says EMI, which is already versed in a range of real estate product types in its home country and beyond.

Plaza Centers NV has substantial experience of its own in the retail sector. The firm has been responsible for creating so-called “Mega-Projects” throughout Central and Eastern Europe this decade, and has been subsequently divesting many of those assets, which are typically large-scale malls with entertainment components. One such deal noted by GlobeSt.Retail in its August 8th edition fetched $550 million when Plaza Centers traded the 700,000-sf Arena Plaza in Budapest. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, Plaza Centers would have the financial wherewithal and market knowledge to benefit the Bangalore project, according to EMI officials.

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