Colombo – A Megacity in the making?

April, 12, 2016

Colombo is a city well known for its modern infrastructure and real estate development. Being the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, the city has the potential to become even more popular with investors and property developers than other cities in the South Asian region. Lamudi explores the potential improvements the city will experience in the upcoming years.

The history of Colombo’s development
The development and growth of the city has been supported by the development of Colombo’s harbor, the growth of the plantation industry and the subsequent development of its road and rail connections to many parts of the island. Thanks to these developments, Colombo became the premier city for commercial, financial, administrative and industrial activities.

While there was a rapid influx of people into the city during the British period, the growth of Colombo in terms of its size, functions, and population has also been very successful within the past century. As far as the population is concerned, it is known to have increased six fold between 1871 and the World War II.

What is behind Colombo’s regeneration?
The Ministry of Defence and Urban Development has given orders to institutions to rectify Colombo’s housing crisis by using new and improved urban development strategies. Regenerating the city to meet the new development standards would upgrade the city’s profile and add a large amount of value to property in the region. The sustainability issues of development would also be addressed.

Colombo has a large amount of affordable housing. Furthermore, there are not many slums and shanty towns in Colombo compared to other cities of the South Asian region. In comparison to other mega cities in Asia, Colombo has never experienced massive urbanization and it has an urbanization level of roughly 15%, while its other counterparts in Asia have an urbanization level of close to 50%.

According to the Colombo city development plan, roughly around 68,000 – 70,000 families living in low-cost housing would be relocated and would be able to access the high-rise community housing schemes which could be developed for them within the city. Enhancing the quality of living of this segment of the population has become one of the government’s major concerns in recent times.

What are the latest developments in Colombo?
Current modern city planning and development projects embrace the whole of Sri Lanka as they transform the nation into one of the most exciting countries in Asia. Colombo boasts of a number of modern projects, including the development of malls, parks, hotels and more, uplifting this growing megacity.

The Arcade Independence Square
After the war, many buildings and spaces in Colombo were reinvented. One of the greatest examples of this reinvention as a symbol of freedom is the Arcade Independence Square. Today, it is considered one of the most iconic buildings and can be seen and used by people visiting Colombo. It is by far one of the most important refurbishments undertaken by the Ministry of Defense and Urban Development Authority, as they converted old Auditor General’s buildings into one of the grandest shopping and entertainment arcades in Asia. This 85,000 square feet monument boasts a collection of nooks and crannies that adorn the arcade, along with street lamps, wooden adornments and paved cobblestones, which contribute to the charm of the arcade. It also has a landscaped garden with flowers that add to the scent, the ambiance and glamour of the exterior.

One-Galle Face by Shangri-La
One Galle Face is Colombo’s first internationally developed integrated lifestyle destination that makes living, working, entertainment and hospitality possible all in one location. Hong Kong’s leisure entity Shanri-La Hotels and Resorts foresees the completion of this project by 2018 with a hefty investment of over 600 Million USD.

The residence is a twin tower that consists of 50 floors each, 16 penthouses and eight duplex and simplex units. The target market is expatriates, international investors and the expanding population of Sri Lankans.

This iconic project will redefine cosmopolitan living in Colombo, as Shangri-La has celebrated its luxurious living spaces the world over.

The Colombo Port City
The China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) is an international construction company which was ranked 187th in 2014 among the ‘Fortune Five Hundred’. The company is listed in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Stock Exchange and is the brain child behind creating the ultimate gateway to South Asia through the Port City project.
The Port City will be built on land located off Sri Lanka’s west coast and it is expected to have a variety of facilities, such as a golf course, marinas, malls, hotels and apartments. Having achieved a total of 1.4 billion USD in investment, this will allow 233 hectares of land to be developed and go on to join the port of Colombo. According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, this project is set to become a high-end urban complex in South Asia, concentrating on industries including tourism, logistics, information technology and finance. The CCCC and the Sri Lankan government initially signed the deal in November 2013.