By Uditha Jayasinghe
The Government has leased the iconic Transworks House land to India’s Krrish Group for 99 years at $ 49 million, whilst the $ 450 million mega project is slated to be completed by 2014.
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.
Krrish Group is expected to construct a 30-storey seven-star hotel as well as luxury apartments and a mall on the four acre property in Fort, at Colombo’s center. 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 Urban Development Authority (UDA).
Economic Development deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said that the ambitious project would be completed in two years to help meet the significant demand created by the post-war tourism boom. It will employ 1,900 people once opened.
“We are confident that we will beat the targeted one million tourists this year and move towards more foreign investments,” he added.
Currently the land is used by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB), Central Bank and People’s Bank.
During the first eight months of 2012, arrivals rose 15.8% to 622,661 with August numbers increasing 9.7% from a year earlier.
Since the end of a three-decade war in 2009, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has boomed with international brands including Shangri-la, Sheraton, Hyatt and Sun City investing around US$ 2 billion in hotel projects.