A mega development project to build a 1.43 billion U.S. dollar port city along the shoreline of Sri Lanka's capital Colombo will be put for cabinet approval next month with construction expected to begin in December, an official said here on Thursday.
The project, which aims to reclaim a 230 hectare site from the sea to build a mini-city that is expected to include a Formula 1 racetrack, is projected by the Sri Lankan government to attract 15 billion U.S. dollars in investment for the country.
The state-run Sri Lanka Port Authority (SLPA) overseeing the venture has already signed a 1.43 billion U.S. dollar agreement with China Communications Construction Co Ltd. to build a city on the 230 hectare site that will be reclaimed from the sea.
The 39-month-long construction project will also include eco- parks, residential areas, offices and shopping malls, according to the SLPA.
It will be adjacent to the Colombo harbor, which is also being expanded by a Chinese company.
Project Director Susantha Abeysiriwardene told reporters that if Cabinet approves the project construction could begin in December after an opening ceremony in the middle of next month.
"Once we have obtained permission from the Cabinet of Ministers we hope to sign relevant agreements and begin construction by December," he said adding that initial work has already been started.
A section of the reclaimed land will be handed over to the Chinese company while the rest will be parceled off to other investors under a 99-year lease, Ports and Highways Deputy Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told media earlier this month.
The new real estate will be among the most sought after locations in Colombo and is adjacent to star-class hotels including a 500 million U.S. dollar Shangri-la hotel, which is still under construction.
Since Sri Lanka ended a 30-year war in 2009 China emerged at the island nation's largest loan provider funding massive infrastructure projects of highways, railways, coal power plant, airport and harbor that are estimated to be worth around 4 billion U.S. dollars.