Taj Group has retained the lease right of the iconic heritage property housing Taj Malabar Resorts and Spa at Willingdon Island, for another 30 years.

The Cochin Port Authority, which owns the property, is to finalise the tender shortly, leasing the property to Taj Group. It is reported that the Group has quoted ₹1.25 crore per year as the lease amount.

The Taj Group had been operating the hotel for an annual lease amount of ₹75 lakh a year since 1984. After the expiry of the lease period, the Taj Group was operating the property on an extended lease agreement. The pre-bid meeting was held on April 19. However, the deadline for submitting the bid was extended following an encouraging response from bidders. The Taj Group had the right of first refusal in the bidding process, which helped it to retain the property.

Ever since the group got the land and building on lease in 1984, Taj Malabar situated on one end of Willingdon Island has hosted several State heads and royalty who have visited Kochi.

The port had invited tenders early this year to lease out the property, which offered a splendid view of the Cochin harbour and the backwaters. There were other corporate firms / luxury hotel groups were in the fray to get the property on lease.

The Cochin Port has plans to lease or rent out a few more such buildings and vacant lands situated on the island to hospitality groups and commercial entities. The development comes in the wake of India’s setting up a cruise terminal and convention centres, to explore the tourism potential in the region.

The shifting of container handling facilities to nearby Vallarpadam Island upon the commissioning of the International Container Transhipment Terminal in 2012 has offered space availability and the port management has several plans to capitalise on it.

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