Aug 18, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government has permitted Australian casino tycoon James Packer to continue with his project in Colombo after making changes to its original design.
Investment Promotion Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said that work on Packer's US$ 350 million project to set up an integrated resort which includes a 400-room hotel with gaming facilities will commence as planned on the land initially assigned for it on D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo.
Abeywardena said that although there were discussions to shift the project from the site opposite Lake House on D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha to another location down the road, it has finally been decided to continue with the project at the initially identified land.
However, the Minister has pointed out that there has been a change to the initial project plan, which is to construct two towers.
"Earlier the plan was to set up one structure, but now, the agreement was changed to set up two towers. This would not disrupt the view of the Beira Lake," Abeywardena has observed.
The attempt to relocate Packer's project was made due to proposals on developing the Beria Lake and surrounding areas by the Urban Development Authority (UDA).
It was then proposed that construction on the land opposite Lake House on D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha should be in the form of two towers and not one structure, since the construction of two towers would not obstruct the view of the Lake.
Packer's Crown Limited together with local partner Rank Holdings have formed a project company called Lake Leisure Holdings (Pvt) Ltd to set up the mixed development project on D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha.
The Australian businessman has agreed to invest US$350 million to build a 36-story skyscraper which will be known as 'Crown Colombo' in the heart of Colombo for a casino and gaming enterprise to be opened in 2016.
The large scale casino project has been identified as a strategic development project and granted tax exemptions by the government.