The government is set to take immediate action on the ongoing unfinished mega mixed development projects and the abandoned unfinished buildings in Colombo municipal area including Hyatt and Krrish projects marred with irregularities and financial misappropriations.
Minister of Urban Development and Housing Prasanna Ranatunga instructed his Ministry Secretary to consult the relevant parties and take a decision regarding these buildings at the Ministerial Consultative Committee meting on Urban Development and Housing recently.
The State Minister Arundika Fernando pointed out that in Colombo area with high commercial value, abandoned and unfinished buildings such as ‘Krrish’ and ‘Hyatt’ are causing a lot of damage to the country’s image.
Therefore, it was emphasized in the committee that immediate action should be taken in this regard.
Despite Colombo being overcrowded with hardly any room for new construction, the city has many buildings which lie disused, neglected and dilapidated which dot the city landscape, many in the heart of the city itself.
Some of these buildings, date back to over a century, as for example the old Colombo Kachcheri building. Destroyed by fire in 2012 the burn’t out building, now an eye-sore, still stands serving no purpose.
In Pettah, buildings once constructed to house market stalls are now used to park vehicles, or are used by street people.
The same fate has befallen the much hyped ‘Floating Market,’ which now stands empty.Dozens of other abandoned marketplaces and warehouses are found within the city limits.
Given that construction sites within the city are in short supply; shouldn’t the authorities be taking steps to renovate these buildings for public benefit?
Delhi-based developer Krrish group had entered into a lease agreement of the 4-acre Transwork House land from the Urban Development Authority for 99 years at Rs. 5 billion for the One mixed development project.
The unfinished,One is a tri-tower US$650 million mixed-use Krrish development project in Colombo, Sri Lanka, estimated to be the 10th largest of its kind in the world. It comprises the Ritz-Carlton Residences, The JW Marriott hotel and The One Residences.
Carlton Residences with 33 floors and one of the three buildings will be serviced and managed by Marriott International, the owning company of The Ritz-Carlton hotels.
The 77-floor JW Marriott hotel building, or the tower will house the country’s first JW Marriott hotel.
Projected to be the tallest building in South Asia the One Residences tower will comprise 92 floors (reaching 376m in height), and offer residential, business and leisure facilities.
All these buildings are still to be completed and this mixed development project tainted by scandalous financial deals has run into further problems and is unlikely to take off in the near future, official sources said.
The other abandoned project in Colombo, the Grand Hyatt is managed by Canwill Holdings (Private) Limited, a joint venture company established to develop the project.
It has received fresh capital infusion to the tune of Rs.2.0 billion from Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation (SLIC), its largest shareholder.
Canwill Holdings is a State-owned joint venture company a subsidiary of Sinolanka Hotels & Spas (Private) Limited. set up to undertake the Hyatt hotel project in Colombo ,
When the property development company was set up, SLIC held 46 percent stake, while the balance was held equally between Litro Gas Lanka Limited and the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF).
The 47-storey Grand Hyatt Colombo comprising 475 rooms and 84 service apartments along Galle Road in Colombo 03 was initially due to be completed in two years from July 2012, and the massive delays and other alleged irregularities doubled the cost from Rs.30 billion to Rs.60 billion.