Indian company gets huge project in Fort
One of the City’s major landmarks is to be given to an Indian company for development on a 99-year lease for more than Rs 4.9 billion.
The land encompasses the Transworks House, a colonial building that once housed the former Public Works Department (PWD). The building is documented as a place of archaeological value.
A recommendation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa for this deal has been endorsed by the cabinet. It will see the local subsidiary of Krrish Group with its registered offices in New Delhi undertaking a “mixed development project” with the construction of a high rise “Transworks Tower.”
Both the Urban Development Authority and the Central Bank that now hold most of the land and the buildings will make them available for the project. With no Treasury funding, President Rajapaksa has described the project in a memorandum to his ministers as a “public-private” partnership venture. A Committee comprising representatives of the Central Bank, the UDA and the Ministry of Finance and Planning will formulate the terms and conditions related to the public and private sector roles.
The Transworks House property borders Chatham Street, Lotus Road, D.R.Wijewardene Mawatha and York Street. A major portion of the property, which was state land, is now vested in the UDA.
A part of the state land on which the former PWD is located is also now being vested in the UDA. A smaller extent is vested in the Ceylon Electricity Board. Except for the plots occupied by the Transworks House (former PWD) and the CEB sub station, the balance portion of the land had been divided into three lots and leased out to the Central Bank and the People’s Bank.
The CB paid Rs. 100.485 million as part of lease premium to the UDA whilst the People’s Bank paid Rs. 14.2 million. President Rajapaksa has pointed out that both banks had “not developed the land” which had remained in vacant possession.
In the proposed new deal, the UDA will become the “land lessor” with all “rights for development, construction, marketing and sale of the project to be developed and constructed……”
President Rajapaksa has added, “According to the project proposal the project will exceed US $ 460 million, considering the fact that this project is formulated as Strategic Development with national importance…..”
When completed, the Indian company, President Rajapaksa has said, will “offer the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in perpetuity, 400 car parking spaces, 10 bus parking spaces and commercial space of 3,000 square metres in consideration of the capitalised price of the leasehold value of the land and in respect of CBSL’s initiation of the project, and investment in its initial stages.”
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