Business Times

Liberty Plaza under major refurbishment, new apartment complex underway

Sri Lanka’s first high-class shopping mall, the Liberty Plaza at Kollupitiya, is undergoing a major re-development coupled with a new apartment complex coming up on adjoining land. Owners, the Colombo Land and Development Co (CLDC), under new ownership and expanding to the growing of teak and mahogany trees from its core real estate business, is also developing vast tracts of its property in Pettah.

Artist’s view of new Plaza

CLDC Chairman Nalaka Godahewa, who until recently headed all the state agencies involved in tourism, said the year ending December 31, 2011 saw a major change in the management with the company making a profit of Rs. 304 million. The report has been released more than six months after the end of the company’s financial year.

The new board of directors includes influential business personality Dilith Jayaweera, joint owner of the Triad Advertising group and chairman of the landmark George Steuarts Group and former Navy commander and current Sri Lankan Ambassador to Japan, Admiral (Rtd.) Wasantha Karannagoda.
Dr Godahewa said the large-scale revamp of Liberty Plaza is aimed at harnessing the benefits of its strategic location in Colombo. A food court is being developed on the second floor of the Plaza which is due to commence in early September.

The space adjoining the food court, previously used as a commercial area, would be converted into retail space. Once upgraded, the company believed the mall will attract international and local brand names. “Therefore, in order to cater to the requirements of such high-end brands, efforts are being made to buy back units which can be consolidated to create larger retail areas. As a result of this buy back, our rental income for the year has deteriorated while costs have recorded an escalation,” Dr Godahewa said.
New entrances and public plazas, with cafes, glass canopies, greenery and seating would completely revitalize the surroundings. The entire retail experience is being uplifted with new public spaces, upgraded interiors, fresh bathrooms, and unique ceiling and lighting designs.

Under the Pettah commercial development plan, the company proposes a complete urban renewal to an area of Colombo that would have a dramatic impact “not only on the site itself, but also on the surrounding urban landscape”.

Under Phase 1 of the proposal, 49 commercial sites would be built facing the city streets. Each lot would have a front face that would interact with the city and a back lane for additional parking and servicing.
Some of the buildings would have void decks to allow for view corridors, pedestrian circulation, and an opportunity for a city verandah for cafes, public seating and covered outdoor activities.

The proposed Liberty Towers and Retail Mall would see a new mall with a twin tower service apartment development. The retail podium will link directly with the adjoining Liberty Plaza Expansion project, forming an integrated retail experience between the two malls, while the service apartment towers would sit on top of the podium.

At the two towers, the serviced apartments would comprise 240 apartments on 21 apartment floors.
Some 50% of the unit mix consists of two-bedroom apartments, with the rest being one-bedroom, three-bedroom and penthouse units.

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