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* US$ 1 billion project to develop five-star hotel in Sri Lankan capital
Thu, Nov 15, 2012, 11:40 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 15, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government plans to convert an old colonial building in the heart of the capital Colombo to a five-star hotel at a cost of US$ 1 billion.

The old building that houses the Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH) in Colombo Fort, owned and operated by the Bank of Ceylon (BOC), adjoining lands owned by the Police Department and the waterfront near the Colombo Port will be developed to build a five-star hotel while preserving the old heritage.

The Cabinet of ministers has approved the proposal for the project submitted by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as Minister of Defence and Urban Development.

Bank of Ceylon has prepared a comprehensive redevelopment project proposal covering the above area, the government said, adding that the project is to be implemented in three stages with a total investment of around US$ 1 billion.

The project will be carried out under a private-Partnership Program (PPP) and upon completion the Grand Oriental Hotel, also known as Taprobane earlier, will be converted to a 5-star Diamond Hotel with 500 rooms.

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