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Port City’s International Financial Centre postponed due to pandemic

17 Sep 2021

  • Construction rescheduled to begin in December 
  • Duty-free mall construction to begin in Q1 2022
  • Yacht Marina to be opened for public soon
By Shenal Fernando The Colombo International Financial Centre (CIFC), which is the first development project in Colombo Port City, was scheduled to break ground today (17), the seventh anniversary of the inception of the Port City Project. However, due to the prevailing pandemic situation, commencement of construction has been postponed. However, with over 50% of the population being fully vaccinated under the vaccination drive, there is considerable optimism that the construction of the CIFC shall commence before December, Port City Colombo Public Relations Head Kassapa Senarath told The Morning Business. Browns Investments, the strategic investment arm of the LOLC Group, and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC) are the investors of the CIFC project. The project shall consist of two residential complexes, a corporate complex, and a service apartment complex.  Additionally, the construction of a duty-free mall within Port City is expected to commence by the first quarter of 2022. This project is in line with the vision of establishing a downtown duty-free zone within the Colombo Port City, Senarath added. “Other projects planned within the Colombo Port City include a hotel development project, yacht marina, and an apartment complex.”  With the enactment of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act No. 11 of 2021, and the subsequent establishment of the Port City Commission, the framework necessary to attract investment to the Port City Colombo Development Project (PCCDP) has been established. Accordingly, many local businesses have indicated interest in investing in the 74 marketable blocks of land available within the Port City, which will be sold over several phases.  Despite the involvement of local investors in such projects, under the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Act, the financing for such projects must be raised overseas, thereby ensuring inflow of foreign exchange to the country. This forex inflow will be beneficial considering the current foreign reserve position of the country, with official gross reserves hovering at around $ 3.5 billion.  With the initiation of the CIFC project, the promenade of the Yacht Marina will also be opened for the public to enter the Port City through it, without any toll charged.   There are further plans to open up selected facilities within the Port City to the public for leisure activities, such as the use of the Yacht Marina, the Colombo Aqua Golf Range, and the Artificial Beach, where water sport opportunities such as jet skiing and ATV rides will be offered by a selected service provider.   Additionally, there are plans to construct an ATV track, a separate five-hole golf course, and a beach playground as temporary facilities within the Port City, also to be opened to the public. Further, a beach clubhouse has also been scheduled for construction, according to Senarath.  These facilities were scheduled to be opened to the public within this year. However, due to the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, such developments may be pushed back to 2022.       The newly established Port City Commission is currently formulating the regulations necessary for the functioning of the Commission. It hopes to complete the formulation of the regulations necessary for the current phase of the Port City project by the end of this year.  Further, the Commission is presently engaging in an international recruitment process to identify a suitable Director General with the necessary expertise for the Commission, and is also recruiting personnel to fill its existing staff vacancies. 

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