Monday, 20 December 2010

Shangri-La leisure project kicks off in 2011

Asia’s famous Shangri-La Hotels group has finalized its Colombo leisure project with an investment of $500 million, Finance Ministry sources said. The Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the Sri Lankan government and construction work will begin early next year at the 6-acre army grounds opposite the Galle Face Green in Colombo.

(Source: Sunday Times)

D.R. Wijewardena Mw to be Colombo’s leisure hub

While the Urban Development Authority (UDA) has plans to sell its former head office at D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha Colombo 10, properties along that road are being hunted by prospective investors, following a proposal by the UDA to zone this area for leisure and entertainment projects.

“We’ll be advertising our former UDA head office at D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha which has five acres by next year for development,” Nihal Fernando, Director General UDA told the Business Times.
He added that 2011 will also see many such UDA-owned lands in the market. “Whatever we want to develop will be advertised,” he added. Aitken Spence Hotels PLC is eyeing the state-owned boat builder, Ceynor Foundation complex also in D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha for a 15-floor hotel project, according to company sources.

 (Source: Sunday Times)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Sri Lanka property project resumed by Shing Kwan

The Singapore-based Shing Kwan group has re-activated its big Havelock City residential and commercial property project in Sri Lanka with plans to build 800 more apartments, its chairman S P Tao said.

"This country is going to get better, and better and better," Tao said at the formal launch of the remaining phases of the 350 million US dollar project in the heart of the capital Colombo.

Construction work has begun on the second phase of the project, being done by the Colombo-listed Overseas Realty (Ceylon), in which Shing Kwan has a majority stake, the balance being held by state-owned Bank of Ceylon.


(Source: LBO)

Sri Lanka JKH plans new property venture

Sri Lanka's John Keells Holdings is planning a 6.5 billion rupee condominium project in Colombo's Union Place which will be built by a newly incorporated company in the group, top officials said.
"We are looking at a condominium in Union Place," deputy chairman Ajit Gunewardene said. "It is certainly something we are working on."

The project will be on group property in Union Place where the head office of Singer Sri Lanka are located.


(Source: LBO)

Fresh bids called for CCC property

The Government has called fresh bids to close the deal on the controversial sale of the Colombo Commercial Company (CCC) property facing the Beira Lake, with a decision on the highest bidder to be made by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) which comes under the Defence Ministry.

The Finance Ministry was also involved (along with the UDA) in the evaluation process but not anymore. These bids received from several local and foreign investors are now being evaluated, a high ranking government official said. No decision has been taken so far to sell the property to any of these big conglomerates, he said.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Aitken Spence, JKH, Cargills interested in GOH

John Keells Holdings, Aitken Spence and Cargills Ceylon are among local and foreign firms that have expressed interest following a public advertisement inviting a management partner for the Bank of Ceylon-owned Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH), according to hotel industry sources.

A source close to GOH told the Business Times that Singapore’s Raffles, four Indian hotel chains, Midddle East investors and European ones have also sent their Expressions of Interests (EOIs) to the Bank of Ceylon (BOC).


(Source: Sunday Times)

Softlogic Group to buy Hotel Ceysands

Softlogic Holdings Ltd has been allowed to purchase the disputed Hotel Ceysands at Bentota at a price of Rs.925 million, according to a directive issued by the Supreme Court on Friday.

The 3-member Court bench headed by Justice Shirani Tilakawardane directed the Chartered Accountants committee appointed to devise a repayment plan and to asses and value Golden Key Credit Card Company (GKCC) properties, to accept the offer made by Softlogic, when the GKCC case was taken up for hearing.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Major land scam

Four suspects were arrested by the CID for allegedly attempting to sell a four acre land in Millennium City, Athurugiriya by producing a forged deed of Rs 35.2 million, CID said.

The CID arrested the suspects who are residents of Mirigama and Aluthgama early today in Battaramulla by pretending they were serious land buyers. DIG Kulathilaka said that they were involved in a similar business for nearly three years.

He further advised the public to be on alert about their unoccupied land and properties. 

More >>

(Source: Daily Mirror)

Overseas Realty Rights issue fully subscribed

The rights issue of Overseas Realty (Ceylon) PLC has been fully taken up by the shareholders of the company, raising a total of Rs 4.35 billion, the organisation said this week. Overseas Realty, developer and owner of the World Trade Center Colombo and the developer of the Havelock City project, offered 281 million shares in the proportion of one Ordinary Share each for every two Ordinary Shares held in the capital of the company by way of a Rights Issue.

The company said the funds raised through this rights issue was for the compulsory redemption of the Non Convertible Cumulative Redeemable Preference Shares (NCCRPS) that were issued by the company and subscribed to by Shing Kwan Investment (Singapore) Pte Ltd. Shing Kwan Investment is a member of the Shing Kwan Group, the major shareholder of Overseas Realty.

(Source: Sunday Times)

Shangri -La objects to former Commercial property offer

Shangri -La, the global hotel company, that has been offered the army headquarters property is reconsidering the plan as the offer price is much higher than the Commercial property. Well –informed government sources said the army headquarters property is being offered at US $72 million for six acres (over Rs.7 billion at US $12 million an acre) whereas the CCC property is being sold at US$85 million for 11 acres (over Rs.8 billion at US$7.7 million an acre).

“The CCC land located in close proximity to Beira Lake, Hunupitiya Gangarama Temple, leading hotels including Jaic Hilton in Colombo and prime surrounding area is much, more, suitable for a hotel project, than the highly congested army head quarters property near the Galle Face residential area,” the source said explaining the Shangrila objection, which came after the Business story last week headlined “Controversy over proposed CCC property deal”.

Source: Sunday Times

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Controversy over proposed CCC property deal

The massive Colombo Commercial Company (CCC) property development project located at a prime area in Colombo facing Beira Lake at Sir James Peiris Mawatha has run into a major controversy due to a decision to sell it to a blue chip conglomerate at a price of Rs. 8 billion without calling for public tenders.
A government decision to wrap up the deal is mainly influenced by a powerful government official but on the other hand is being vehemently opposed by other relevant authorities, informed sources said.
The property is owned by the Urban Development Authority (UDA).
They said the CCC property has been earmarked to build city hotels, trade complexes and malls. The blue chip, in the running to own this property, has extensive commercial land in Colombo including prime area in the city, and outside.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Tata in housing sector in Sri Lanka

Tata Housing, a unit of Tata Sons, is moving into international markets with the launch of projects in Sri Lanka and Maldives in the current quarter, a top executive of the company was quoted as saying in Indian news reports.
The real estate company, known for low-cost housing projects, plans to do a mix of luxury and affordable housing projects in these markets, he said.

More >>

Source: Sunday Times

Most Sri Lankan families can’t buy even a basic house : WB

While housing developers are doing good business and Sri Lanka’s rich are buying and selling luxury condominiums for profit, most families can’t raise the money for even a basic house, according to the World Bank.
“Newspapers are full of real estate classified ads for both rental and purchase properties. At the same time, more than 80% of the households in Sri Lanka have no access to home financing, and about 7% are lacking homes. One third live in semi-permanent housing and 6% live in line room estates and shanties,” it says in a report on housing finance.

“Information on land prices for 2003 and 2006 obtained from finance companies showed that average land prices in 18 selected areas have increased by about 28%, with a growth range of 12% –71% annually,” says the report.

More >>

Source: Sunday Times

Overseas Realty to moot tax drop

The Overseas Realty (Ceylon) PLC is making representations to the Ministry of Finance for a process of what it calls ‘fairplay’ in applying Value Added Tax (VAT) to property development projects, officials said.
"This tax is applicable at 12% to 'large' projects that are worth more than US $10 million.

But we say that large projects (by their developers) can be targeted at lower middle income segments as well - it's just that the projects are larger. We're presenting a paper on this to the Finance Ministry before the budget with another property sector developer," W.D. Barnabas, CEO ORL told the Business Times on the sidelines of a media conference to launch the company’s rights issue.

More >>

Source: Sunday Times

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Six Senses Ahungalla to open in 2012

Sri Lankan diversified conglomerate Aitken Spence recently announced that its hotels’ arm had signed a "50:50 joint venture" agreement with international luxury brand Six Senses Resorts & Spas, and local representatives, the Favourite Group, to set up Six Senses Ahungalla which has an estimated opening date of 2012.

Located close to Aitken Spence's existing Heritance Ahungalla property, this US$ 40 million hotel and spa project will encompass 10.5 acres of beachfront land and a 27-acre nearby island. Described as architecturally inspired by the late Geoffrey Bawa and comprising 20 one bedroom villa suites, 14 two bedroom beach front residential villas and 15 island villas, this resort expects to charge as much as US$ 450 per room.


Source: Sunday Times

Sri Lankan real estate holds up in tense times

'Resilient" is the word that almost everyone is using to describe Sri Lanka's housing market - and its economy in general.
Despite a long-running armed conflict and the 2004 tsunami, "Sri Lanka is one of the best countries around in which to have real estate," said Lalitha Saleem, senior manager of Ceylinco Housing & Real Estate, which is developing one of the Sri Lankan capital's largest new developments. "The market can go up very fast, showing high returns."

(Source: NY Times)

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Nivasie houses for Sri Lankan housemaids to suit their purse

A new housing scheme catering to Sri Lankan housemaids who work abroad is being introduced by Nivasie Developers (Pvt.) Ltd. a fully owned subsidiary of International Construction Consortium Ltd. (ICC).
Herman S. Gonsal, Managing Director /CEO of the company said most of these housemaids work hard to look after their families and one of their dreams is to own a house of their own here in Sri Lanka. The main problem they faced is that their savings from working overseas are not sufficient to build a house.
Nivasie Developers will step in to complete even a section of the house for them to suit their financial situation, he said. He noted that they can complete the house part by part after they have settled in a small section with one room and a kitchen. Nivasie will undertake the responsibility of completing the house, he added.

(Source: Sunday Times)

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Major Ceylinco assets worth over Rs.42 billion to be sold to repay depositors

Major assets of failed Ceylinco companies including the Ceylinco Celestial residencies tower, Kollupitiya ,Trillium Residencies, Celestial Towers .the Pioneer Tower in Fort, and the Ceylinco E.N.T. hospital Narahenpita all valued over Rs. 42.6 billion are to be sold  soon to expedite the repayment of disgruntled depositors on a supreme Court order. A   US Real Estate company, subsidiary of failed Ceylinco Shriram group will also be liquidated and returned  all Ceylinco funds to Sri Lanka . A civil case has been filed at the Columbia Civil Court to liquidate the Ceylinco Real Estate holdings LLC USA which is a subsidiary of  Ceylinco Shriram group, A senior official of the Attorney General’s Department said.

(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Land acquisition: Lankan families wait for more than 25 yrs for compensation

Some Sri Lankan families whose land have been acquired for road development have been waiting for more than 25 years for compensation while payments owed to 42,000 affected families is estimated at Rs 8.6 billion, a top government official said on Tuesday.
Highways and Road Development Ministry Secretary Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, speaking at the launch of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) guide for "Designing and Implementing Redress Mechanisms for Implementors of Transport Projects" in Colombo, said that he had recently brought this to the attention of the Sri Lankan President. He also requested the ADB to consider helping the government rectify this issue so that Sri Lanka could continue its road development plans unencumbered by past debts or "start from zero".

(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Police team probes illegal State land acquisitions

IGP promises tough action against offenders
The police team appointed by Inspector General of Police Mahinda Balasuriya to probe fraudulent land deals has commenced investigations on a few cases of alleged illegal acquisition of State and private land.
Highly placed police sources have confirmed to the Sunday Times that priority has been given to the illegal acquisition of and encroachment on State land. However the police have so far received only a few complaints of private land related frauds.
The sleuths from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Police Crimes Division which comes under the Deputy Inspector General of Crime have begun to peruse documents which they have received relating to State land acquisitions.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

BOI gearing to unblock state land for investment

The Board of Investment (BOI), under its new chairman Jayampathi Bandaranayake, plans to cut the red-tape investors face when trying to procure state land for their investments.

He said that now many ministries are clubbed together in a meaningful manner and that BOI together with relevant agencies is looking at how to harmonise their functions. “We are focussed on the same vision and we will operationalise it, because the issues with land will retard what is essentially possible,” he added. “The biggest issue (that investors face when trying to invest) is trying to secure land. We’re trying to see how to unblock state land,” he told the Business Times on the sidelines of his first press conference on Wednesday.


Source: Sunday Times

Sri Lanka Overseas Realty starts expansion drive

Sri Lanka's Overseas Realty Ceylon, a unit of Singapore's Shing Kwan group, is pushing ahead with Colombo's largest property project amid renewed buying interest in apartments after the end of a 30-year war. Overseas Realty owns Colombo's World Trade Centre building which houses the Colombo Stock Exchange and is jointly developing Havelock City, an 18-acre block of land with state-run Bank of Ceylon.

Source: LBO

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

May Day 2012 rally will overlook 500 acres of new land beyond Galle Face Green, says President

President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he will be redrawing the map of Sri Lanka with the massive development projects the government plans to launch in the coming years. These include reclaiming 500 acres of land from the sea off the Colombo coast, along the Galle Face Green.
“Two years from now the May Day celebrations will be held at the Galle Face Green, overlooking the reclaimed land,” the President told a United People’s Front Alliance rally at the Colombo Town Hall last evening.

Source: Sunday Times

Friday, 16 April 2010

Sri Lanka moves to free prime property in capital

 Prime property in Sri Lanka's capital Colombo could be made available to private developers when the government goes ahead with a planned shift of state institutions, including defence, to the suburbs, officials said.

"We're waiting for the green light," said an official of the Urban Development Authority, which is in charge of urban planning.
The government has decided all administrative functions must go to Sri Jayawardenepura, a new city west of Colombo, he said.
"We will not keep a single government entity in Colombo."
The new city was planned as the administrative capital, leaving Colombo, where most companies have their offices, as the commercial capital.

More >>

Source: LBO

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Boom times for Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's hotel owners are racing to refurbish and add thousands more rooms as foreign holidaymakers pour into the country after the end of nearly four decades of ethnic bloodshed.

Leading hotel groups plan to spend millions of dollars on new decor and facilities for the influx of tourists drawn to the plentiful sunshine, beaches and tropical wildlife on the Indian Ocean island nation.

The ambitious expansion comes amid a post-war revival that has pushed up hotel room rates and given the hospitality industry something to cheer for the first time in years.

Read More>>


Monday, 29 March 2010

Lumiére Residencies receives CMA certification

Lumiére Residencies receives CMA certification

Lumiére Residencies, a Sri Lanka Board of Investment approved project developed by DGS Holdings (Pvt) Ltd and designed by associate company Design Group Five International (Pvt) Ltd, was recently awarded the Certificate of Conformity from the Colombo Municipal Council and the Condominium Management Authority (CMA) Certification.
The Certificate of Conformity (CoC) is a statement of quality that declares that the building meets all stringent statutory requirements as per approved plans for architecture, structure, electrical systems, water supply & drainage system, and solid waste disposal and fire fighting systems.


Source: Sunday Times

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Top Real Estate Broker Admits Dodging Taxes

The Sunday Leader has uncovered shocking new evidence of how expatriate-owned real estate brokers help foreigners buy valuable property on the island without paying the mandatory 100 percent transfer tax that was enacted in 2005. Over the past decade, foreigners have bought up massive swaths of Sri Lankan beachfront property, displacing local inhabitants and inflating real estate prices to unprecedented levels.
Most foreigners buy the property as an investment, hoping to re-sell it later for a hefty profit. The most valuable and hotly-traded property is located around Galle, from Bentota to Matara, but numerous expat-owned real estate brokers also offer beachfront property around Trincomalee, Arugam Bay, Tangalle and Puttalam. With numerous real estate companies taking advantage of a tax loophole to quickly sell off land to outside investors, the government appears content to let foreigners buy up the island from under its very nose.
Source: Sunday Leader