Sri Lanka opens China-funded ‘White Elephant’ tower to tourists – Times of India


A 350 meter high China-funded tower becomes the main attraction for Sri Lanka to lure tourists to the bankrupt country.
Shaped like a giant long-stemmed lotus, the structure is the tallest in the South Asian nation. It opened to the public on Thursday and sold tickets to an observation deck with 360-degree views of the city and the Indian Ocean. When fully occupied, the venue will have shops, host weddings and boast a gourmet rotating restaurant on the flower’s bud.
This will be Colombo’s tourist and entertainment hub,” said Prasad Samarasinghe, chief executive officer of state-run Colombo. Lotus Tower Management Co., which oversees the building’s operations. “We have developed a business model to earn enough money for the operation and maintenance of the tower, so that it is not a burden for the government.”
Operators forecast sales of rupees 1.1 billion ($3 million) by 2024, against a total construction cost of $113 million due to repeated delays. Construction began in 2012 with a loan from China’s Exim Bank, which exposed it to criticism for being a vanity project, one of several so-called white elephants commissioned during the tenure of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose family has since moved from several different countries. governments has been set. to post.
Main attractions:

  • Clients have already been found for over 70% of the 133,000 square feet of commercial space in the podium block
  • The lotus bud on top of the tower will have nine floors; expressions of interest invited until September 23
  • Receiving bookings for weddings for a fee of 1.5 million rupees; hope to issue operating licenses by November
  • Information shared by Minhar Azeez, Financial Advisor, Colombo Lotus Tower Management

Initially intended as a telecom tower, critics have long questioned the project’s feasibility. The Telecom Regulatory Commission will handle the Chinese loan with its own funds, Samarasinghe said.
Sri Lankan authorities are also seeking investors for the desolate, China-built Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport in the southern home of the family that ruled the island nation for nearly two decades. Sri Lanka has sold a Chinese-funded port in the southern district of Hambantota after failing to repay the debt for its construction.

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