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Browns and CHEC join forces for $ 450 m CIFC

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- 3.06 ha from CHEC Port City to be leased to new SPV to be jointly managed by CHEC and Browns
- $ 450 m investment for phase 1 of Int’l Finance Centre
- $ 1 b total for mixed development project
- PM says agreement shows Govt. focus on FDI
- Says SL back in business, invites investors worldwide
- Port City eyes attracting $ 15 b worth investments long-term


The development of the Port City took a significant step yesterday, with Browns Investments PLC entering into a landmark agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to commence the Colombo International Finance Centre mixed development project, which will involve an investment of $ 450 million.

The CIFC Mixed Development Project will be piloted over two phases, whereby Browns Investments is partnering with CHEC for Phase One via the incorporation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) company, a subsidiary of Browns Investments, the company said in a statement yesterday.

The total investment in Phase One amounts to $ 450 million with a buildable land area spanning 3.06 hectares, which is leased from CHEC Port City Colombo Ltd. to the new SPV that will be jointly managed by Browns and CHEC.

This will be a significant undertaking involving the construction of one residential apartment tower, one serviced apartment tower, one office tower and a retail podium on the ground floor. Ascending to 39 floors, the total Gross Floor Area across the investments will exceed 160,000 square metres, with residential and serviced apartments encompassing an area of over 88,000 square metres inclusive of parking, a retail space of 24,000 square metres, while the office complex will have a cross area of over 48,000 square metres, the company said.

The Colombo International Finance Centre (CIFC) Mixed Development Project is a $ 1 billion investment in total.

The agreement between Browns Investments, the strategic investment arm of the LOLC Group, and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd. (CHEC) was signed last morning in the presence of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong.

“Attracting Foreign Direct Investment is a key priority for our Government, and this landmark project is a strong indicator that Sri Lanka is now back in business,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said.

“We invite investors from around the world to explore the multitude of investment opportunities that Sri Lanka presents with its strategic location and human resource capabilities.”

Commenting on the CIFC project, BI Chairman and LOLC Group Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara stated- “We are pleased to partner with CHEC on this landmark venture that optimises the true potential of Sri Lanka’s strategic location within South Asia and consider it as a privilege to be a partner in the establishment of CIFC as a unique, multifaceted project in the heart of the Central Business District of Colombo. This project is well set to establish the Colombo International Finance Centre as a premier regional hub that attracts world-class players to employ a catalytic role in Sri Lanka, encompassing multi-dimensional value creation for the entire country.”

China and Sri Lanka have long established an enduring relationship characterised by economic cooperation and societal collaboration, so this partnership further underlines the confidence and commitment to development in the country through the combination of a world-renowned Sri Lankan conglomerate and a distinguished Chinese enterprise.

This is a milestone project with an investment value totalling $ 1 billion, representing important long-term implications on the economic growth of Sri Lanka, and has been accordingly declared a Strategic Development Project under the Strategic Development Projects Act No. 14 of 2008. With two companies at the helm with substantial international expertise as well as a strong commitment towards social responsibility, it is certain that this project will drive long-term sustainable development.

Port City Colombo (PCC), with a vision to build a world class city and to be the financial and modern services hub for South Asia, was spearheaded by the then-President and current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and was jointly inaugurated together with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2014.

The reclamation of 269 hectares of land from the Indian Ocean was completed in January 2019 and was declared part of Sri Lanka in July 2019 after complying with all necessary formalities including a Parliament resolution.

Infrastructure development covering internal road network, water channel, utility connectivity, a two-km-long public beach front and a 14-hectare large Central Park is currently in full-swing and on schedule for completion in 2021, with the PCC well set to be the leading retail, residential and business destination in South Asia.

“Built as an extension of the existing Colombo Central Business District, the PCC had an initial investment of $ 1.4 billion and an expected overall investment of $ 15 billion when completed,” the statement said.

There will be five different precincts in the completed Mixed Development scheme, namely the Financial District, Central Park Living, Island Living, The Marina and the International Island.

With an estimated 5.7 million square metres of Built-Up Area, the PCC will boast some of the best in design, in terms of offices, medical facilities, educational facilities, integrated resort, marina, retail destinations, hotels and various lifestyle developments. Using the latest sustainable city designs and smart city concepts, PCC will be at the cutting-edge of global standards and is anticipated to be a focal point of South Asia.

The inaugural vertical development of Port City Colombo (PCC) is to be a mixed-use development which will be the Colombo International Finance Centre (CIFC), divided into two phases of implementation. Phase one comprises the construction of residential, commercial and retail asset components set to break ground in mid-2021. Phase two will be a commercially-oriented development with office and retail space offerings that will commence construction parallel to the start of Phase One.

Located in the gateway of PCC on a total land extending across 6.8 Ha, the CIFC project will have unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean along the South-Western side of the development. Further to this, there will be breath-taking views of the Colombo Port and Financial District, particularly on the East where Grade-A offices, banks, five-star hotels, luxury shopping malls and tourist refreshment areas and attractions are scattered within a 500-metre radius.

CIFC is expected to attract locals, expatriates and foreigners while boasting the lifestyle and business facilities comparative to that of other renowned business hubs in the region, as well as on a global level. The CIFC Mixed Development Project is set to be positioned in the fast-developing South Asia region as a locally relevant but internationally appealing composite development. Both the Port City and its CIFC Project are sure to be facilitators in promoting FDIs to Sri Lanka.

Issuing a statement to mark the signing the Chinese Embassy said it would continue to engage with Sri Lanka to further relations.

“China and Sri Lanka enjoy a history of friendship and cooperation for thousands of years. It’s a great joy to see that in the new era both Sri Lanka Government and Chinese enterprise are jointly developing many mega-projects such as the Port City Colombo and welcoming partners from all around the world to build the Colombo International Financial Centre Mixed Development Project together.”

The statement added that at this crucial moment, China once again demonstrated its confidence in Sri Lanka and commitment to help Sri Lanka’s economic and social development.

“It’s well believed that the International Financial Centre Project will not only effectively boost the vigorous growth of Sri Lanka’s finance and other industries, but also create more high-quality job opportunities, benefiting the general public and society.”

caption - CPCC Managing Director Jiang Houliang and Browns Investments Executive Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara exchanging the agreement in the presence of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. Also present from left- CPCC Head of Strategy and Business Development Thulci Aluwihare, CPCC Director Property Development Sun Wenbin, Chinese Embassy Economic and Commercial Counsellor Li Guangjun, Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong, State Minister of Money and Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms Ajith Nivard Cabraal, LOLC Group Managing Director/CEO Kapila Jayawardena and Browns Investments Director Kamantha Amarasekara

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