Friday, 12 December 2014

Google begins capturing Sri Lankan streets

Global technology leader Google Inc. yesterday said it would begin imaging Sri Lanka for its ‘Street View’ service to create new views of the country to share with the world.

“Our attractions should go to digital media. This will allow more people to discover Sri Lanka and at the same time, allow people in Sri Lanka to explore new parts of their country online,” Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Director General D.S. Jayaweera said.

(Source: Daily Mirror)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Crow Island beach park development gets under way with WB assistance

Crow Island in Mattakkuliya, a landscape similar to that in the Eastern coast with a slum environment, thin lanes tightly packed with dwellings, Hindu kovils and churches is to be developed into a public recreational facility under the Metro Colombo Urba Development Programme (MCUDP) with World Bank assistance next year.
The total cost for the Crow Island beach park project is in the region of Rs. 275.78 million. The Crow Island is a neglected strip of land of about five acres located close to the Kelani river mouth. A team of architects and experts on beachfront development projects in the Asia–Pacific region has been entrusted with the task of designing the park for the benefit of people of all ages and all walks of life living particularly in the Colombo North region.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Monday, 24 November 2014

ITC Hotels launches one of largest ever foreign investments in Colombo

A luxury hotel complex with residences and office complex will soon be built in Sri Lanka by an Indian conglomerate.
ITC Chairman Y.C. Deveshwar said that ITC Colombo was one of the largest investments of the ITC hotels’ group of India under which a luxury hotel with 350 rooms with 130 luxury residences along with retail and office space will come up, making these comments at a ground breaking ceremony held this week at Galle Face. The total investment component of the project is estimated at US$300 million.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Trillium launches super luxury apartments at Col -7

Trillium Colombo 7, a super luxury apartment complex under the Trillium brand will be developed in a very prestigious location in Torrington Avenue Colombo 7. The complex will consist of 18 stylish super luxury 3-bedroom apartments ranging from 1500 sq ft to 1800 sq ft and two 3000 sq ft penthouses with an infinity swimming pool and a state-of-the-art Gymnasium on the roof top, the developers said.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Work on Northern Expressway to start next month

The Northern Expressway, from Enderamulla in Gampaha to Dambulla would be constructed in four phases and consist of four lanes initially. Chinese and local contractors would jointly undertake the construction of the expressway projects to the North as well as Kandy and was estimated to cost around Rs. 300 billion, Minister Kotalawela said.

Addressing a press briefing today, Highways Ministry Secretary and Road Development Authority (RDA) Chairman R.W.R. Premasiri said that the first phase of the 53 kilometre long highway would go up to Ambepussa. 


(Source: Daily Mirror)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Restrictions on land alienation to foreigners

President Mahinda Rajapaksa today instructed the Cabinet to enact the proposed bill restricting land alienation to foreigners as soon as possible, informed sources said.

The Government will present this Bill titled, ‘Land (Restrictions on Alienation)’ to Parliament and if enacted it will restrict the alienation of lands in Sri Lanka to foreigners, foreign companies and institutions with foreign shareholding.


(Source: Daily Mirror)

Monday, 29 September 2014

New Land Bill: Is it a ‘no – investment’ in Sri Lanka

The Land (Restrictions on Alienation) Bill which was recently placed before parliament for debate appears to have gone beyond its initial mandate and intentions.
It will be recalled that President Mahinda Rajapaksa, proposed, during his Budget Speech in November 2011, that “foreigners” will not be allowed to purchase state land on a freehold basis. This was administratively widened, subsequently, to include both, state and privately owned land. It is the general view that the widening was aimed, primarily, at creating an “affordable” playing field to Sri Lankan nationals wishing to purchase residential property.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Monday, 15 September 2014

Land lease to foreigners face restrictions

Parliament will take up for debate the Land (Restrictions on Alienation) Bill next week. The Bill that was presented to Parliament land Tuesday stipulates retractions on the alienation of lands in Sri Lanka to foreigners, foreign companies and certain institutions with foreign shareholding. It also specifies instances where exemptions can be granted in this connection and makes provision to impose a land lease tax for leasing of lands to foreigners and foreign companies.


(Source: Sunday Times)

New land restriction laws for foreigners jolt Lankan companies

Sri Lankan companies have been thrown into disarray and confusion over a new Land (Restrictions on Alienation) Bill presented in parliament this week which affects land and property if foreign shareholding in a company exceeds the 50 per cent limit.Several company heads told the Business Times that they were shocked after they came to learn about the ramifications of Section 2 (2)(b) of the bill which states that foreign ownership should not exceed 50 per cent for a consecutive period of 20 years from the date of transfer of land. Under the proposed law, all transactions after January 2013 – the effective date – will be affected.
In the event, the foreign ownership exceeds 50 per cent during this period the company stands to be deprived of the title to the land from date of shareholding crossing the 50 per cent foreign ownership. 
(Source: Sunday Times)

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

New law on land ownership by foreigners

The government today introduced a new Bill in Parliament that if passed would stipulate restrictions on the alienation of lands to foreigners, foreign companies, or companies registered here with 50 per cent of foreign shareholding.

The Bill titled: 'Land (Restrictions on Alienation)' will be taken up for debate later and passed as an Act soon.


(Source: Daily Mirror)

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Unauthorised apartments grab tourist traffic, hotel occupancy impacted

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry hopes of finding a solution to unauthorised tourist accommodation units mushrooming through apartments have been dashed by inadequate legislation to deal with the problem.
Sri Lanka Hoteliers Association President M. Shanthikumar told the Business Times that they raised the issue with the authorities of new apartments giving out their rooms for tourists at lower rates that has left the hotels in the city and in the south without adequate travellers to house especially evident since the last two winter seasons.
The winter season has brought in the numbers of visitors to the country however hoteliers were feeling the pinch with occupancy levels less than expected during this peak period.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Overseas buyers dominate apartment sales in Colombo, Sri Lanka

As prices of prime apartments rise in Colombo, locals have been priced out of the sector, which is dominated by foreign investors, non-residents and wealthy locals, says top agent, JLL
Most prime apartment projects in the Sri Lankan city of Colombo are purchased by overseas buyers, non-residents and wealthy locals, says a leading agent.
The Sri Lanka property market has seen rising property prices since 2009, thanks to improved confidence in the investment market and Colombo, the largest city and the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, is leading the way, says JLL India.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Land-transfer ban to be eased

Non-citizen children of Sri Lankans or non-citizen next of kin can inherit property

New laws prohibiting the transfer of land to foreigners will allow non-citizen children or non-citizen next of kin of Sri Lankans to inherit property through intestacy or gift, a Cabinet paper exclusively obtained by the Sunday Times states. In 2013, the Finance Ministry issued instructions barring all transfers of land to foreigners and throwing a cloud of uncertainty over inheritance rights. While the law allowed individuals to transfer property by gift or testamentary disposition to their heirs, the Ministry directive forbade it.

The new law envisages a reduced land lease tax of 7.5 per cent for certain categories of companies.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Monday, 4 August 2014

Draft laws to ban foreign ownership of land

New legislation is being drafted to strictly enforce rules pertaining to the 2013 ban on foreigners owning land, which is now being enforced through administrative circulars.
Top government sources said that proposed laws are to be promulgated to tighten loopholes in the administrative process of enforcement .
In the 2013 budget (presented in November 2012), the President proclaimed that foreign nationals and companies would be completely prohibited from owning freehold land in Sri Lanka. Until that time, foreigners were able to purchase land upon the payment of a 100 per cent transfer tax, which many were circumventing through ingenious methods of purchasing the land through a majority Sri Lankan nominee owned companies and later purchasing 100 per cent of the shares, the sources said.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

New look Colombo 2: UDA to acquire private land

A redevelopment and mixed development project on eight acres of land in Kompannaveediya will enable the Urban Development Authority to acquire private lands in underdeveloped or underserved areas of Colombo City, a gazette notification said. The project labelled as a pioneer concept for urban renewal is to be undertaken by a private company which will get tax concessions running into millions of rupees for project related work.
Details of the project have been gazetted by Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena The project estimated to cost around US$ 429.5 million including a foreign direct investment of US$ 130 million is to be undertaken by a company going by the name of M/s One-Colombo Project. But details of the company, who its partners are and its Board of Directors have not been mentioned in the gazette notification.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 13 July 2014

New laws to ensure safety of buildings

A Construction Development Authority will soon register all contractors and adopt a string of measures to regulate the fast growing building industry.

This is one of the highlights of a new Construction Industry Development Bill the Government will introduce in Parliament “to register, formalise and standardise” the construction industry.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Monday, 7 July 2014

Krrish group faces stay or depart directive

Krrish group faces a stay or depart directive issued by the government that allows them time till September – a final deadline – to pay the Colombo Fort Transwork square balance land lease payment, Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told journalists in Colombo on Thursday.
The company had been given time till July 15, another of the many extensions it has received, to complete the land lease deal of around Rs. 5 billion of which a sum of Rs.4.4 billion has already been paid by them to the Urban Development Authority (UDA).In what is seen as the final deadline, Minister Abeywardena said, “If the company fails to complete payment before September, the final deadline, and ensure that the project would be completed in the given time frame, the project would be cancelled.” 
(Source: Sunday Times)

Friday, 4 July 2014

Krrish strikes deal with Ritz-Carlton

The controversial Krrish Transworks Colombo, the local unit of the Indian based property developer has struck a deal with the United States based global luxury hotel chain, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to hand-over the management of its proposed skyscraper in the heart of Colombo, according to Sri Lanka’s Investment promotion Minister.

The joint agreement between Krrish and Ritz-Carlton is a commonly used arrangement in the hospitality industry where the developer hands-over the management of the facility to a specialist in the industry.


(Source: Daily Mirror)

Monday, 30 June 2014

Buying condos in Colombo

At a seminar on condominiums in Colombo last week, a speaker drew surprise, worry and concern from participants when he showed pictures of some reputed apartment complexes in the city with badly maintained pipelines, power generators and poor construction.“Do you know that these are from well known complexes in the city?” asked engineer Upula Dharmawardena, DGM Projects at Walker and Sons Engineers, adding: “This is how they maintain the main pipelines.”
Speaking during a presentation at an interactive seminar on “Understanding the basics of Condominium Living” organized by the Centre for Advancement of Resource Mobilization (CARM) at the Taj Samudra in Colombo on Sunday, he showed many slides to an audience comprising condo residents, owners, developers and potential buyers showing weak construction, poorly maintained facilities among others suggesting that any prospective buyer of a condo needs to look at all maintenance issues before making that vital decision.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Residential businesses on verge of collapse

Residences converted into business premises in local government authorities of Colombo and outside are on the verge of closing down amidst high service charges and commercial tax being levied by the authorities, businessmen complained.
Charges range from Rs. 150,000 to Rs. 500,000 per annum, they said.
They alleged that the Urban Development Authority (UDA) is taking action to allow the natural death of small businesses operating in residential areas by levying high service charges.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Monday, 23 June 2014

Delft island attracts Rs.600 mln resort

Mercantile Merchant Bank Ltd through its Pathfinder venture would be investing nearly Rs.600 million in a 40 acre hotel resort project on the Delft island off Sri Lanka’s northern shore, an official of the organisation said.
Currently the organisation was seeking approval from the Northern Province Land Commission in addition to other relevant authorities in a bid to get the project off the ground.
It was pointed out that Delft island was considered for this project since it was a good location that was secluded with a small population.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Monday, 2 June 2014

No word from Krrish on final payment, says Minister

India’s Krrish Group, despite government’s repeated extensions and reprieves, is still silent on the completion of its due payments to lease the 4.3 acre Transwork Square property in Colombo Fort, 21 months after signing an MOU with the Urban Development Authority (UDA).
Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene told reporters in Colombo on Thursday that the Krrish group or its local representatives have not made any representations on this matter to him or the BOI and he is awaiting a response from them.Five extensions have been given so far for the final payment of Rs.639.5 million to be made to close the land lease deal, he added.
The company has so far paid Rs. 4.3 billion of the Rs. 5 billion upfront lease rental.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Change of plans for Shangri-la

The earlier plans for the construction of a hotel opposite the Galle Face by the Hong Kong based Shangri-La Group have reportedly been changed and according to the new plans even the high tension electricity lines running across the area have to be relocated.
According to the new plans there is an addition of about 125 rooms, reports say.

(Source: Sri Lanka Mirror)

Monday, 21 April 2014

Real estate market segment: Middle income

Due to a variety of economic and social factors, the main focus for the middle income segment is in the arena of newly built houses and plots of land. This segment of the market tends to diverge into the suburbs of Colombo city, opting for larger properties 20-30 kmaway from the city. The fastest growing segment in terms of deal closure in the real estate market is associated with the middle income earners in Sri Lanka.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Global chain Best Western gears for 700 rooms in Sri Lanka

The US-based Best Western chain of hotels is already looking at expanding its midscale Colombo property, upto 120 rooms in 2014, after its opening in mid June this year. This brand would actually fill the void for rooms at this rate compared to other city hotels.
Currently, set to open with only 60 rooms, the Best Western group is looking at further expanding the room capacity by an additional 60, its Asia and Middle Easter International Operations Vice President Glenn de Souza told the Business Times.
He noted that they were eyeing a further expansion to about 700 rooms within Sri Lanka with four more hotels to be established around the island.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Urgent need for Condominium Owners Association

Today Condo owners have no place to go to get their problems and issues effectively resolved without taking long and undue delays. So they are frustrated and a Condo Owners Association (COA) will be sympathetic to them and look for ways to solve their problems. In short this will become a strong lobby group and the government and condominium industry will also benefit, not only the condominium owners.
A new Condominium Owners Association can look into issues such as increasing maintenance fees, misappropriation of funds, declining value in some condos, limited reserve funds, overpriced contracts, poor representation, poor construction, bad attitudes of Board of Directors towards the owners.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Real Estate Gems In Sri Lanka With Steradian Capital

The island of Sri Lanka’s capital markets are going through a period of high capital investment. With the end of a 26-year civil war in 2009, the country is opening up tourism, international shipping, international trade and scaling up domestic businesses. There are many commercial and investment opportunities in the Sri Lankan real estate markets. This interview with Hardy Jamaldeen covers the full array of options from virgin beaches waiting for resorts and tourists to office space near Sri Lanka’s expanding port terminals to agribusiness in this tropical paradise.

More >>


Krrish project on amidst payment delays

Despite a delay of 17 months, the Urban Development Authority (UDA) is confident that the Krrish Group will complete its due payments to lease the Transwork Square property for its long, overdue mega development project.
UDA Chairman, Nimal Perera told the Business Times that Krrish must make a payment of Rs.589. 7 million to close the land lease deal.
The total payment made by them up to now is Rs. 4.4 billion, he said adding that the full payment due is Rs. 4.995 billion.
(Source: Sunday Times)

Real estate market overview: High-end office space shortage

We believe there is currently a notable shortage of high-end office space in the Colombo central areas. The lack of availability of Grade A space is prompting organisations to refurbish lower grade developments in order to meet the requirement of being centrally located.What we also note is that the developments owned by large corporations have also started letting out entire floors to outside companies whilst relocating some of their own subsidiaries in order to cash in on the high rental rates.

More >>

(Source: Sunday Times)

State land for private condominiums

The Government will release state lands to the private sector to construct condominiums.Laws to facilitate this are to be introduced in Parliament soon. They will come in the form of regulations under the Land Development Ordinance, Land Grants (Special Provisions) Act and the State Lands Ordinance. The move follows a recommendation made to the Cabinet by the Lands and Land Development Minister Janaka Bandara Tennekoon.

More >>

(Source: Sunday Times)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Shangri La Colombo hotel on stream; other plans on hold

Hong Kong-based Shangri La group is focusing on Phase 1 of its Colombo project – construction of a luxury 500-room hotel but re-thinking its Phase 2 development of luxury residencies and a 25,000 square metre high-end shopping mall, official sources said.

Piling work at the Shangri-La, Colombo hotel site is now underway after around two years of its ground breaking ceremony held in Colombo on February 2012. But the company is in two minds on the construction of the luxury apartment complex due to insufficient demand, a senior official said adding that the company might drop the idea after assessing market conditions.


(Source: Sunday Times)

Monday, 27 January 2014

Best Western takes on Sri Lanka, Bangladesh

BEST Western International is reaching into key growth markets of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh with a slew of hotels announced for these destinations.

The company will launch its first hotel – a 60-key midscale Best Western property – in Sri Lanka’s capital of Colombo within the next few months.

Glenn de Souza, vice president of international operations for Asia and the Middle East, said: “The potential for tourism in Sri Lanka is huge…International arrivals are multiplying year after year, and with all parts of the beautiful island now open to tourists, the country offers incredible opportunities.”

(Source: TTG Asia)

Reversal on land sales to foreigners

The Government has sought Cabinet approval for legal exemption to sell 25 acres of land in Negombo, 44 acres in Kimbulapitiya and two roods, 26 perches from Bambalapitiya to a Singaporean Company to establish a private university and related infrastructure, Daily Mirror learns.

The present law does not provide for the selling of private or crown land to a foreign national or a foreign company. Such properties can only be leased out for 99 years under the prevailing regulations.


(Source: Daily Mirror)

Monday, 13 January 2014

Real estate investment opportunities in Sri Lanka

With the steady growth of the IT/ITeS sector in Sri Lanka, the demand for large office spaces of 15,000-100,000 square feet presents a very promising scenario for commercial space investors. Colombo is the prime hotspot for such investment opportunities. Since cost is a concern in this segment, the demand is skewed towards the more cost-effective suburban locations of Colombo, such as Welisara in the north, Rajagiriya in the east and Ratmalana–Moratuwa in the south.


(Source: IndiaTVNews)

Krrish must complete project within 3 years or exit : Minister

The government would be forced to cancel the Krrish square project in Colombo if it is not completed within 3 years, a senior government minister said.
“Although the Delhi-based investor requires making a major effort to avoid the dire consequences of failure to make the final payment nothing is impossible if you have money”, Minister of Investment Promotion Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena told a media conference in Colombo this week. More than 18 months have passed since Krrish signed the agreement (August 2012), leaving 2 1/2 years to complete the final lease payment and construction.
(Source: Sunday Times)

‘Jaffna’s first ever luxury apartment complex’ unveiled

A recently unveiled ‘exclusive niche development’ known as “Tulasi Mahal” is laying claim to the title of “Jaffna’s first ever luxury apartment complex”, according to the announcement by its developer Peninsular Property Developers.
Further, the announcement also noted; “Designed by renowned architect Sujith Mohoti, each apartment is completed with a unique combination of style and functionality. The interiors reflect the requirements and the expectations of the discerning clientele. All
apartments are equipped with the novel concept of 2 bedroom/2 key system, making ‘Tulasi Mahal’ the first development in Sri Lanka to incorporate this special feature.
(Source: Sunday Times)