Phase II of Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct completed

Tuesday, 25 June 2013 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Cheranka Mendis The second phase of the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct, the Shopping Arcade, built with an investment of Rs. 80 million, was launched on Thursday (20) by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa in the presence of Defence and Urban Development Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and a host of other dignitaries. The newly refurbished building which is located right behind the Dutch Hospital Shopping Precinct launched in December 2011, bordering Chatham Street, consists of six commercial spaces housed in a two-storied building. Designed in a similar style as the first phase of the project, the building features shops by Dilly & Carlo, Ceylon Tea Services, J.K. Tradelink, Aviraté, Benjarong and La Fiesta. Dilly & Carlo and Aviraté held mini fashion shows at the launch. An effort of the Urban Development Authority (UDA) and Ministry of Defence, the project is part of an extensive plan to change the face of Colombo in the post-war development of the country. Now bound to be a key tourist attraction, the building was considered beyond repair prior to being taken under the wing of the UDA, who with the assistance of Sri Lanka Navy, carried out the renovation, restoring the building back to its former glory. Preserving its Dutch colonial features and the original structure, the building housing the Shopping Arcade has been renovated for modern, commercial use and will add to the growing appeal of the Shopping Precinct which consists of 12 commercial spaces, including restaurants, jewellers and textile shops. As per the records, the hospital was built during the rule of the Dutch from 1656 to 1796. A Dutch map drawn in 1732 shows the hospital at its present site. However, the hospital had existed since 1681 according to a description by Christopher Schweitzer, a German national who was in Sri Lanka serving the Dutch from 1676 to 1682. During the colonial era, the Dutch Hospital was established to cater to medical requirements of the staff of the Dutch East India Company. It was located close to the harbour as it was convenient to transport patients from ships. With the newest addition, the Dutch Hospital becomes a unique modern centre, centrally located and surrounded by the city’s best hotels, while retaining its old-world charm. Pix by Upul Abayasekera