Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka all smiles with Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan
Reclamation completed; Stage set for seeking investors, ongoing talks for $1b investment, overall target $15b
Govt. may consider incentives for port city investment
RDA conducting feasibility study for roads to link port city to Colombo and Marine Drive
By Ruwandi Gamage
The reclamation of the 269 hectares of the Port City was officially completed yesterday, setting the stage for the next phase of seeking investment with officials, saying they would redouble efforts to restart talks stalled during the recent political turmoil to achieve the target of $15 billion infresh ventures.
CHEC Port City Colombo Managing Director Jiang Houliang Pix by Lasantha Kumara
Megapolis and Western Development MinisterPatali Champika Ranawaka, speaking at the ceremony to mark the end of the reclamation, spoke of the master plan set in place for the second step of the project, and said that a clear mechanism is provided for the implementation, directing both public and private sector development with a set of development objectives, definitions, and regulations.
He further said that these regulations, which consist of four volumes covering urban design, utilities, landscape, and sustainability, are to enforce the vision and objectives of the master plan in a transparent manner.
“This project hopes to establish seamless connectivity to the Port City, by introducing a new road and tunnel connecting directly to the Marine Drive in Kollupitiya, and a railway system to run through the Port City, connecting directly to the commercial city surrounding Beira Lake. The Road Development Authority has done a feasibility study and work will start according to its results,” the Minster explained.
The Minister stated that there will be a city park, an international school, an international hospital, and an international conference hall constructed in Port City, along with all other facilities.
Ranawaka also mentioned a feasibility study done for a secondland reclamation venture along the sea between Dehiwala and Kollupitiya,but such a project would only be started at some point in the next decade.
Colombo Port City Project Director Nihal Fernando told Daily FT that several parties have showed interest to invest in the Port City, but talks ran into a roadblock during the constitutional crisis.
“These interested parties have not withdrawn their proposals, so very soon they will restart the negotiations. Currently, there are negotiations going on with a foreign company to invest another $1 billion on three buildings in the Port City. The Government might even announce special concessions for investments, to make them more attractive,” Fernando stated.
The Project Director detailed that the land costing will be established on open market policies, and that the land values might depend on the type of construction demarcated,be it a high-rise building or a two story building. He further stated that special legislationis being drafted by the Government, which is required for the International Financial City.
“Out of the 269 hectares of land that is reclaimed, 62 hectares of land will be leased out by the Government of Sri Lanka, proceeds of which will come to the Government and 91 hectares of common land, such as beaches and green spaces which will not be commercial spaces,will also managed by the Government,”Fernando said.
Speaking to the audience, Chinese Ambassador Cheng Xueyuan, who was present at the ceremony, said that the Port City project symbolises the friendship of China and Sri Lanka.
“China has invested nearly $7 million to promote the relevant industries in Sri Lanka. This project has provided more than 4000 jobs to the locals, benefitting thousands of Sri Lankan families. We are now engaged in surface development and building utilities,” he stated.
Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Secretary Nihal Rupasinghe, Megapolis and Western Development Ministry Senior Advisor Vidya Amarapala, and CHEC Port City Colombo Ltd. Managing Director Jiang Houliang,were also present at the ceremony.