Port City Colombo is a concept developed through the joint efforts of the Government of Sri Lanka and CHEC Port City Colombo's parent company China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) – a Chinese multinational corporate. The project spans 269 hectares, and is estimated to be a $US15 billion investment upon completion in 2041.
Port City Colombo is a land reclamation project consisting of five different precincts: the Financial District, Central Park Living, Island Living, The Marina and the International Island.
Of the proposed 269 hectares to be reclaimed, 173 hectares is designated as "marketable land"; the master plan anticipates that the 173 hectare portion will be utilised to transform Port City Colombo into a hub for commerce, tourism, and culture in South Asia.
CHEC Port City Colombo announced last week that international design group Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) won the International Urban Design Ideas Competition held for the Financial District and Marina District of Port City Colombo.
According to SOM their winning submission “offers a richness of urban opportunities and a robust framework with carefully designed public spaces.
“It presents a dynamic new vision for Colombo Port City that promises to deliver high quality urban environments for residents and visitors.
“The plan is designed to accommodate future growth and change within a sustainable development framework.”
SOM’s vision, selected as the unanimous winner by an international jury, was cited as demonstrating exceptional sensitivity to the ecological and cultural context of Sri Lanka.
Port City Colombo masterplan, image courtesy of CHEC
Expansion of the Colombo Central Business District by land reclamation was originally proposed under the Government‐initiated Western Region Megapolis Regional Structure Plan in July 2004, prepared by Singapore-based urban planning consultants, CESMA International.
The original proposal prepared by CESMA initially intended to reclaim 221 hectares, of which 139.5 hectares was marketable land to meet Colombo CBD’s growing real estate needs. The revised proposal reclaims an additional 48 hectares, allowing for a further 97 hectares of marketable area, which is roughly the size of 90 football fields to be released for development at a rate of 7 hectares per annum.
China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates have all reclaimed land to capitalise on urbanisation. The first major land reclamation occurred in the Netherlands when the port of Rotterdam was extended with sand from the sea in the 1970s.
The Rotterdam development helped the port to become the largest in Europe. Subsequently, the “Maasvlakte II” project was carried out between 2008 and 2013, creating an additional 2000 hectares of land for further investments.
Artistic Impression - Port City Colombo night time birdseye, image courtesy of CHECDevelopment within Colombo Port City
Development within the 269 hectare reclaimed land area will be in keeping with the Government of Sri Lanka's strategic ambitions to:
No industrial development will be approved within the Port City. The following are examples of developments sanctioned for preliminary planning clearance provided under the master plan:
Artistic Impression - Port City Colombo day time birds eye view, image courtesy of CHECColombo Port City's Key Economic Benefits
As outlined by the Central Engineering Consultancy Bureau (CECB) in their 2015 Environmental Impact Assessment report – if executed successfully – Colombo will benefit from the following economic factors:
Artistic Impression- Port City Colombo financial district, image courtesy of CHEC