Discussion to demolish Bambalapitiya flats

Published : 9:15 am  August 8, 2015 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Rumana Razick
A proposal to demolish the Bambalapitiya flats and utilize the cleared land area for a mixed development project consisting of retail outlets, public convenience facilities and housing units is currently under discussion.
The land area occupied by the flats owned by the National Housing Development Authority (NHDA) has 298 families living in it, sources said.

BOI Chairman Upul Jayasuriya said it has been proposed to provide a rental for alternate accommodation to the families during the two year construction period. He further said that the proposal is an investment of USD 350 million put forward by a Singapore based Indian company, and that it is being evaluated and is currently under discussion.

Cleared land area to be utilized for a mixed development project

“The project has not been finalized. It is being studied by us and the NHDA. We have not decided if we want to go for one unsolicited proposal or competitive bidding. Once we have decided on an investor, they will carry out the project in consultation with the residents,” he said.

While the BOI and NHDA stated that the project is under discussion, the residents denied its existence and questioned its validity.  “According to the proposal, the existing floor area of the housing units will be increased by 30 per cent and residents will be given additional facilities like a swimming pool, gym, recreational facilities and retail outlets,” Mr. Jayasuriya said.
Repudiating the existence of such a project, the president of the Management Authority at the flats said they have not been informed of such a mixed development project and questioned its validity.

When Daily Mirror visited the flats, one of the residents said they have not been updated of such a project but there was a proposal to refurbish the flats by the NHDA last year.
“The proposal to refurbish the flats was dropped as it was not feasible. The flats are nearly 60 years old and most of the people living in the flats are retired government servants who won’t be able to afford any additional costs if any developments are to take place,” the resident said. The resident further said if a project of this scale is to have effect, it should be agreeable to all stakeholders (the residents, NHDA and the investor) concerned.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, NHDA Chairman L.S. Palansooriya said it is still at the discussion stage and the details of the project have not been discussed with residents as yet.

“As the project is still not finalized, we have not informed the residents. However, since it is a condominium, it will be the Condominium Management Authority (CMA) that informs the Management Authority at the flats,” he said.
When Daily Mirror contacted the CMA, CMA Chairman C.A. Wijayaweera said the flat is owned by the NHDA and they have nothing to do with it.  

Pics by Kushan Pathiraja