Prime Beira waterfront land for private sector developers | Sunday Observer

Prime Beira waterfront land for private sector developers

The government has earmarked 66 hectares of prime waterfront land on the banks of the Beira Lake, owned by State organisations, to be offered to the private sector for development under the Western Region Megapolis Project with existing tenants being given alternative housing and commercial activity relocated. The Megapolis Ministry will provide electricity, water supply, drainage, other infrastructure and access to the lands that will be freed up under the project in co-ordination with other agencies, government officials said. These lands will first be vested with the Urban Development Authority which is working with the Western Region Megapolis Project office. The lands will then be offered to the private sector in a competitive manner on long-term leases. Singapore’s Temasek Foundation, which is helping the government with its urban re-development plans, is supporting the project.

The government will provide alternative houses to families now settled on the banks of the Beira Lake through the Urban Development Authority and help relocate warehouses and other commercial activity not compatible with the proposed future development plans for the waterfront. Over 800 unauthorised structures, including houses, have been built in the area.

“These lands have high potential but are now being put to sub-optimal use and the plan is to relocate these commercial activities to suitable locations elsewhere,” an official said. “There is a high demand for these lands from private developers.”

Much of the land is owned by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Railway Department. Other State organisations such as the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment and the Janatha Estate Development Board also own land on the Beira waterfront. The Beira Lake had been used for warehousing and port-related activity. The old warehouses on its banks had been used from colonial times to transport goods to the port but have fallen into disuse and the area neglected in more recent years.

Megapolis Project office officials said the lands are in the north wing of the Beira Lake bordering the Fort, Pettah, Slave Island and Maradana areas. “These areas will form the core of the planned central business district, the water front recreation zone and the multi-modal transportation hub to be created under the Western Region Megapolis project,” the official said. 

French investors keen on Megapolis

A visiting French delegation, including a renowned architect Bernard Lamy and investor Maxime Laurent, has shown keen interest in investing in some of the megapolis transport projects, Chairman, Western Region Megapolis Planning Project, Ajita de Costa said. He said the delegation was in Colombo last week and was briefed on the proposed megapolis project and the investment opportunities. “They were keen to return with investment proposals soon. Some of the members of the delegation also met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Malik Samarawickrama and Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development, Sagala Ratnayaka briefly during their visit, de Costa said.