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Warburg-Runwal JV appoints Vrushank Mehta as new CIO

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The joint entity, R Retail Ventures, has put in a 20-member team including professionals from the finance, planning and design teams, and is looking to ramp it up further. 

The New York-based private equity major Warburg Pincus LLC is sharpening its focus on India growth and the firm’s $1-billion retail investment joint platform with Runwal Group has appointed a new Chief Investment Officer to help drive expansion. 

The joint entity, R Retail Ventures, has put in a 20-member team including professionals from the finance, planning and design teams, and is looking to ramp it up further. 

The Warburg-Runwal entity has roped in Vrushank Mehta to initiate and oversee its investments to be made from this platform. Mehta, as part of his previous assignments, was associated with the Wadhwa Group, IL&FS Private Equity and DE Shaw & Co in various roles. 

In the largest real estate investment platform transaction concluded last year, Warburg Pincus entered into an alliance with Runwal Group to invest $1 billion in retail-led mixed-use development across the country. 

The joint investment platform will see both the entities infusing around $250 million each as their equity contribution, while the rest would be through leveraging. This will be just the initial contribution as both entities are open to investing more and expanding the size of the investment platform. 

Under this venture, Warburg and Runwal are looking to build a portfolio of 15-20 retail-led properties in tier-I and II Indian cities over the next five years. Apart from building own properties, the platform would also be looking at acquiring operational and partially-completed projects. 

A new team has been formed to manage the efforts of this proposed platform that will build, own and operate retail-driven properties. 

The platform will acquire a stake in Runwal’s few operational properties and projects that are part of the development pipeline. The developer’s half-a-million-sq-ft R Mall in Thane will be the ready and operational property to be moved into the proposed joint portfolio. Runwal’s proposed mixed-use development on 8-10 acres in Dombivli near Mumbai will also become a part of this platform. 

Nearly 1 million sq ft retail project as part of the over 20 acre development in Pune and proposed development on a 3-acre land parcel in Mumbai’s western suburb Andheri has already been put under the platform. The company is developing a more than 1 million sq ft project, including around 7 lakh sq ft office space and 3.5 lakh sq ft retail space, on this 3-acre Andheri land parcel. 

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