Many local, foreign investors expected:
City in the sea at Galle Face
An artistís impression of the proposed port city at Galle Face
Sri Lanka would build a city in the sea which is bigger than Male,
the capital of Maldives, at Galle Face Green. This would, for the third
time, change the contours of the island nation.
The first time this happened was when the Ruhunu Magampura Mahinda
Rajapaksa International Port was opened last November when sea water was
taken in for the port. This was followed by the Colombo South Harbour
development project which would add a 6.2 kilometre breakwater and
reclaim over 400 acres from the sea.
The Urban Development Authority (UDA) and the Sri Lanka Ports
Authority (SLPA) are now planning to reclaim land from the sea and build
a 500-acre plus port city under the Galle Face development project,
which would once again change the landscape of the country.
The project has already received approval for environmental issues
and construction is expected to commence by the end of the year. The
project is to be completed in three years.
One of the key players who would carry this mammoth task forward,
Chairman, UDA, Janaka Kurukulasuriya said that the project is expected
to cost around Rs. 30 billion and the funding would come through the
SLPA as well as from investors. "We are also hoping to conduct some
pre-sales," he said.
With the 30-year conflict coming to an end with the humanitarian
operation, Sri Lanka is fast becoming a paradise for investors as well
as for high-spending tourists. "This was one reason for us to launch
The other reason to build this city on the current location is to
support the new Colombo South Harbour. "Though a breakwater is built,
the waves could have an impact on the smooth floor of the Colombo South
Harbour development project. This proposed 500-acre development would
also act as a buffer," he said.
The proposed buildings that would be built in the port city would
also help the extension of the Colombo Harbour.
The Chairman outlined that they would build this port city, mainly
targeting the private sector, both local and global. "Once we get the
project off the ground, we would market it globally", he said.
MPs Namal Rajapaksa and Duminda Silva with Chairman UDA, Janaka
Kurukulasuriya laying the foundation stone for the multi-storeyed
The port city would be the best landscaped property in the island.
First, a second breakwater would be built in front of the Old
Parliament. "This would be at sea level and would not be visible to the
public. This would serve as a buffer to the proposed harbour city",
The next step would be filling the reclaimed land and would commence
from the outer side of the Colombo South Breakwater.
He explained that both Colombo South Harbour development and port
city projects would stretch up to the Old Parliament building and the
view from Galle Face Green would not be affected in any way.
The Lotus Road, which lies between Galadari Hotel and the Old
Parliament building would be extended to the sea from the roundabout,
creating a four-way junction with a bridge.
"The bridge would run over the sea and be the access road to the new
property," the chairman said.
The new property would be divided into three segments-one to house
offices, the second for residential purposes and the third for leisure.
In the area proposed for leisure, a yacht marina, a mini duty-free
shop and Customs office would be built. This itself would be a mini
The land would be provided for investors for leisure activities and
many international hotel chains along with local investors are expected
A golf course too is planned to be built.
A second suspension bridge would be built in the centre of the city.
The area of the city adjoining the Colombo South Harbour would be
reserved for offices and the maritime sector and many maritime
investments are expected to be made here.
Several private universities and educational institutions too are
expected to invest in the project.
construction work of the Colombo South Harbour development
project overlooking the Galle Face Green.
Kurukulasuriya said the Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa is
very keen on this project and has infused many new ideas to make the
city more colourful.
The architects of the project are designing a mini Petronas (similar
to the one in Malaysia) at one end of the proposed city.
This would be two buildings with around 40 floors each. Each tower is
to be built separately and joined by a sky bridge either across the 30th
storey or the rooftop.
The idea of building two separate towers is to provide a view of the
The twin towers would be allocated for mixed development and a
foreign investor has already forwarded a proposal for this project.
He said the concept of building on land reclaimed from the sea is
also being practised in Dubai and has got a very good response.
"However, in Colombo, more planning has to go in to the project as the
sea is not as calm as in Dubai. "This is one reason we are building a
breakwater," he said.
Galle Face development
The surroundings of Galle Face Green are to be developed while
keeping the old heritage aspects intact. The buildings of the
Presidential Secretariat, Finance Ministry and Galle Face Hotel would be
The Army headquarters facing the Galle Face would be shifted to a new
location and a five-star hotel built there by Hong Kong-based Shangri-La
hotel chain. This deal has already been finalised.
In a bid to provide more entertainment to the Galle Face Green area,
an underground mini market has also been proposed.
The Chairman said that clearing out slums from the city too is an
endeavour they have undertaken.
The UDA has identified slums in Maradana, Kotahena, Borella,
Bloemendhal, Mattakkuliya and even in Colombo 7.
The slum-dwellers would be provided with apartment houses in
high-rise complexes in the Western Province. These houses would have
electricity, pipe-borne water and other 'luxuries' the slum residents
would never have even dreamed of.
The first such housing unit would be built at Kaduwela for which the
foundation stone has already been laid.
"However, we must emphasise that the slum-dwellers would not be
relocated to their new houses until they are completed."
Kurukulasuriya also stressed that these people would not be given
accommodation in Avissawella or such places far away from Colombo.
"However, if they so request, we could provide them houses outside
Fort to be developed
He said in a bid to beautify the city and to add more recreation
facilities, the land opposite the World Trade Centre would also be
Work on this project is under way and the cleaning and widening of
the pavements are now in progress.
"Many of the roads in the area that remained closed would be reopened
which would reactivate business in the area," he said.
The UDA would also construct a parking area for vehicles which is a
crying need at the moment.
New walkways are to be developed and a mini park too would be put up.
He said aspects of the old heritage of the Fort would be maintained.
The Colombo City is changing into a modern international city of
which all Sri Lankans can be proud of. The new developments would bring
the country even closer to the goal of the Wonder of Asia.