Government abandons plan to sell Union Place land through open auction

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

Mar. 16 (LBO) — The trade ministry had abandoned an earlier plan to sell a prime commercial property in Colombo belonging to a state trading agency by open auction, and instead decided to transfer the land to a government bank, an official said. Trade Ministry Secretary R M K Ratnayake says the Union Place land belonging to the Co-operative Wholesale Establishment (CWE), would be sold to the state-owned National Savings Bank, which would put up a luxury apartment complex.

Last year, the Trade Minister Jeyeraj Fernandopulle said the ministry was hoping to sell 226 perch block through an open bidding process, using the facilities of the Colombo Stock Exchange.

But the new administration had decided not to sell the land to a private developer, as selling government land to a private party is against the current Mahinda Chinthana policy framework.

Ratnayake says the Ministry was awaiting the report of the Chief Government Valuer to complete the transaction.

The Union Place land is estimated to be worth around Rs5.5 million per perch.

This would put the value of the block at around Rs1.2 billion to Rs1.3 billion.

The CWE, which failed under a mountain of debt, is forced to sell the land, to settle loans worth Rs650 mill