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Situated near Flora Fountain it was completed in 1924 and has been the Tata Group's headquarters ever since. The building is a four storey colonial structure built with Malad stone, and was designed by architect George Wittet, who later became the head of Tata Engineering Company Limited, now Tata Motors.
A plot of ground measuring 2,365 sq yd (1,977 m2) was put up by the Bombay Municipality for sale in Bombay and then purchased by the Tata Group. It was observed that the various Tata concerns could not be accommodated in Navsari buildings and Navsari Chambers which they had been occupying since 1904. The Tata Group is perhaps the only Indian corporate to name its headquarters after a city where it started its journey. Bombay House, the global corporate HQ of the $106.34 -billion group. At that time, the group ran four businesses-textiles, hotels, steel and power-under the leadership of Sir Dorabji Tata, the elder son of group founder Jamsetji Tata. It was from this Edwardian building that Dorabji Tata diversified the portfolio into insurance, soaps, detergents and cooking oil. And it is in this building where the first Indian airline was conceptualised (1932) and where the largest global acquisition (Corus, for $13 billion in 2007) by an Indian group was made.
Since its beginnings in the pre-Independence era, the group has come a long way. It now has over 100 operating companies in seven business sectors and sells everything from salt to software and tea to telecom. It has businesses in more than 100 countries across six continents, and its companies export products and services to 150 countries. Yet, all key management decisions continue to be made at Bombay House, the bridge of the ship. The heritage building houses the office of chairman Cyrus Mistry and all top directors of Tata Sons, the holding company. Core companies of the group-Tata Motors,Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Tata Power, Tata Industries and Trent-operate out of Bombay House. The Scottish architect of Bombay House, George Wittet, designed over 40 buildings for the group and, at one time, headed Tata Engineering and Locomotive Company (now Tata Motors).
The four-storey Bombay House is owned by The Associated Building Company, part of the Tata Group. The task of this company is largely to manage the building. It earns a rent from the companies that have offices within the premises, which houses about 400 people. The interiors of Bombay House have remained almost unchanged for many decades. After Ratan Tata occupied the corner office in 1991, he retained the set-up of the office left by his predecessor, JRD Tata, for several years. Later, the furniture, including his table, armchair and office stationery, was shifted to Pune, where a replica of JRD's office has been set up on the first floor of Tata Central Archives building. Additions at Bombay House include a visitor's lobby at the entrance on the ground floor. On 9 February 2011, a major fire broke out in the Bombay House, causing three deaths and one injury. Tragedy at Bombay House would have been bigger were it not for the quick thinking of Shivaji Desai, a Tata staffer. The basement, where the fire took place, had housed the office of Tata Sports Club, which has now shifted out of the building.