Sri Lanka land to Sheraton after Chinese deal cancelled

Nov 09, 2011 (LBO) – Global hotel chain Sheraton is looking to acquire a plot of prime property in the Sri Lankan capital whose sale without tender to a Chinese defence contractor was cancelled by government last month.

“The government valuer is now valuing the land.”

CATIC had been offered and had looked at different plots of land in Colombo, including a prime waterfront property on the Beira Lake, a water body in the city. Deputy economic development minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardene said Sheraton had asked for the seven-acre plot of land on Colombo’s waterfront Galle Face Green promenade.

The state-owned land had been sold to China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC) to build a hotel for which the Chinese group had already made a 54 million US dollar advance payment.

But the deal was cancelled in the midst of mounting opposition to the sale of prime land without calling for competitive tenders with the government saying its policy had changed to leasing state land, not outright sale.

A neighbouring plot of land on Galle Face had earlier been given to the Shangri La hotel chain to build a hotel.

Abeywardene said the government is now considering giving the land