Shangri La to push MoD, Army Hq. out of Colombo city : Army Hospital expected to be converted into a museum


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Defence Ministry and the Army are in the process of being shifted to alternative locations to pave the way for Sri Lanka’s first 7-star hotel facing the Galle Face green promenade. Authoritative military sources told The Island that some sections of the Army Headquarters would begin moving out shortly to temporary ‘locations’. The Defence Ministry and the SLA headquarters would hand over six acres encompassing the SLA grounds. Subsequently, the government would hand over the remaining four acre-land housing headquarters units to the Hong Kong-based Shangri La Asia Limited. Sources said that the entire property would be vacated within the next six to seven months to facilitate the construction of the hotel.

"The development will be a multi-use complex with high-end retailing, deluxe apartments and 500-key luxury hotel to open early 2014. The purchase marks the entry of the hotel group in Sri Lanka," hotel spokesperson Rifdhy Fazal said. The transaction concluded for US$ 125 million. Shangri La manages 70 hotels with a room inventory of over 30,000. Military sources said that a new headquarters would be put up at Battaramulla. Although the army cleared the land opposite its Volunteer Force headquarters, Battaramulla, construction is yet to commence. Sources asserted that they would have to manage with available space at alternative locations until the completion of the new headquarters building complex.

Sources said that the Army Hospital would be converted into a museum, while the Defence Ministry demolished for a designer green park.

Shangri La is also planning a second property, a 300-key city resort on approximately 100 acres of land in Hambantota, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka to open in 2013.

The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in Austria, Canada, mainland China, India, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Mongolia, Russia, Qatar, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

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